If you’re looking for a new corporate card program, you’re likely already overwhelmed with your choices. From rebates and rewards to expense policies to platform-device compatibility, there’s no shortage of considerations. It can be difficult to sift through the noise to determine which commercial card solution works best for your middle market company.
“Asking the right questions from the start ensures that you are pursuing options that maximize your investment and address your unique needs,” says Dan Skaggs, head of product for the U.S. Bank Commercial Rewards Card, an all-in-one card, expense and travel management platform—which is powered by TravelBank and serves businesses with $10 to $150 million in annual revenue.
Skaggs suggests the following four key questions that every middle market company should consider when exploring a commercial card program:
1. How will the commercial card program benefit your company?
As you investigate your options, consider the various benefits commercial card programs can provide your company. For finance teams, the motivation for finding a new program is often to improve expense visibility and control. “This is a game changer for companies that have been relying on paper checks, petty cash, and personal reimbursements for their expenses and travel,” Skaggs says.
Visibility enables companies to be more proactive about their expense management, addressing spending in real time before it becomes an issue. Card controls are also helpful, preventing employees from making unauthorized purchases. In addition, look for card platforms that automate time-consuming tasks for businesses and employees. Added perks such as rewards and rebates can sweeten the deal, creating a card program that helps pay for itself.
2. Do you have a corporate expense policy?
Corporate expense policies are always a smart idea. They provide clear direction regarding which expenses are allowed—and which aren’t. “The policies protect the business, but they also protect the employees,” Skaggs said. “Most employees want to do what’s right, so a policy eliminates any gray areas.” Expense policies also help ensure adherence with tax and legal compliance requirements. For example, companies can easily document mileage and correlate it to the IRS’s annual reimbursement rate. But don’t let the lack of an expense policy hold up your process. The U.S. Bank Commercial Rewards Card, for instance, provides a default expense policy that companies can use as is or customize to their needs.
3. Does the program provide rebate options?
This is an especially important question for middle market companies. Many card programs provide rebates, but the spending thresholds are often too high for growing mid-sized organizations. The U.S. Bank Commercial Rewards Card offers rebate programs for companies that spend at least $150,000 per quarter—a significantly lower threshold than other commercial card programs. For many companies, rebates are a strategic component of their overall expense strategy. They rely on the rebates to offset their expense spending and drive improved financial performance.
4. Does the program offer modern and cost-effective expense solutions?
The prospect of simply switching to a new corporate card program—or implementing a new one—often deters businesses from pursuing an updated expense platform. However, moving out of the status quo gives middle market companies the opportunity to experience the benefits noted above. Moreover, the transition is often less painful than many assume. “There may not be an awareness of modern, cost-effective, digital-first solutions that don’t require a heavy investment or IT lift,” he said. Instead of huge upfront costs, U.S. Bank offers a value-based subscription model, so you only pay if you’re using the solution. Importantly, the system is intuitive, meaning there’s less need to train employees or dedicate additional IT support.
From increased expense visibility and control to added efficiencies and rebates, a commercial card is more than a card—it’s a strategic component of your financial strategy. Ask the right questions to ensure you find the solution that meets your needs and sets your organization on a fast path to better expense management.
Do you want to learn more about how the U.S. Bank Commercial Rewards Card replaces time-consuming, manual processes with a single, intuitive platform? Connect with a corporate payment solutions expert today.