Global payment-processing firm Mastercard announced on November 1 the introduction of a cards and spend management platform targeting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in several Asia Pacific (Apac) markets.
The service is already available via card issuers in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia, before being rolled out “region-wide”, according to a company statement.
The offering is an extension of Mastercard’s existing partnership with Norway-headquartered payment fintech firm EedenBull, which provides its corporate payments management platform Q Business.
Key features of the platform of the platform include real-time data insights into company-wide spending; automated capture and transaction matching of receipts; in addition to the integration into accounting software packages, digital wallets and payment systems.
“These features provide SMEs with more control, transparency and flexibility in managing their expenditure and cashflow. All are provided in a seamless, easy to use platform delivered by their banking partner,” a spokesperson for EedenBull said.
This is the first time in Apac that a payments network has partnered with a fintech to support a white-labelled expense management system (EMS) and card management system (CMS) which are dedicated to SMEs, according to Mastercard.
Digitised Expense Management
SMEs face many pain points when it comes to spend management, EedenBull’s spokesperson pointed out. These include a lack of real-time visibility of outgoings; extensive manual and paper-based data entry processes; lost receipts; spend at non-preferred suppliers; and slow and complicated approval procedures, she explained.
In a report by Mastercard, titled Small and medium enterprises are big business, 69% of over 10,000 global SMEs surveyed underlined the importance of a seamless and frictionless digital experience.
Moreover, 66% considered customer service via a business banking application as crucial; 64% suggested they prefer fully online and instantly approved application procedures. While in South Korea, expense management topped the list of SMEs’ most favoured feature when it comes to fintech services by payment providers.
Virtual and digital banks have emerged to serve the SME community with digital tools, addressing the gap in traditional financing, the report added.
Payments, invoicing and business finance management tools are among key digital offerings from non-traditional banks.
“These new entrants will continue to take SME market share from traditional banks unless those banks develop or partner to offer their own customized offerings,” the report noted.
The platform, supported by EedenBull and Mastercard, offers an enterprise an overview of its card-based products ranging from credit, debit, prepaid and charge options.
Business cards can also be managed according to various preference, Mastercard’s spokesperson added. “For example, they can be limited to in-person transactions at petrol stations for amounts of less than $150 per purchase. A virtual card can be requested and used for ad-hoc travel requirements or to lodge with a regular supplier to pay for services such as digital ads or cloud services,” she said.