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Lithuania’s new B4B legislative changes: Why prepaid cards are the future

In April 2021, the Seimas approved draft amendments to Lithuania’s Labour Code, which will forever change the way Lithuanians will be paid by their employers. As of 1 January 2022, employers will no longer be allowed to pay their employees with cash, but via payment transfer to a digital account. Ideally, this will prevent unauthorised payments from being made in a ‘shadow industry’ and move Lithuania towards a cashless society.

An ideal solution moving forward would be for employers to take advantage of B4B’s prepaid payment cards for their payroll needs.

“This is a pivotal point for many organisations in Lithuania, and we believe our solution will be very helpful for transport and construction companies and accounting agencies providing payroll solutions”

Vladimiras Kolesovas- General Manager, B4B Payments Europe

Prepaid B4B Payment Cards

B4B Payments provides a pragmatic approach to payment processing solutions, which can enable any size organisation to simplify their payroll and reimbursements and manage their expenses while at the same time offer an employee incentives and rewards program. When you choose B4B to handle your payroll affairs, you can streamline your entire payroll arrangement by distributing employee compensation through a prepaid mastercard®.

B4B has created an adaptable prepaid card solution that will save your organisation money on fees and costs associated with the traditional payroll processes. These cards can be used for a variety of currencies: GBP, EUR, or USD. Our ground-breaking approach is especially useful for businesses with short term or temporary staff, so that you, the business owner, can meet the ever-changing demands of your workforce and not be constrained by limited means.

“We really appreciate how easy the B4B system is to use. Our staff get paid on time with minimum fuss, straight onto a Mastercard®, and their funds are available to use immediately. We highly recommend B4B Payments to anyone who needs to efficiently pay seasonal or unbanked workers.”

Carmen Chicea, Head of Administration, HPS Services


By using prepaid cards for payroll, businesses can benefit from low running fees. Processing costs associated with conventional paper payment methods can be costly, so B4B has ensured that businesses are free from these costs by eliminating load fees from our prepaid cards.
You can choose to have the cards delivered to your office or have the cards delivered directly to the cardholders’ homes. You also have the option to bulk order cards so that you can issue them at the time of your choosing. You’re in complete control when using our secure online management platform.


A Successful Case

The dynamic HR firm, Alpha Contract Solutions, provides civil engineering consultants and contractors to prominent projects throughout Europe. They required an intuitive, adaptable and secure payment system to help manage their payroll of UK contractors, many of whom were working abroad on temporary projects in other countries without local bank accounts. The award-winning and innovative prepaid Mastercard solution from B4B Payments ended up being the perfect fit for their business.

Before signing up with B4B Payments, ACS used traditional banking systems of international transfers across borders, but soon found that the process was time-consuming and tricky for both management and contractors in situ.

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.”

Sefton Hanley, Managing Director of ACS

In ACS’s case, the process became simplified. ACS contractors were issued with a prepaid card specially branded with the company logo and specially chosen colour scheme. No requirements were put upon the employee to fill out any extra paperwork, and each employee received an SMS notification whenever a payment had been made. Funds were loaded quickly and securely without issue. Employees could then use the card to purchase services and goods at wherever they chose, as payment is accepted both online and in-store alike.

Another advantage of branded prepaid B4B card

You always want to seek out ways to gain exposure for your company, and prepaid payment cards from B4B are a great way to advertise your brand. As you have full control over the colours and logo, you can design an eye-catching prepaid Mastercard that will surely get noticed when one of your employees is making a purchase in the wider world. This is a wonderful way of getting your branding seen by a larger audience without putting in a great deal of effort.



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B4B Payments partners with NGOs in modern slavery response

Supplying prepaid Fintech solutions for NGO organisations

A critical issue for all of the NGOs who support victims of modern slavery is how to pay aid in a way that doesn’t put them at risk of being targeted as known carriers of cash. For the victims themselves, being unbanked creates problems with payments in their daily lives as well as with accessing government support systems.

What is modern day slavery?

Modern-day slavery is a critical global issue that is still commonplace in the United Kingdom. Since 2011, local NGOs have had to supply aid to more than 10,000 victims. In 2019, nearly half (46%) of potential victims who were referred to the support scheme were from London.

