The Comprehensive Guide to Corporate Cards

guide-corporate-cards
Picture of Oskar Duberg
Oskar Duberg

According to the European Central Bank, non-cash payments in the Eurozone are worth €167.3 trillion (£143.1 trillion), with card payments accounted for 47 per cent of non-cash payments. So it is no wonder that corporate cards are indispensable assets in today’s expense management processes, providing businesses with an efficient means to oversee and regulate their financial outlays. They serve as specialised financial instruments distributed by employers to their workforce for business-related transactions. Their benefits range from adaptable spending limits, to useful financial reporting, and seamless integration with accounting systems.

 

But there is another significant component to using business credit cards in particular: As Forbes Advisor’s 2023 poll highlight, 29 per cent of businesses including startups sought funding via business credit cards in 2022. 4.67 percent of respondents even used business credit cards as their primary source of funding to kick-start their businesses.

Table of Contents

Benefits of corporate cards

Corporate cards often feature rewards programmes tailored to business needs. These perks may include cash back, airline miles, or points redeemable for various business-related expenses. By using the incentives from card programmes, companies can effectively trim their overall expenses or reinvest the rewards back into the business, thereby enhancing their power.

 

Another key benefit of corporate cards is their robust expense tracking and reporting capabilities. With each transaction recorded electronically, companies gain comprehensive insights into spending patterns, categories, and trends. This data seamlessly integrates into accounting systems, streamlining the reconciliation process and providing precise, real-time financial data for informed decision-making.

 

Corporate cards can significantly bolster cash flow management by offering an interest-free period between the transaction date and the payment due date. This grants companies the flexibility to optimise their working capital, deferring cash outflows while maintaining liquidity.

 

Equipped with advanced security features and fraud prevention measures, corporate cards provide great protection against illicit activities. These features include real-time transaction monitoring, alerts for suspicious behaviour, and liability protection in the event of unauthorised charges.

 

With customisable spending controls and detailed transaction records, companies can enforce expenditure policies with precision and ensure adherence to regulatory frameworks, including tax regulations and industry-specific guidelines. This not only mitigates the risk of non-compliance penalties but also nurtures a culture of transparency and accountability within the organisation. Research has shown that 77 per cent of employees with cards are more compliant with expense policies than those without.

 

And speaking of employees: Your team members will also profit from commercial cards. Not having to pay for company-related bookings, services or goods out of their own pockets, boosts satisfaction and also frees your finance team from reimbursements. Providers offer several payment solutions that also work independent from your individual credit score.

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Features to look for in corporate cards

Here are the features that matter most to our customers:

  • Managing spend limits

  • Customisable approval workflows

  • Virtual cards

  • Automated reconciliation​ to save time

  • Artificial intelligence to optimise processes and identify anomalies automatically

 

Let us explain why these features can be helpful for you: From our experience, corporate cards should offer adaptable spend limit controls, empowering you to set limits based on departmental budgets or employee roles. This functionality ensures tighter reins on expenses, avoiding overspending, and staying aligned with your company’s financial goals.

 

Customisable approval workflows are indispensable for businesses with diverse authorisation needs. Corporate cards should facilitate the creation of personalised approval structures, allowing designated team members to assess and greenlight transactions according to predefined criteria to add transparency to the approval chain.

 

Virtual cards present a secure and user-friendly alternative to conventional physical cards, especially for online payments. Your finance team can generate unique card numbers for each contactless transaction, reducing the risk of fraud and unauthorised usage. Furthermore, they integrate with online expense management systems, optimising payments and strengthen security measures.

 

Corporate cards with automated reconciliation features streamline expense management by matching transactions with corresponding receipts or invoices automatically. This automation significantly reduces manual errors and speeds up the reconciliation process, offering real-time visibility into expenditure.

