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B4B Payments Announces Strategic Expansion into U.S. Market

B4B Payments announces new collaboration with Visa in the U.S.

Digital payments company, B4B Payments, today announced a strategic collaboration with Visa in the United States. B4B Payments will leverage Visa’s proven scale, security and reach to grow in the U.S. market. The B4B payments program will be delivered on Visa Debit Cards and supported by Visa DPS for issuer processing services.

The move will see B4B Payments’ technology aiming to help companies facing challenges with outdated payment methods in the United States. Due to open its first U.S. office in Boston, Massachusetts in August 2020, this announcement marks a significant leap forward in capability for B4B Payments.

“Now is the right time for us to unleash our platform into the U.S. market and help companies free up their time from the sometimes-antiquated expense management processes in the same way we have in Europe. We are looking forward to achieving similar levels of success by collaborating with Visa to take our product forward.”

Paul Swinton Founder and CEO of B4B Payments

B4B Payments’ technology helps to streamline the payment process for organisations who had previously found difficulty managing issues that can be associated with traditional payment methods, such as employee expenses or third-party payments. The platform is entirely digital and can be used in conjunction with the B4B app to enable updates on the go, featuring automatic notifications of funds received, reminders for receipt input and freeing up the business to spend more time on other tasks. The technology allows for increased visibility and control over the expense payments that a company makes to its staff and suppliers. B4B Payments is particularly useful for agile digital companies without the resources to employ full-time administrative staff, or who employ gig economy workers and contractors, because payments can be tracked and made as needed without needing a central interface.

Kieran Draper, Head of B4B Payments (USA) Inc, comments, “We’re delighted to be able to announce the company’s expansion into the U.S. market, which has been a corporate ambition of ours for some time, and to transform the sometimes challenging process of business payments alongside a global brand like Visa is a great privilege.”

Our platform assists U.S. businesses facing challenges with purchasing and payments, in a world where the gig economy is growing massively. We hope to provide these businesses with a swift, secure and easy-to-use platform that gives them more time and effort to focus on their trade, rather than their administration.”

“We have successfully worked with fintech organizations across the globe to provide a clear path towards getting to market faster and more efficiently, leveraging Visa’s scale, security, reach and strong network of partners. By working with B4B payments on their expansion to the U.S., we are continuing our support for fintechs, with the goal of accelerating the growth of the payments industry and creating better ways to help move money everywhere.”

Terry Angelos, SVP and Global Head of Fintech, Visa

B4B Payments announces this exciting news off the back of an excellent 2019, which saw the company win Best Prepaid Product of the Year at the 2019 European Card & Payments Awards. With over 1,000 customers in Europe alone and several award wins under their belt, this expansion into North America represents a significant milestone for the company.

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The benefits of a branded prepaid business card

To brand or not to brand?

Wait… Is that even a question? Brand! Brand everything!

Often when somebody goes on a company trip, they’ll travel out with a business credit card in order to cover their expenses. This has been the typical method of corporate expense management and keeping your spending on trips under control. However, the use of the branded prepaid business card is on the rise. Here are a few reasons that these cards are beneficial for both the brand, the business, and its users.

A high level of management control

Using business credit cards can often be a struggle, as too many cards being in circulation can be difficult to track. Using a management control platform such as B4B Payments means that you can keep track of all of your corporate expense cards, generate spending reports, and load cards individually or in bulk. This makes the amount of control you have over your corporate expenses far more secure and is a big step towards accurate real-time tracking of company finances and spending.

Personalisation can boost your brand

The improvement of your brand is always a big benefit to any company, and prepaid business cards are not exempt from this idea. When your employees go to a conference and need to cover for their expenses, they can reach down into a wallet and show off your company’s brand whilst paying for anything they get when away. This is a quick and easy way to get your brand seen by more people, often industry professionals, whilst putting minimal effort into getting this exposure. With a colourful and vibrant company expenses card, your business can stand out from the crowd.

