This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Corporate cards 

they are now integral to many companies’ management systems. Brian Merry believes that, “The ideal is

to pay for everything on T&E corporate card and then the card company submits files directly to the electronic expense management programme and the traveller simply has to populate his expenses with internal details.” Corporate cards can give total trip cost

so that managers can work out the return on investment from each trip. But most corporate cards were developed from consumer card technology so the data can be limited. For example, you can see how much a trip cost but not the class of travel to see if the trip was compliant with corporate travel policy. That fuller data is available from a lodge account because it was developed to align with the travel management company booking system. Yael Klein is keen to point out that the AirPlus (UATP) system gets another kind of data – that directly from the supplier. “We get the pro-rated data that the airlines use literally to talk to each other. This means you don’t see only what was paid to the first carrier – you see what was spent with whom on every leg. Customers want this data to negotiate,” she says. Centrally billed accounts can gain even

more data if they employ virtual cards. Sometimes referred to as Vcards or single use cards, virtual cards work by a Visa, MasterCard or American Express number being generated at the time a travel booking is made. It is most commonly used for hotel bookings. The number is connected to a single booking so data captured identifies the traveller as well as including a break- down of spend. Many prefer this to the

traditional hotel billback system whereby the hotel company would send the TMC one invoice at the end of the month and its admin team would then have to decipher what each line item might be for. Vcards are for travellers who, for one reason or another, do not have a corporate card. Paul Raymond, director of strategic

Whichever type of card you opt for,

the needs of various stakeholders in a company could be very different. Yael Klein says, “The travel department

will look more for what they can get out of it in terms of negotiation. The finance department will be more interested in controls and optimising processes.” Finance will also be conscious that

“ The travel department will look more for what they can

get out of it in terms of negotiation. The finance department will be more interested in controls and optimising processes

relationships for Conferma, the company that has pioneered virtual solutions, points out that because the virtual card is tied to both the booking and the payment it is the 'true end-to-end' tool. Myles Stephenson, CEO of CorporatePay, which offers a Travel Virtual Payment programme, adds that this credit-based solution offers the additional benefit of accessing a line of credit if pre-depositing funds is not appropriate.

different cards have different costs. If you are a very large corporate, you could expect to negotiate with the card provider for a rebate based on the amount of use. This is not, however, a pure volume equation. Every card has an associated cost so two companies may have exactly the same spend, but the one with a profile of fewer card users but a higher spend per card will receive a greater rebate than one with many users and a low average transaction value. By the same token, card companies make money from foreign transactions so

the more international spend there is, the greater the rebate is likely to be. However, if – like most companies – you

are not large enough to receive a rebate, the way to make a card cost effective is through fees. Cards are issued for ‘free’ but transactions will carry different fees, especially foreign ones. Carefully check the fees you are being charged – they are often negotiable. For those that do not have a card, a

prepaid cash card can be a solution but it will mean a negative cash flow (money must be added before it is spent) and the



TRAVEL suppliers also offer useful cards for the corporate buyer and booker, including hotel groups. Hotel ‘business account’ cards are a relatively new

product for the corporate market. Like the Premier Inn Business Account, the Accor Business Account can be managed either centrally as a lodge card or individuals can be given their own cards. The account owner receives one monthly itemised VAT invoice for all the transactions on the account which can mean up to 45 days’ free credit from the stay. For both the Premier Inn and Accor cards guestrooms,

meetings and extras such as meals or newspapers can all be charged to the account and the business can set spend limits. The cards carry no set-up fees and can be used at any of Premier Inn’s 600 UK and Ireland properties or Accor’s UK properties. Each transaction will be shown and the management information can be fed straight into the corporate’s data systems. But there are differences. Premier Inn is a single brand which does not offer corporate rates or loyalty cards, two enhancements which Accor, a multi-brand global hotel company, does. Jo Stevenson, sales director – global sales UK and Ireland

at Accor, says the card “is especially beneficial for volume hotel users who require a range of brands – potentially someone who needs to consolidate their invoicing and payments and wants to use one or a limited number of suppliers on the hotel front. “They can use this payment solution to settle hotel

expenses across the spectrum from budget hotels through to five-star properties.” Stevenson points out that a card also negates the need

for the company to apply for credit at each individual hotel. “Control is really important to the SME client. Using the central account platform there’s someone back at base controlling the purse strings and in charge of who is spending and where they’re spending it.”

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92