 

Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into corporate cards can revolutionise expense management protocols. AI algorithms scrutinise transaction data to patterns, trends, and irregularities, empowering proactive risk mitigation and expenditure optimisation. AI-driven insights therefore help your business pinpoint ways for savings, detect fraudulent activities, and refine spending strategies.

Yokoy Pay and Yokoy Expense: Increase efficiency in expense management

Yokoy Pay and Yokoy Expense represent two essential components of Yokoy’s comprehensive suite of spend management tools. Yokoy Pay changes how businesses handle payments including travel costs with easy and intuitive payment solutions such as credit and debit cards and our Yokoy Smart Lodge Card.

 

Yokoy Expense simplifies the often complex and time-consuming task of expense reporting by providing an intuitive, user-friendly platform for finance teams to manage expenses. Employees can effortlessly capture receipts, categorise expenses, and submit reimbursement requests directly within the platform or the mobile app, eliminating the need for manual data entry and paper-based forms. The platform’s advanced AI capabilities automatically match expenses with corresponding transactions, flagging potential discrepancies or policy violations for review. This automation not only accelerates the expense approval process but also ensures compliance with company policies and regulatory requirements. Additionally, Yokoy Expense offers real-time expense tracking and reporting, empowering finance teams to gain insights into spending patterns, identify cost-saving opportunities, and make data-driven decisions to optimise corporate spending.

Yokoy Smart Lodge Card

One card for all your travel bookings

Securely pay for flights, rail, hotel, and travel services with one central Smart Lodge Card. No transaction fees, no foreign exchange fees, no card fees.

Tips for maximising business card benefits

If you wish to unlock the full potential of business cards you should consider a strategic approach:

 

1. Choose the right card for business needs:

Start by evaluating your business’s distinct needs and goals. Choose a card that suits your expenditure trends, offers industry-specific rewards or benefits, and includes features like adaptable spending limits and comprehensive expense tracking capabilities. Think about which network you want to rely on – Visa and Mastercard are both trusted networks that are accepted worldwide. Of course, also check for annual fees and interest rates. Additional perks like travel insurance or purchase protection can be a plus, too.

 

2. Think about the whole spend management cycle (not just cards)

Scan your spend management from procurement to payment reconciliation and scout for solutions that seamlessly integrate with your accounting systems and expense management tools. This way, you can optimise the value that comes with business cards.

 

3. Regular monitoring of spend:

Check your spending habits and card usage. By tracking spending patterns, you can swiftly adjust by reallocating budgets or renegotiating vendor agreements, to better adapt to business objectives and amplify your return on investment (ROI).

 

4. Centralise spend management in a holistic way:

Streamline spend management processes wherever feasible. Centralising procurement, invoicing, and expense reporting streamlines workflows and reduces administrative overhead.

 

5. Provide adequate training for employees

Your team members need to learn how to use business cards according to your company’s spending protocols. Educate them on the significance of compliance so their actions align with your organisational objectives.

How to get and use different corporate cards with Yokoy

Yokoy provides a powerful range of corporate card options tailored to meet various business demands:

 

Prepaid/charge cards: Operating similar to debit cards, prepaid or charge cards work by transferring funds onto the card prior to usage. They suit businesses aiming to tightly regulate and oversee spending. Yokoy’s prepaid or charge cards offer adaptability and security, enabling your business to establish spending limits and monitor transactions in real-time.

 

Debit cards: Directly linked to a business’s bank account, debit cards offer convenient access to funds without incurring debt. They appeal to businesses prioritising simplicity and immediacy in transactions. With Yokoy, debit cards seamlessly integrate with expense management platforms, simplifying tracking and reconciliation of business expenses.

 

Business travel cards (Yokoy Smart Lodge Cards): Travel business cards such as Yokoy Smart Lodge Cards simplify handling travel-related expenses. They offer features like preloaded funds for accommodation, meal allowances, and transportation expenses. With Yokoy Smart Lodge Cards, businesses streamline travel expense oversight, ensure adherence to travel policies, and offer cardholders a convenient payment method while on the move.