Control your expenditure

Everyone’s heard the nightmare stories. Employees often go on long trips to conferences or retreats and may overspend far beyond what the company initially anticipated. With a credit card, it is much harder to stay within these limits compared to a debit card. Using a prepaid business card, there is no credit involved. Your company’s representatives are limited by the amount that is paid onto the card, and therefore can’t overspend and leave your business in financial trouble. Peace of mind is valuable in business, and that is exactly what this card can offer you.

If you’re interested in a prepaid personalised business card in order to control your corporate expenses and get your brand out there, get in touch with B4B Payments. Our team of experts will help to explain all of the available options to you and find you a bespoke way forward.

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B4B Payments chooses LHV Banking Services to fuel growth

LHV, the financial and payment services provider, is pleased to announce award-winning corporate prepaid payments solution provider, B4B Payments (‘B4B’), has become the latest FinTech customer of its London branch. 

Since the launch of its London office in 2018, LHV has now quadrupled its client base to 120.  Customers are predominantly financial institutions and FinTechs, who have been drawn to LHV’s value proposition, its ‘one stop shop’ offering that covers large scale banking service requirements, and its partnership model whereby LHV works closely with clients to develop custom made solutions that satisfy their individual requirements. 

FCA authorised B4B will gain access to LHV’s full service offering including state of the art payment infrastructure and real time Euro and Sterling payments capability via Single Euro Payment Area (‘SEPA’) Instant and Faster Payments schemes respectively. In addition, B4B will benefit from access to LHV’s Application Programming Interface ‘LHV Connect’, which offers a wide range of services, including GBP and EUR safeguarding accounts, Virtual IBANs, currency exchange, liquidity services and where appropriate financing.

B4B Payments, veteran prepaid payment provider in Europe, is going global, expanding operations in North America and opening its first US offices in Boston. The platform enables organisations of any size to manage expenses, simplify payroll, reimbursements, and offer employee rewards and incentives.

As a leader in Fintech and prepaid business payments for over 14 years and voted the Best Prepaid Product of the Year in 2019, B4B Payments continues to offer innovative, flexible, and time-saving solutions that streamline and eliminate antiquated finance and accounting processes.

Andres Kitter, Head of LHV’s UK Operations, said, “Our decision to establish a presence in London post the 2016 Brexit referendum was to increase our presence in what remains one of the leading financial and fintech sectors in the world and in the process attract customers of the calibre of B4B.  The company has been operating for fifteen years, which shows significant experience and market resilience and we are delighted that two profitable organisations are partnering for continued growth.

“In a little over two years, we have not only quadrupled customer numbers in our London office to 120 but also significantly diversified our client base so that the companies we serve range from payment service providers to FX brokers and from startups to established financial institutions and unicorns. All our clients are subjected to comprehensive onboarding procedures and due diligence and encouragingly we have a growing pipeline of potential customers currently undergoing this process.  I am therefore confident that the momentum behind our London operations will be maintained going forward.” 

 B4B CEO and co-founder, Paul Swinton said, “We looked at a number of providers to provide safeguarding and virtual IBAN capabilities. LHV came out on top due to their flexibility, functionality and value proposition. We migrated our clients easily onto the platform and we are very happy with the service to date. LHV will also be able to support us when we establish our European operation later this month with a one stop solution.”

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Case studies Education Insights Payroll & Payouts Uncategorised

Next Steps South West provides support with prepaid Higher Education Travel Cards

Next Steps South West (NSSW) is an organisation, part of the Uni Connect programme, funded by the Office for Students.  Their aim is to increase progression into higher education by inspiring young people, working with teachers and parents to overcome barriers.

NSSW use personalised, prepaid cards for their Higher Education Travel Card scheme to enable students to attend university and college open days.

B4B Payments provides forward-thinking payment processing solutions, enabling any size organisation to manage its expenses, simplify its payroll and offer rewards and incentives using prepaid cards. With over 1,000 customers and growing all of the time, B4B Payments was voted the Best Prepaid Product of the Year in 2019.

