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What Is The Biggest Challenge In The Area Of Commercial Cards?

“Many companies still do not have clear expense policies or keep manual or outdated tools for expense submission and approval processes. COVID-19 and lockdowns are strongly challenging the status quo.” – says Sergio ORTEGA from BBVA.

How to make commercial payments easy-to-use, easy-to-access and quick-to-perform?

Commercial cards issuers have to reach the same level of convenience consumer cards have achieved over the last few years. Commercial cardholders assume they have to comply with certain company policies and rules. However, they expect similar user and payment experience, DIY – do it yourself – capabilities (i.e. switch on-off your card for presence payments or ecommerce) and loading their corporate card in most common wallets (Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.) for mobile contactless payments.

What people, skills, and technologies are necessary in a digital bank?

In a digital bank we need our employees to change their mind-set and move from waterfall and certainties to agile and design thinking methodologies where you have to constantly deliver MVPs (minimum viable product), evaluate your KPIs and adapt to your clients’ needs in very short cycles.
Regarding technologies, we need to keep moving from legacy technologies to cutting-edge ones like cloud computing and data analytics in order to provide tailor made solutions to our clients.

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the area of commercial cards?

The biggest challenge is still to educate all size companies (starting with SMEs, followed by commercial and ending up with large multinationals) about the benefits of using commercial cards for their business trip expenses and long tail B2B payments versus the employee using cash or their consumer cards. Many companies still do not have clear expense policies or keep manual or outdated tools for expense submission and approval processes. COVID-19 and lockdowns are strongly challenging the status quo. For instance: where are the receipts or the invoices?, who is going to manually enter these expenses into the Word-Excel now that nobody is in the office?, should I send my expense receipts to my PA’s home address? And last but not least: some employees might not want to use their consumer card credit line, concerned about when their company is going to reimburse them.

We have recently launched BBVA Global Commercial Cards solution to tackle all those issues. There are benefits for all stakeholders:

  • Employees: they have a secure and universally accepted payment solution that circumvents the use of cash or their consumer cards
  • Card program managers: Overall view and day-to-day control with breakdown by subsidiary and country
  • Financial Director: Automate expense reconciliation
  • Purchasing and travel managers: Data analytics on each supplier’s purchase volume, which can be used to negotiate corporate rates
  • Compliance and HR: Early detection of expenses out of corporate policy
  • IT department: Card programme data is easily accessible through our integration with leading expense management and ERP platforms

The other challenge we are facing is the interchange regulation. In case further reductions take place in the future we will have to review the whole commercial cards value proposition.

How does your bank face the current challenges in mobile banking?

BBVA Enterprise Global Solutions is heavily investing in the creation of a global ecosystem addressing all treasury management needs: One Bank (for payrolls, payments and account payables), Global Supply Chain Finance, Global gateway for ecommerce, Global Commercial Cards and Global and Local Net Cash electronic banking fronts. Moreover, we have recently released Global Net Cash mobile app for global clients.


Sergio ORTEGA, Director – Global Commercial Cards Product Owner from BBVA 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 & USA). 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 solution 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).

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