On a global level, it is estimated that 1 in 200 people are currently slaves. These people are the victims of a variety of exploitative practices and are often forced into work on factories and farms or coerced into the sex industry. Many also end up pushed onto getting involved in illegal pursuits such as smuggling drugs.

B4B Payment’s solution

B4B is a fast-growing Fintech company and an established presence in the prepaid card sector, currently helping NGOs to supply prepaid cards to modern slavery victims.
The launch of their improved process is one of many initiatives that NGOs and their partners have developed in collaboration with the Home Office to improve the way that charity aid is supplied to modern-day slavery victims. Prepaid cards, in particular, help NGOs to reduce the level of in-person contact needed during the current pandemic. These payments are provided under Government contracts and allow NGOs to provide essential payments to help victims begin their process of recovery.

Better inclusivity and safety for victims

By pairing up with B4B Payments, NGOs can now supply the people they help with a prepaid Mastercard® rather than a cash payment. This cashless solution enables staff to send the victim a one-off payment in full, without any worries that they will be targeted for carrying money. Card users are also empowered to make payments online, just like they could with a normal bank card. This means that they can access Government services or purchase things from home much more easily should they have a disability or be adhering to COVID-related social distancing precautions.

An NGO spokesperson said: “Bringing forward the roll-out of prepaid cards has been one of the key adaptations we’ve successfully introduced in recent weeks to help survivors of slavery as they not only begin to live independently but also supporting them to do this within Government guidelines, to protect them from infection.”

CEO of B4B Payments, Paul Swinton, said: “It has been hugely rewarding to provide our services to NGOs because they’re tackling some of the biggest social problems in the world today. Financial inclusion is an issue that cuts across so many different areas including modern slavery, domestic abuse, people trafficking, and homelessness, and we as a financial technology company must do our bit to innovate and help the less fortunate.”

A success story

By partnering with NGOs to create a cashless solution for the previously unbanked victims of modern-day slavery, B4B issued over 7700 prepaid cards across 13 organisations. This included a partnership with one of the largest and most well-known charities globally. Since initiation, over 140,000 transactions have been made using the cards and over £7.7 million in charitable funds have been processed through the new system.

In addition, the program took only two weeks to issue a victim with a prepaid card from the initial sign-up date. The positive impact on the lives of the victims can be seen in the increased safety of their payment methods and the improved convenience of online shopping and access to governmental systems. As previously unbanked people, they can now have the benefits of a card and the financial inclusivity it allows.

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Everything you want to know about… virtual prepaid cards

Online shopping has been on the rise for some time now, and the pandemic has only increased its popularity. Many consumers have now started to shop online for the first time, and safe digital payment methods are needed even more. One such innovation is prepaid virtual cards. In this blog post, we look in more detail at virtual cards and how they work.

What are virtual (digital) cards?

A virtual, or digital card is an online hosted, digital virtual representation of any plastic card. A digital card, unlike a plastic card, doesn’t require any physical representation. Like a traditional credit, debit, or prepaid card, a virtual card allows users to purchase services or goods online.

An advantage of using virtual cards for your business is that the cardholder can use their card immediately. No need to wait for a traditional card to be sent in the mail. As soon as the card is created and funds loaded, the user will receive an email with instructions on retrieving their new card details.

The benefits of virtual cards

Virtual cards have great applications for business with total versatility to be used for a wide range of purposes. They can be used for purchasing items online, offering incentives to staff and clients, managing expenses, the list goes on.

If your business makes a large number of online payments, for example paying for travel, using a prepaid virtual card is a fantastic way to make sure payments remain secure and expenses are within budget. B4B Payments offer prepaid virtual cards that make business payments simple. Virtual cards can be generated instantly via our online managerial platform – the cardholder can then use it immediately rather than needing to wait for a physical card to be sent through the post.

How does a virtual (digital) card work?

Your virtual prepaid Mastercard® or Visa® is a reloadable, online e-money card consisting of a standard card number, expiry date and CVV number, which you can retrieve at any time by choosing ‘Display Card Image’ from the B4B cardholder dashboard.