Taylor, a student at Eggbuckland Community College in Plymouth, was the subject of multiple interventions from NSSW, who offered one-to-one support, motivational talks and workshops to help him become the first member of his family to attend university.

With the help of B4B Payment’s prepaid cards, NSSW was able to cover the cost to help Taylor travel to attend a UCAS exhibition and open days at the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth. Following the support of NSSW, Taylor was able to earn multiple university offers to become an undergraduate student in September 2020.

With B4B Payment’s online portal, customers can easily load their cards with funds in a matter of minutes, track their expenditure and monitor access to their funds, giving organisations like NSSW, complete control over their finances. Annie Winsland, Central Team Leader at NSSW expressed her gratitude for B4B Payment’s prepaid cards: “The whole process has been simple and straightforward. Nothing is too much trouble for B4B staff and their swift response to any matter that may arise and the ability to tailor cards to suit our needs is a definite win for us.”

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Case studies Expense Management Insights Non Profit Uncategorised

Church Service: Finding solutions with B4B Payments

Connect Church took control of spending and increased the effectiveness of their multiple programmes by using prepaid business cards from B4B Payments.

Connect Church was founded 80 years ago in Birmingham and has grown to become a vibrant church for the modern age. It is multigenerational and multinational drawing people from across the city, and around the world, through its online services on Facebook and YouTube. It is run by a small staff who work hard to coordinate the work of more than 100 volunteers.

Until recently, the work of the church was facilitated using petty cash, or by people paying from their own pockets and claiming reimbursement. These methods were difficult to administer across so many activities and volunteers. Paperwork was not always submitted correctly, and the system was continually at risk. When staff made online purchases from their own pockets, there was often unavoidable delays before the money was reimbursed, which affected their family budget. Vital activities and services were delayed or adversely affected as a result. Connect Church needed a corporate expense management system that would work for them.

Finding payments solution that worked

As a way of facilitating the online payments, Connect Church first considered debit and credit cards, linked to the church’s main account. However, they quickly recognised that this would still be difficult to administer as well as being a security risk.

Using corporate expense cards through B4B payments turned out to be the ideal solution.

Now, funds are loaded onto the cards by the administrator, according to an approved budget. The process is simple, and fast so that even emergency payments can be quickly handled 24/7 and the cards can be topped up as needed.

Users can then make purchases anywhere that accepts MasterCard® payments, in-store, or online. Receipts are uploaded online, so keeping track is secure and straightforward. Because the administrator can view all transactions in real-time on the secure B4B interface, users are not able to make large purchases or be tempted by a large credit balance.

Set up was simple, and support was available at every stage. The church staff found that working with the B4B team was a pleasure throughout the process.

“From day one, our interactions with the B4B team have been warm and helpful. They have always been quick to respond to our enquiries for support, and even though we are a relatively small concern, we have always been treated well as their clients.”

– Tracee McAtear, Executive Pastor

The proof is in the pudding

The church immediately saw an increase in the number of services and programmes they were able to offer. The staff and volunteers no longer held back by slow, cumbersome claim processes could focus on running the activities of the church. Staff and key volunteers felt empowered to make their activities happen without delay and without the risk of being personally out of pocket. The church, which is also a registered charity, is run by trustees who can now rest assured that funds are responsibly utilised and accounted for according to fiduciary regulations.

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Case studies Insights Payroll & Payouts Uncategorised

Alpha Contract Solutions simplify and streamline payouts to their temporary and unbanked workers

Alpha Contract Solutions is a dynamic HR company, supplying civil engineering consultants and contractors to prestigious projects across Europe. They needed a smart, flexible and secure payment system to manage their payroll of UK contractors, many of whom are working on temporary projects in other countries, without local bank accounts. The innovative and award-winning prepaid Mastercard solution from B4B Payments turned out to be a great fit for their business.

The next level in employee satisfaction

Prior to turning to B4B Payments, ACS used the legacy banking system of international transfers across borders, but found that the process was difficult and time-consuming for both management and the contractors out in the field.