 

Virtual cards: Serving as digital counterparts to physical cards, virtual cards are used for online transactions. Yokoy’s virtual cards are easy to create, manage, and freeze, and therefore mitigate the risk of fraud and unauthorised transactions while enhancing online expense management and reconciliation processes.

Blog article

How Virtual Corporate Cards Boost Expense Control and Limit Discretionary Spending

What challenges virtual corporate cards solve, what are their benefits, and why are virtual cards the perfect solution for limiting discretionary spending?

Lars Mangelsdorf, 

Co-founder and CCO

How Yokoy’s corporate cards and spend management software help real companies

As a global player in the hospitality and catering industry, DO & CO is renowned for its gourmet services across airline catering, event catering, and its restaurants, lounges, and hotels. “Before implementing Yokoy, we faced the challenges with documents went astray, shuffled between departments, and data was duplicated owing to manual input and a lack of comprehensive financial oversight. This inconsistency in expense management led to varying workflows and approval processes across our business units.”, says Johannes Echeverria, CFO at DO & CO.

 

Yokoy introduced a streamlined solution combining smart company cards and an advanced expense management tool, fundamentally transforming how DO & CO handled its travel and expenses (T&E). The integration of Yokoy’s corporate credit cards and expense management software automated the entire process, from transaction logging to compliance checks and data categorisation. This not only eliminated manual data entry but also standardised approval workflows, providing DO & CO with a more efficient, transparent expense management system. Financially, the company witnessed a remarkable 550 per cent return on investment from implementing Yokoy’s solutions.

Making a decisive switch to Yokoy

Comparis offers extensive comparisons ranging from health insurance premiums to mobile phone charges, and also provides services in real estate and vehicle markets. Facing challenges with their previous expense management system, Comparis initially opted for a cheaper alternative to Yokoy, which promised integration with their existing ERP systems. However, the implementation proved more complex and rigid than anticipated, leading to unsatisfactory outcomes. As a result, Comparis’s then CFO, Vivian Mohr, made the decisive switch to Yokoy: “With Yokoy, the implementation took three and a half weeks. The cooperation was very professional. When there were problems, they were quickly resolved.”

 

With Yokoy’s advanced software solutions, Comparis completely digitalised its expense reporting processes, moving away from the outdated use of paper, and Excel spreadsheets. The integration with Comparis’s ERP systems facilitates real-time data updates for credit card transactions, enhancing the accuracy and timeliness of financial reporting.

Streamlining operations

Founded in 2019 in Kemptthal, Switzerland, Planted has quickly become a trailblazer in the foodtech industry by producing innovative and sustainable plant-based meat products. As they expand internationally, the complexities of managing expenditures and maintaining scalability have become increasingly apparent. Initially, Planted’s financial operations were bogged down by paper-based, manual processes and disjointed software solutions, particularly in their procure-to-pay (P2P) and travel and expense (T&E) workflows.

Recognising the need for a more scalable and flexible approach to spend management, Planted adopted Yokoy’s modular suite, which is distinguished by its adaptability and integration capabilities through an open API. This strategic choice allowed Planted to seamlessly integrate Yokoy with their existing tech stack and quickly adapt to new software solutions or changes in business operations.

Planted keeps spend under control with Yokoy

“A corporate card should be secure and uncomplicated – and this is exactly what the Yokoy Mastercard offers. In addition, the card is smart, saving us significant time.”

Christoph Jenny, Co-founder Planted

business-payments-planted

Next Steps

If you are ready to take better control of your company’s expense management processes, Yokoy is the answer. With its strong corporate card solutions and AI-powered platform, Yokoy offers real-time insights and automations that simplify financial operations, allowing you and your team to focus on strategic growth and innovation. Book a demo today and see firsthand how Yokoy can optimise how you work with corporate cards.

Simplify your spend management

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