You can use your virtual card details to make purchases online or over the phone at millions of businesses and retailers anywhere in the world. You cannot use your virtual card details to make in-person payments in a shop.

Can virtual cards be used in my digital wallet?

Not yet. B4B Payments are currently working to provide clients and cardholders access to prepaid cards using digital wallet devices, such as GooglePay and ApplePay services.

Are virtual cards safe?

Yes. Just like a physical card, you must keep your virtual card details safe and secret. However, with a few clicks, cardholders can suspend their account.

If you’re a B4B cardholder, and have any questions, please contact our customer service team directly.

Virtual cards in the future

With online shopping increasing and the use of cash declining, it seems that the presence of prepaid virtual cards will only continue to grow. It’s easy to see why – the advantages of virtual cards both for online shopping and business payments lie in their security and accessibility.

If your organisation could benefit from increased security when you make payments online, B4B Payments can help with virtual cards for businesses. Our efficient system allows you to set up and close down cards quickly and easily, causing minimal disruption to your operations. For more information about our services please get in touch.

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It is time to move on from petty cash

The petty cash box used to be an essential part of an office environment. A shared box of money that can be used for employees to make payments for small company-related expenses; it sounds fine, right? Simple enough. Addresses a need. Wrong! Petty cash is an antiquated headache, and now is the perfect time to go cashless, by exchanging your petty cash box for a smarter way to make payouts.

Why is petty cash so problematic?

Petty cash has significant security risks

So why move on from a physical petty cash box? There are many reasons, but the most pressing is the security risks associated with it. It is all too easy for a thief to take money from the petty cash box, or steal the box itself. Depending on how much money you keep there, it could be quite a blow to your ability to provide employee incentives such as that Friday team breakfast paid for from the petty cash box.

It’s hard to keep track of petty cash

Another reason to trade in the old petty cash box is that it is very difficult to keep an accurate record of the incoming and outgoing cash, and what each withdrawal is for. Keeping on top of this requires a high level of detail, but is often nobody’s official “job”, which results in wasted employee time and often inaccurate accounts.

Okay, petty cash is dead. What’s the alternative?

There is a way to move on from the petty cash box seamlessly, while still providing employees with a way to use company money for those small expenses. A prepaid virtual card is a perfect way to create an easily traceable and audible “petty cash” account that is entirely based on a digital card.

Why are virtual (digital) cards better?

A prepaid digital card is a far more secure way to provide employee incentives. Since the money is all loaded onto a card, it is not easy pickings for thieves; it is both harder to steal and easier to keep safe. It can simply be kept in a secure place by a team leader, or in a locked drawer, but it is not as bulky and visible as a traditional petty cash box.

Your card will allow you to load money on quickly and easily so that you can provide employees with the convenience that they want without having to count every penny when they pay for a working lunch.

Ready to move on and ditch the petty cash box of yesterday? Replace it with prepaid cards for your business payments and enjoy headache-free accounting, improved security, and simplified payments.

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Why clinical research organisations are key to recruiting trial patients

Developing new drugs costs billions of pounds in research and development. Around half of the total cost is spent on clinical trials; they are essential in bringing any new drug to market. Recruiting trial patients and retaining them for the duration of any clinical trial presents a significant challenge for pharmaceutical businesses and creates a critical bottleneck in drug development.

The initial challenge is finding enough patients to generate the high-quality data that regulators require to give a new drug approval, and doctors want to see before they start writing prescriptions. The next challenge is ensuring that enough patients see the trial through to the end.

A growing number of pharmaceutical companies are turning to clinical research organisations (CROs) to help them overcome these barriers and manage the clinical trial process.

Contract research organisations

Contract research organisations (CRO) have benefited greatly from the pressures facing the pharmaceutical industry today. In particular, pharmaceutical companies need to maintain a steady flow of new blockbuster drugs as their existing products become available as generics. While the CRO industry’s growth rate has noticeably slowed since the mid-90s, it retains a growth rate that any other business in the pharmaceutical industry would be envious of.