Managing director Sefton Hanley said: “The service we received from banks was slow and expensive with payments sometimes taking days. We need to look after our people, and delays like that are unacceptable.”

With prepaid cards, the process is fast and easy. ACS contractors are issued with an ACS branded card, which can be loaded with funds quickly and securely. There is no requirement from the employee to fill in any paperwork and recipients receive an SMS notification once the payment has been made. They can then use the card to pay for goods and services anywhere a Mastercard® payment is accepted, online or in-store. The funds are immediately available, and the card can be used worldwide 24/7.

Secure, efficient and fraud-proof

The B4B Payment system eliminates the complicated accounting processes involved when handling cash and expense forms. ACS management found the process, with its clear audit trail, an ideal way to streamline their payroll system. If a card is lost, it can be easily replaced, with no risk to the business. The card is sent directly to the employee and usually arrives within 24 hours. If there is an emergency, top-up funds can be loaded onto the card quickly and securely and the system is fully controllable. Incentives, expense costs and rewards are also all easily incorporated and managed.

Outstanding service and support

The management of ACS is dedicated to being hands-on and detail-oriented, with a commitment to supporting complex projects that operate around the clock, in multiple time-zones. This means that they require very high standards of support from all of their suppliers. They found the team at B4B Payments more than equal to the task. From initial meetings to the system going live, the process was smooth and effective.

“The service we’ve received from the team is great – the whole thing has worked well right from day one,” added Sefton Hanley.

For ACS, partnering with B4B Payments has clearly proved to be a winning strategy in managing their payroll efficiently and cost-effectively, with maximum benefit and satisfaction to their employees.

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Case studies Expense Management Incentives & Perks Insights Uncategorised

B4B Payments partners with UK full-service channel agency, Outbound for prepaid solution.

Recognising the need for efficient, secure, and cost-effective incentives and rewards programmes to deliver to their clients – as well as better way to manage company expenditure, Outbound turned to B4B Payments for a solution which ticked all the boxes.

Outbound is a full-service channel agency, specialising in Sales, Marketing and Management. They help vendors deliver maximum influence, using their long-standing expertise in the IT sector. Their clients include major brands such as HP and Lexmark, with dedicated teams to deliver channel engagement strategies, channel marketing, partner management, demand generation and programme administration with proven results.

B4B Payments partners with many of the UK’s foremost marketing agencies to provide prepaid payment solutions to their clients; encompassing corporate expense management and employee rewards. In a fast-paced world where rewards are needed quickly but must comply with all applicable financial services legislations, we work with agencies to understand their brief and select the best solution.

A complete solution

Outbound, like many organisations, previously used gift vouchers for company reward schemes resulting in an unwanted variation of gift based on country. Needing a solution which allowed them to standardise perks, so that individuals within countries didn’t feel they were getting a better or worse deal and wary of sending out gift vouchers in the post, as there was the chance that they could get lost was a major priority. At the same time, Outbound were using personal and company credit cards for trips and expenditure, so being able to combine a cashless solution which fits both needs meant that the B4B solution was the best option.

Claire King, Programme Manager at Outbound, explained that the solution had added value on a number of fronts. She said: “We have used B4B Payments across many projects with different clients – for example HP or Lexmark. The ability to create personalised cards is a useful way of creating brand awareness for the client. The B4B system is easy to use and send rewards and expenses to clients.”

Outbound chose B4B Payments to provide a solution that offered more choice. By providing personalised, prepaid cards which covered both incentives and expenses in one, made it much easier to provide a standardised reward, more control over company expenses, and saved time in accounting.

A great advantage for Outbound was the ability to send B4B cards with zero value, and then top them up with funds when the recipient confirms safe receipt, giving them peace of mind about funds going astray.

The result was a robust solution which allowed Outbound to deliver more value for their clients, offering them the ability to add personalised branding to the cards, enhanced security features, and full use of the B4B Payments platform, making their switch from gift vouchers, and personal payments to B4B prepaid cards all the more rewarding.

