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Why Smart Corporate Cards Are a Critical Tool For Startups

Why Smart Corporate Cards Are a Critical Tool For Startups

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Alex Roha

9 Sep 2022
4 minute read
Multiple blue smart corporate cards strategically spread across the image with a yellow background

The latest iteration of corporate cards is creating quite the buzz, as companies of all sizes are switching to the “smart” technology of newer cards.

Thanks to the massive shift in digital payments, 82% of business owners are reportedly changing how they receive and send transactions. With more than four in five Americans using some form of digital payments, it’s no surprise that finance teams are adopting smart virtual and physical cards to manage business expenses.

What is a “Smart” Corporate Card?

Once a coveted status symbol, corporate cards were typically allotted to senior staff with authority to make company purchasing decisions. However, as the needs of modern companies expand and an increasing number of employees are deployed globally, more cards are necessary for proper business acceleration.

The conventional corporate card is embedded with a smart chip that processes and stores information to provide security. But corporate cards level up to smart cards with the addition of an embedded microcontroller that features the ability to store data, interact with a smart card reader, and carry out on-card functions like encryption and mutual authentication.

These cards make a robust and secure option for finance teams, since they’re tamper-resistant and protect in-memory information.

Paired with a software platform, smart corporate cards provide a comprehensive spend management solution with greater spend visibility and control so that all employees can spend responsibly on behalf of the business.

Advantages of Smart Corporate Cards

For startups building their expense management stack or looking for a more scalable solution, these smart cards offer many unique solutions for improving the risk and spending associated with keeping a business running. Here’s how.

Ease of adoption and enforcement of spending controls

With a smart corporate card, enforcing your expense controls before spend even occurs eliminates awkward conversations with employees about potential rejected spending. Embedded policies are rule-based, but they may be flexibly built according to expense category, role, department, or other criteria.

Automated expense tracking

Almost half of companies still manage expense reports manually and fail to track the true costs of processing every expense report. Spreadsheets may have worked as a patch solution, but came with hidden costs.

The Achilles heel of manual processes lies in data entry errors that result in missing or incorrect data. But taking human error out of the equation results in improved, more efficient workflows. In fact, by automating transactions via smart cards, companies remove manual expense approvals, free up manager bandwidth, and keep a detailed database of approved and accumulated spend.

Eliminate expense reports

Expense reports are time-consuming, error-prone, and highly subjective. And Navan has never heard from our customers that anyone misses submitting expense reports.

A centralized spend management platform with a smart corporate card will streamline the entire process and eliminate the need for expense reports. Out-of-pocket expenses may still occur, but modern spend platforms can also capture those transactions and reimburse employees quickly.

Reward programs and additional perks

Some employees hesitate when switching to a corporate card because many lack the rewards and perks associated with their personal cards. However, corporate smart cards are different, and rewards may involve miles and loyalty points or cash back.

Smart card rewards can even incentivize business travelers to make travel decisions that are aligned with the company.

Generate real-time data

Smart cards collect and parse information from the moment they are swiped, allowing companies to analyze crucial expense data in order to make smarter financial decisions. This data can even satisfy audit and compliance requirements.

Paired with a spend management platform, data collected from smart cards can identify insights and trends for greater cost savings. Real-time data and automated reconciliation allows accounting teams to close the books faster, and gives finance teams greater peace of mind.

Modern Solutions for Modern Startups

There are many smart cards currently available on the market, but they don’t always integrate well with legacy spend management solutions, which often have to cobble together disparate systems. By using them, companies risk failed data entry, poor adoption, and a reconciliation process that wastes more time than it saves.

As a startup racing to gain market presence, none of this ideal.

With Navan Expense, however, startups can take advantage of an easy-to-implement, all-in-one spend management solution that gives employees, managers, accountants, and finance leaders the tools they need to remove potential roadblocks in managing expenses.

For example, features like a custom policy builder allow for policy configurations that prevent out-of-policy spending from happening. Automated approvals, smart corporate cards, and automated reconciliation are also benefits. And who will miss expense reports? With Navan Expense, the traditional, manual, and analog expense report simply disappears.

For startups—and any company looking to compete in today’s competitive business landscape—the Navan expense solution is one they can’t afford to miss.

Ready to streamline company spending and implement an all-in-one travel and expense management solution? Schedule a demo to see how our spend solutions work, or get up and running with Navan in just 5 minutes.

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