By the time business travel goes back to normal, enterprises will have new commercial cards products and solutions to choose from.
Why is FinTech collaboration essential for the future of banking?
As the banking industry moves from a product-based strategy to a client-centric one, we have realised we cannot build all the bits and pieces in house. Therefore, we have to collaborate with FinTechs in some areas to complement financial product capabilities or to reach niche markets, and to compete in others to provide clients an outstanding client journey regardless of which company is providing each piece of the journey. Clients more than ever demand End-to-End solutions and seamless journeys.
For instance, when it comes to business travel, there are many actors involved: Travel agency, Commercial Cards issuer, Expense Management tool, ERP integration, Accounting & Reconciliation, Compliance & HH.RR and the list continues. All of them have to work seamlessly in order to provide an excellent client journey. BBVA’s commercial cards solve the payment part, however a big friction item is the expense management. We could have built an in-house solution in order to compete however, there are already several incumbents for which that is their core business. Therefore, we have developed a global solution reaching partnerships with global expense management market leaders and integrated them providing enterprises the capacity to choose which one fits better their needs. One size does not fit all.
How are commercial cards adapting to the new normal?
The pandemic’s impact has been severe with purchase volume plunged from one month to the next one. As of today, it is slowly recovering and most likely late this year, early next one, most of the purchase volume will recover.
Meanwhile, commercial cards issuers are following consumer trends and moving their product portfolios to digital: virtual cards, integration with mobile wallets, exploring new use cases for B2B payments, home office expenses payments, etc.
When business travel resumes there will be new products and services ready to be used by enterprises.
Why should companies make commercial cards part of their payment strategy?
The management of business travel expenses and small payments to suppliers are traditionally associated with tedious processes with payments in cash, with consumer cards, reimbursements and with expense management processes in many cases plenty of crafts or with little automation. In addition, there are still many companies with unclear spending policies which make the process even more difficult.
Right now, business trips are at historical lows, therefore companies have a unique opportunity to lay the foundations for future corporate travel management, redefine payment policies implementing commercial cards programmes and to automatise the expense management and reconciliation processes. In summary, they can get rid of cash and craft processes and embrace digital capabilities improving their efficiency.
Once we overcome the pandemic, corporate travel will resume and those enterprises with End-to-End digital solutions will have their employees completely focused on what really matters: the recovery of business activity as soon as possible.
Sergio Ortega, Head of Global Solutions – Commercial Cards is responsible for BBVA’s global commercial cards solution development enabling local, regional and global enterprises to homogeneously manage the expenses made with commercial cards in BBVA footprint (Europe & LAC). Sergio has 15 years of experience in Payments Systems, first in BBVA Spain (consumer issuing, acquiring and innovation) and since 2012 in global positions focused on commercial cards. He is leading BBVA’s global commercial cards solutions business line development from scratch following design thinking & agile methodologies, coordinating cross-functional local, global, business & IT teams. Sergio has a Master Degree in Computer Science from Deusto University (Spain) and Aalborg University (Denmark). He also has an Executive MBA from Esade Business School (Spain).