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Case studies Education Insights Payroll & Payouts Travel

Education First chooses B4B for simplified travel payment process.

Education First, (EF) is a world leader in educational travel and has been opening up the world through education for over 50 years. Founded in 1965, the team continues to inspire young people through immersive cultural experiences, helping teachers and students to study abroad, explore historical sites and access academic degree programs. With 612 offices and 52,000 employees, EF offers experiences in 114 countries across Europe, Asia and North and South America.

As a group tour operator offering immersive learning experiences, EF needs to be able to quickly and easily send funds from its headquarters in Zurich to tour directors out in the field. These tour directors are at the heart of the cultural experience, expertly guiding groups around exciting destinations and local landmarks. Easy access to a payment solution is vital.

EF and B4B Payments have worked together since 2017 to provide an efficient but flexible solution to ensure funds are easily sent around the globe to the right tour director at the right time.

Prepaid expense cards mean less admin and more time; Time to do the things that matter most.

As a result of our partnership, EF is making use of our round-the-clock corporate expense management system across the world, from London and Lima to Tokyo and Krakow, ensuring greater efficiency throughout the entire company.

“We worked with B4B Payments to install a payments solution that is efficient for the central back-office as well as our global tour needs. We’re very happy with the B4B product and the service we’ve received from the team in London. Not only the initial product we procured in 2017 but also the incremental services they have brought to us based on our changing needs and feedback. B4B understands that we’re not a static business and is happy to grow with us as we move forward.”

Steve Clark, Education First Finance Director

EF uses B4B corporate expense cards to distribute funds to its tour directors all over the world. Our prepaid expense cards are simple to use, which allows tour directors to easily cover on-the-road expenses freeing them up to focus on their number one priority, the travellers.

Mitigating risk and a clear audit trail of funds was a primary goal of EF’s brief to B4B when the programme was set up. It was just as important that the back-office users could find the system easy to use and reduce admin tasks along with the associated stress and pressure these bring. EF uses the B4B’s system ability to bring ‘four-eyes’ onto financial transactions, set differing authorisation and budget levels depending on the tour. Overall, these benefits lead to greater efficiency and optimal performance as our premier expense management platform cuts business costs and excels at a global level.

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How to maintain customer service in challenging times

Due to the unprecedented situation of COVID-19, many businesses are struggling to maintain their customer service standards while complying with social distancing rules.

B4B Payments, who offer businesses smart, flexible payment solutions, were one step ahead of the cashless trend and recently shared their insights into maintaining customer service whilst co-hosting an online panel with PIF (Prepaid International Forum.)

During the first few weeks of the UK lockdown, demand for customer service surged as the UK public were unsure how nationwide restrictions would affect their day to day lives. Essential businesses who were still able to open, struggled with the demand for digital payments, as the government advised to limit the exchange of cash where possible. B4B Payments have been providing their services to help businesses with outdated payment systems to be able to offer digitised payment options. CEO of B4B Payments, Paul Swinton said, “We have always digitally engaged with our customers, and now with less time spent on commuting we have more capacity to identify opportunities where we can help customers.”

B4B Payments were able to effortlessly transition to working under the government’s new guidelines as they had created a COVID-19 crisis plan when news of the virus first hit UK headlines. The team were forced to put this plan into effect early when Paul learned one of his team had been exposed to the virus.

Early adaptation for remote working ensured his team were ready and prepared to quickly adapt to working from home. For example, each team member had access to well-configured technology to ensure they could work from home safely and productively. Technology the business is currently using includes Slack, VOIP telephony and signal encrypted chat software.

When the government announced working from home was essential, B4B Payments were able to confidently assure their customers they were offering business as usual. On the priorities of the company Paul said “Most importantly, robust steps had been taken to control the potential spread of the virus and to protect our valued staff members and their families. Our second priority that day was to underpin services offered to clients.”

