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Expense Management Doesn’t Have to Be Hard: How to Use An Employee Expense Debit Card

5 min read Sanjay Krishna

All too often, we hear how complicated expense policies are bogging down companies. They’re tripped up by red tape at every corner and only a few people are in charge of all purchases. Even with the red tape, there’s always the risk of unapproved purchases and credit card fraud.

It doesn’t have to be this hard. 

Expense cards are a modern option for companies to manage all of their purchases, whether your employees are on the road or purchasing software online. Improved visibility, spend limit automations, and low fees make these cards the best choice for a growing business. 

What’s it all about? In this article, we break down the pros and cons of an employee expense card—and why it might be the best option for your company.

What is an employee expense card?

An employee expense card works just like any charge card that you’re familiar with. Many cards give you the choice between prepaid, which allows you to preload a limited amount of money onto a card, or debit. Companies can get these business debit cards from any bank, credit card company, or a number of other financial organizations. 

Most importantly, they’re not credit cards! Most merchants are happy to accept transactions from charge cards because of the lowered risk. You can swipe, tap, sign, or use the chip. You can even get physical cash from an ATM. 

To complement our SaaS management platform, Quolum also offers a SaaS card that specifically helps businesses set limits on SaaS purchases, track consumption, and create virtual cards. It also can integrate with your existing accounting software. There are plenty more benefits to using expense debit cards and it’s easy to get started. 

The key benefits of employee expense cards

Employee expense debit cards give businesses a lot more control over their purchasing—with the ability to track purchases and expenses in real time with reports and dashboards. 

Here are the key benefits of employee expense cards, and why you need them: 

  • Integrations with accounting software

To streamline your procurement, make sure that you choose an expense debit card that integrates with your accounting software, as well as other applications, so you can accurately track budget and spend. We integrate with over 40 applications including Quickbooks–with NetSuite, Xero, and Expensify on the way. 

  • The ability to predefine card budgets 

Different functions have different purchasing needs. Instead of distributing corporate credit cards to all employees and worrying about high credit limits, you can predefine the budget for each function.

Pro Tip: If your procurement manager oversees all large SaaS purchases, they’re going to need a high spend limit. On the other hand, your field sales rep who travels a lot may only need up to $5,000 a month to pay for travel and client dinners. 

  • Built in rules and spending policies mean less red tape

Avoid complicated approval chains and set up spend control rules for your organization. Expense debit cards can even be programmed to be used only at white listed vendors. Rules around which employees can use a card help avoid unnecessary spend and you can suspend or lock cards on demand in an emergency. 

  • Real time data sync

When all purchases are completed through your employee debit cards, the data is available for reporting in real time so you can act on any unexpected purchases. This takes away the hassle and headache of reviewing receipts and auditing excel files. 

  • Virtual cards 

Virtual cards are a game changer. When an employee needs to make a purchase online, you can create a one time debit card that is immediately available for that one specific purchase. The card still follows all of the budget, transaction limits, and approvals that you set for your organization. The best part? One time cards are way more secure and a safe way to avoid fraud. 

  • Recurring cards for online subscriptions

Many SaaS contracts are based on the subscription model which can include monthly payments to the vendor. By setting up recurring debit cards, you’re taking the manual work out of buying the same product month after month. 

When you create a virtual subscription card, you can set a budget so the exact amount is loaded onto the card right before payment is due—keeping your subscriptions up and running autonomously.

Where do I start?

There are quite a few options for employee expense debit cards. To get started, determine which features are most important for your business. Minimum feature requirements should include:

  • No setup fees or translation fees
  • No monthly fees or subscriptions
  • Integrates with your accounting software
  • The option to have unlimited number of cards without fees
  • Mobile app management

Some employee expense debit cards offer a free tier, which makes them ideal for very small businesses with a limited budget. A free version can be helpful in getting your expense management up and streamlined—but the real power comes from integrations with your major accounting and procurement tools, which come at a cost.  

Here are three considerations when choosing an expense debit card: 

  1. Cashback Offers: Cashback offers can range from 1.5% to 2.25%. While cashback, rewards, and points may be useful for some organizations, you may simply just need an option that improves savings. Quolum’s SaaS card focuses on saving hard cash. 
  2. Bill Payments: Some charge cards also come with expense management software. If you need more out of your card, like invoicing and bill creation, choose an option that helps with bill payments (ideally with a self service portal).
  3. Automations: Automations can streamline repetitive tasks like processing receipts and managing reimbursements. You can also automate the routing of approval requests. Automated alerts can also help you manage any SaaS subscriptions purchases and can save you from dark billing practices, like charging your card without any notification. 

Other considerations to keep in mind include: 

  • Whether Visa or Mastercard issues the employee debit expense card
  • If the debit card has done away with interchange fees entirely
  • Whether you can set up prepaid cards vs debit cards
  • Available support options in case you need help. Options usually include email, phone, live chat, or an account manager. 
  • Whether you need to manage SaaS purchases. (Quolum’s SaaS Card is the best option for managing dozens or even hundreds of SaaS applications, contracts, and renewals.)

Level up with a SaaS Card 

An employee expense debit card is a simpler, more secure way to track expenses. Do away with the corporate credit cards, and start empowering your employees with employee expense debit cards. Plus, the visibility you get from these cards will save you money. In fact, our Quolum SaaS Card saves our customers 10% the first month they use it! 
Learn more, here.

About Quolum

Quolum is a full-stack SaaS Spend Management product. Its data-driven renewals, spend controls, license monitoring, contract oversight, and a buying concierge helps companies save millions of dollars in spending.
Quolum is ideal for companies that have hundreds of SaaS tools. Finance, Procurement, IT Teams, and departmental spend owners use Quolum to help manage SaaS sprawl and remove shelf-ware.
Talk to us to get a demo of the product. You can start seeing savings in just a few weeks. No spreadsheets are required.