Tools for Managing Commercial Card Programmes

As the use of paper cheques in the US continues to fall, commercial cards and card networks are being used for an increasing variety of business-to-business (B2B) payment transactions, including virtual cards, ghost cards, and electronic settlement of non-card accounts payable. Many programmes are expanding to include not hundreds but thousands of cards and card accounts. In many instances, programme managers are struggling to control large and complex programmes with software applications originally built for monitoring simple travel and expenses (T&E) spend and purchases of office supplies.

Mercator’s latest report, ‘Tools for Managing Commercial Card Programmes’, provides an overview of the range of solutions available, including those offered by issuing banks and those available from nonbank channels. The report describes challenges that programme managers face in dealing with growing use of card network channels for electronic payments (e-payments), and the new capabilities enabling managers of large programmes to deal with the changes.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Five key capabilities that enable programme managers to control risk and increase efficiency in conventional card programmes, plus seven more innovative capabilities supporting larger and more complex programs.
  • Identification of major card programme management tools in the US market, including those sourced from card networks, proprietary solutions from major issuers, and solutions delivered either directly or indirectly by card processing software providers.
  • Profiles of several card management solutions available directly to card programme managers, without issuing bank intermediation.

Patricia McGinnis, director of the commercial and enterprise advisory service and the author of the report, said: “As commercial cards and card networks become a more appealing channel for B2B e-payments, firms need more sophisticated tools to manage card and e-payables programmes. New tools must accommodate a greater variety of payment types, as well as the needs of larger groups of cardholders.”


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