In fact, the B4B Payments team were so efficient at transitioning to remote working, Paul has raised the question of how easily and willingly workers will transition back to the office environment. He explains, “We were concerned that some people would find it uncomfortable, but we are seeing quite the opposite…We need to be very aware of this because the crisis could trigger a shift towards more home working. Businesses will need to think carefully about this and develop interim plans.” Employees may be reluctant to return to a workplace due to fears of public transport and because they have enjoyed the flexibility that comes with remote working.

As a company who offers financial solutions to businesses, B4B Payments are no strangers to dealing with sensitive information about payouts and anxious clients. During this time, the demand for charities to deliver prepaid card solutions to those in need has skyrocketed and B4B Payments are working tirelessly to ensure these payments can be made. Paul ensured every member of the B4B customer service team had refresher customer service courses to ensure they could help vulnerable, scared customers during this unprecedented time. He explained why these refresh courses were essential to his business as “With these rapid digitisation projects come many thousands of potentially very vulnerable cardholders who may need technical and other help from our customer support team.”

Of course, with COVID-19, businesses who were well prepared for the pandemic are not just scrambling to provide adequate customer service, they are quickly adapting to the new measures to enhance how they operate as a business. B4B payments, for example, are finding faster and efficient ways to adopt a pragmatic response to emerging client queries. As businesses are more readily available to discuss their specific needs during a pandemic, B4B Payments have found they are able to quickly spot ways they may be able to help a business.

So, how have B4B Payments managed to maintain their customer service standards during the pandemic? The answer lies in the early adoption of fintech. Paul explains “We all agree that it hasn’t been a massive change for us, but that’s because we sit in this highly innovative fintech space.” The pandemic may encourage more businesses to adopt cashless solutions in the future so they can stay ahead of the curve, rather than waiting for them to be enforced.

If you’re interested in hearing more about how B4B Payments have navigated customer service during the pandemic, watch the full digital panel here.
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Case studies Expense Management Insights Non Profit Uncategorised

B4B corporate expense cards are the answer for leading charity, London Youth

This top charity finds that B4B’s prepaid business card platform is the perfect support for the running of its many programmes.

Paying expenses through petty cash was a time-consuming headache for UK charity London Youth. Switching to corporate expense management through B4B Payments was a fantastic solution for this busy organisation.

Important work

London Youth is a charity whose purpose is to improve the lives of young people in our nation’s capital. Last year, working through a multitude of different youth organisations, they supported more than 27 000 young people, giving new hope and opening up opportunities to grow and thrive. The project management challenges and the administrative load of this vital work can be overwhelming. So when the organisation found there was a better way to handle expense payments, they were immediately interested. B4B Payments’ corporate expense cards helped London Youth in three main ways:

Quick and convenient

Because the cards are preloaded with funds, the administrators can easily control and account for the amounts allocated, and the users do not have to use their own cash or juggle receipts and expense claims. Users can pay for goods and services, online or store-based, that accept Mastercard® payments. Shazia Mert, Programmes Support Officer for London Youth said,

“Paying funds by petty cash meant there were more likely errors in calculation, and we were unable to provide funds in advance when needed.”

With the new system, there is positive buy-in from users, and participation in events and programmes by members of the charity’s Youth Board is now fully supported.

Security is key

The cards can be loaded with any amounts from 300 to 4,000 euros a month. Cardholders can check balances online using a PIN and topping up funds in an emergency is fast and straightforward. Lost cards are not a problem, with replacement cards issued within 24 hours. For London Youth, a further benefit was reducing the risk of losing money through uncontrolled spending, errors, or potential fraud. Furthermore, the system ensured policy and regulatory compliance – a critical factor in the management and accounting practices of any charity.

Great customer support

“Right from the start, the B4B team has been clear and helpful and friendly. Having one account manager who I can go to is so helpful. Having had the opportunity to build a rapport with my account manager, I know I can always trust her to deal with any problems or questions I may have. She already knows how my organisation uses the account, and so she can advise me accordingly.”

Shazia Mert, Programmes Support Officer for London Youth