April 21, 2021 at 01:00PM

This week’s examination of commercial card innovation is all about managing employee spend. Visa dug deeper into the corporate T&E space with a new partnership, while CLC Lodging released its own virtual card solution as businesses seek technology that supports convenient issuance of cards to employees, as well as greater visibility and control of spend.

Visa Collaborates On Corporate T&E

In a new partnership with TripActions, Visa is looking to promote “digital-first payment solutions for business travel,” according to a recent announcement. The companies said their collaboration will facilitate the ability for TripActions to use Visa’s existing services and technology. TripActions, which provides employee expense management solutions, already uses the Visa network for its Liquid card product.

CLC Lodging Embraces V-Cards For T&E

As it expands beyond providing lodging management services for businesses, CLC Lodging has rolled out a virtual card solution designed to streamline travel payments for businesses and users. In a recent conversation with PYMNTS, CLC Lodging VP of Product Kathy Bishop noted that the flexibility of virtual cards is important because there is no one-size-fits-all solution to meet all businesses’ travel and expense management needs. Dubbed the CLC Trip Card, the virtual card product can be supported by mobile wallets for contactless payments at lodging suppliers as well as other merchants that a business traveler will use while on a trip.

Payhawk Raises $20 Million

Corporate card start-up Payhawk has announced a $20 million funding round led by QED investors, with Earlybird Digital East also participating. The startup connects business customers to a dedicated IBAN account that can integrate with existing bank accounts. The company offers a range of services, including the ability to issue corporate cards for employees, manage invoices and gain visibility into transactions on those cards, whether they are virtual or physical.

Apto Payments Enables Card Issuing

Also facilitating the issuance of card products is Apto Payments, a company that allows businesses, financial institutions and other entities to issue debit cards. The technology can be used for a variety of use cases, including B2B scenarios like payroll and employee expense. The Instant Issuance platform is designed for developers, the company said in its announcement, with the flexibility to support card customization and user onboarding.

Corporate Cards Are On The Rise

As FinTechs and other financial service providers introduce new card-based products and services to facilitate business payments, new research reveals steady growth for the corporate card industry overall. Beroe Inc’s latest report projects a market size of $32.3 billion for the industry for 2020, and noted that the pandemic is likely to lead to a reduction in transaction volume for physical corporate cards, but an increase in the use of virtual and contactless corporate card technology. Other potential factors that could stunt the growth of the corporate card sector include the risk of employee misuse of card products as well as a lack of acceptance among suppliers, the report noted.

Cards Take The Lead In Employee Spend Management …

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