If you are a small business looking to streamline your purchases and minimize cash advances, while keeping your business expenses in check, business prepaid cards (aka Employee Debit Cards) are an effective tool that will save you time and money.
The challenge that every small business faces today is to offer their employees a business credit card without a personal guarantee.
One of the potential risks associated with business credit cards is that their misuse can hurt your personal credit reputation, apart from causing unnecessary losses to your business.
Considering the above scenario, let’s explore the legacy solutions and their potential risks/challenges from the standpoint of a small business.
Buying Everything Yourself
As a small business owner, you can choose to make all purchases yourself. While this looks pretty simple on the surface, it can be very time consuming to handle all the purchases regularly.
Making regular purchases will not only prevent you from focusing on your core business activities, it will also affect employee morale as well as this aspect of their job is “micro-managed.”
Sometimes it might be a good idea to allow your employees to make purchases as per their specific requirements to keep the expenses low and their morale high.
Many small businesses ask their employees to front cash for unplanned expenses and issue reimbursement. Cash reimbursement is a good idea when the size of your purchases is relatively small because not all employees would agree to or are financially able to pay upfront for large purchases out of their pockets.
There are chances that some unscrupulous employees will try to inflate a bill to get more than what they’ve spent on making purchases.
If you’re going to implement a cash reimbursement policy, be sure to ask your employees to submit copies of purchase receipts and any other documentation during cash reimbursement. While this will add to the time required to manage this from the owner/admin’s perspective, it is critical if you choose this legacy method.
Some small businesses prefer having a petty cash fund in order to purchase small items frequently. If you don’t want to request your employees to front cash for your purchases, a petty cash fund is the solution. However, there’s a great deal of risk in terms of theft.
Moreover, it’s unrealistic to chase down receipts for small purchases all the time. So, it’s really difficult to document them for bookkeeping.
Using checks for purchases in a small business setting has some advantages to it. First of all, you have more control over your expenses. Your employees can’t use checks for purchases unless they are signed by an appropriate authority. Plus, it’s more secure than a corporate credit card as there are no chances for fraud or unapproved purchases whatsoever.
However, you can’t really use checks in all situations – if you’re frequently buying small items worth a few dollars, using checks isn’t really the smartest idea as chasing down the purchase receipts can be time consuming. Moreover, paying by checks is a relatively slower process, and it can be a disadvantage sometimes as you may still need to chase down receipts. Lastly, many businesses write checks to “cash,” which is really bypassing all the control of using checks in the first place. If you are doing this, you should explore alternative methods.
Store Gift Cards
Store gift cards are a popular way of making purchases for small businesses. They are not only easy for your employees but are more secure from a business perspective and your losses are limited to the value of the gift card. Unlike credit cards, there are reduced chances of theft and inappropriate purchases.
For example, gift cards only meant for a particular store will limit the chances of any embezzlement.
However, you cannot use gift cards to streamline your operations. It’s a real hassle to buy and distribute store gift cards to your employees. It is not only time consuming, but it also limits their options to buy the exact items they are looking for if they have to consider another store brand due to availability.
Corporate Credit Cards
Corporate credit cards (aka business credit cards) are often considered as an effective solution to meeting business expenses in a small business scenario. They are convenient in that you don’t have to ask to your employees to front money for the purchases.
According to a recent survey conducted by NSBA, nearly a third of small businesses use their business credit card for their day-to-day financial operations. If you’re interested in getting one, Fit Small Business has a helpful list comparing small business credit cards based on rewards and costs.
However, offering business credit cards to your employees comes at a personal risk. Since business credit cards come with a personal guarantee, you are directly liable if your employee abuses the business credit card assigned to them.
In fact, a study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that business expense fraud cases account for 14% of all fraud cases.
There were cases where employees with fraudulent intentions used their company’s business credit card to make a purchase and then submitted the documentation for the expenditure for reimbursement.
Moreover, if an employee leaves the organization without surrendering the credit card, you will need to call customer support to cancel it immediately.
Indeed, using corporate credit cards is a double-edged sword.
The Ideal Solution for Meeting Business Expenditure
If you want the ease and convenience of a business credit card without a personal guarantee, the Bento Business Debit Card is an ideal solution.
It allows you to set budgets on individual employee cards and offers real-time updates over employee spending to help you rein in your business expenses while streamlining your purchases.
Bento’s Business Debit Card is designed to help you:
- Improve Your Cashflow
- Control Your Expenses
- Focus on Your Business
How Does It Work?
Signing up for the Bento Business Debit Card is simple. All you have to do is provide basic business information, add funds, and order cards for your employees – a process that takes about 5 minutes. Once verified and approved, your cards will be on their way – no personal guarantee necessary.
Once you assign Bento cards to your employees and set budgets for each of them, you can manage their usage and even decline an unauthorized transaction.
Bento is fully automated. It lets you do everything from a real-time dashboard and view how each of your employees is spending the funds assigned to them. With Bento’s Android and iOS apps, you can also monitor their activities on your mobile phone and employees can see their remaining available funds, which means less of your time communicating this to employees.
Where Bento Business Debit Card Be Used
Your employees can use Bento Cards to purchase office supplies, and use them as Utility Cards. When the allocated fund are exhausted, funds will be reloaded automatically and you can even turn cards off completely.
Bento Cards boast the combined security of a bank and Visa® and offer a user-friendly interface for you to monitor and manage your business expenses.
Learn more about Bento’s employee debit card for small businesses.