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Corporations adopting mobile payments for company accounts

February 26, 2016

In the past several years, many experts have said that the key to unlocking the mobile payments market lies, predictably, in getting consumers on board.

In the past several years, many experts have said that the key to unlocking the mobile payments market lies, predictably, in getting consumers on board. And while that is certainly true, there may be a small but untapped market that could likewise develop a significant interest in using these platforms in the coming years: Businesses with corporate credit cards.

One of the big hassles many companies that have their own credit or debit cards have often faced is getting people authorized to use their own copies of the primary company card, among other things. But mobile payments might render that concern a thing of the past, according to a report from American Banker. This is because a lot of the issues that arise from corporate credit card – monitoring accounts on an ongoing basis, keeping track of physical cards, dealing with documentation, and so on – can be solved by switching to mobile platforms.

Many companies may soon switch from physical cards to mobile platforms.Many companies may soon switch from physical cards to mobile platforms.

Why is that the case?
Mobile payment apps, as a general rule, are going to come with options to monitor spending automatically, and one card can be linked to several different devices simultaneously so that there’s no need to carry a physical copy of a card at all, the report said. Already, many businesses are seeing this major benefit of mobile payment platforms, and those in the banking industry generally see this as a trend that, like consumer- and retailer-facing mobile payment adoption, is going to pick up a lot of steam in the near future.

“[Mobile payment accounts] will continue to accelerate and will be much more meaningful in terms of total volumes,” Kevin Phalen, head of commercial cards and comprehensive payables at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told the site. “Clients are very interested and are widely adopting virtual accounts. You can expect to see cards in wallets for at least the next three to five years, but the use of physical plastics will continue to diminish.”

Getting everyone on board
Of course, that doesn’t account for the fact that adoption remains relatively slow right now, even as it continues to pick up momentum, the report said. Among consumers, businesses, and retailers alike, there has been some movement, but experts believe that it’s retailers who may need the most convincing. For the most part, there have been a lot of large companies signing on, but some serious hesitancy among smaller ones. Jim McLeod, emerging payments practice lead for Carlisle and Gallagher Consulting Group, told the site that many are simply taking a kind of “wait and see” approach even as they gain popularity.

However, the fact is that the earlier retailers get up to speed with mobile payments, the more likely they will be to get in near the ground floor and establish themselves as early adopters to meet the early-adopting businesses and consumers who have likewise started using these platforms regularly. That, in turn, could serve them well in the long term.

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