As the largest pharmaceutical market globally, the US accounts for most of the global CRO market. The US CRO market is worth around $4.2 billion, compared to Europe’s $2.6 billion. However, the growth rate in the European market has outstripped that of the US for some time. Most analysts agree that this growth rate is attributable to Eastern Europe, which is an attractive investment target for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Clinical research organisations

Competition in the European clinical research market has continued to increase in tandem with the growth rate. As competition heats up, CROs are increasingly looking for ways to expand their services and entry into new markets.

But while many of them have operated commercial services in developing regions, their experience doesn’t necessarily extend to actively participating in running clinical trials. As a result, there are significant benefits to partnering with CROs who have international and regional experience.

Going global

CROs that operate internationally rapidly gain experience with different regulatory frameworks and types of products. This experience is invaluable to pharmaceutical companies. By partnering with international CROs that can operate in multiple regions, pharma businesses can streamline their clinical trial processes. As these CROs grow and gain experience, their value increases, as does the range of benefits they offer to their partners.

Incentivising patients

Businesses like B4B have an important role to play in helping pharmaceutical businesses to streamline their spending and offer rewards and incentives to trial patients when operating internationally. Trial patients need incentivising to sign up for clinical trials and see them through until the end. B4B supplies prepaid cards that businesses can use to distribute funds and cover their expenses. The easier it is for drug companies to get money to trial patients and other businesses, the smoother their clinical trial processes will be.

Pharmaceutical businesses need to work with a range of other businesses and organisations to keep their clinical trials running smoothly. CROs are already playing a vital role in trial patient recruitment and retention; they are likely to become even more important in the future.


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Science tech start-ups boosted by EU investment

42 start-ups involved in the science and technology industries are set to receive a welcome investment boost from the EU’s European Innovation Council (EIC) as part of a drive to boost Europe’s international standing in these fields.

The EIC will be investing a hefty €178 million in total, taking stakes of 10% – 25% for each company. This is significant news for anyone with knowledge of the EU’s role in funding ground-breaking science and innovation. Traditionally, the union’s funding bodies such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments have limited their offerings to loans, grants or guarantees rather than direct investments. In other words, they have taken a backseat in deciding how allocated funding is actually invested.
The recent decision to switch to equity investments is borne of the fact that Europe has failed to translate its pioneering scientific endeavours into commercial accomplishments in recent years. Faced with a tough economic environment, start-up companies have been finding it difficult to secure the venture capital needed to grow and thrive.
It is anticipated that the EIC’s direct investments will change this stagnant commercial environment, helping to attract investment and mitigate the risks that inhere within any new business venture.
2021 is a big year for the EIC as Horizon Europe – its billion-euro research programme – gets up and running. As part of the programme, the organisation expects to make more direct investments in promising science and technology firms through to 2027.

How start-ups can secure funding

Start-ups can apply for a simple grant or a blended option of support, grant and equity. It should be noted, however, that while the pool of money available for budding start-ups is generous, the selection process is set to be very competitive.
The first step involves making an initial application to the EIC, who will go on to identify the most promising start-ups from the funding round. CEOs who make it past this initial step will then be invited to an interview panel of six experts in the fields of technology, law and investment.
The panel will pass their recommendations over to the EIC regarding which start-ups are worthy of funding and another panel – this time made up of investment experts – will recommend how much money each of the selected businesses deserve. The EIC will then confirm their decisions based on the advice of experts.
If you’re heading a start-up and are looking to take advantage of the EU’s new investment drive, you should note that the grant process is set to change as Horizon Europe gets up and running. The precise nature of the changes is still being negotiated, but rest assured that the future for promising new scientific ventures is looking bright.

Hit the ground running with B4B Payments

Are you a finance manager involved in a science-based industry such as pharmaceuticals or biotech? Perhaps you’re a start-up looking for ways to streamline your financial transactions with a partnering organisation? Look no further than B4B Payments. We offer companies smart financial solutions for organising payroll, payouts, reimbursements, incentives and more, giving them the tools needed to thrive and grow.

Read more articles on biotech, pharma, and clinical trials.

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The Pros (and cons) of being a cashless organisation.

It’s not uncommon for businesses to question whether they should adopt a cashless policy or not. Recent global events, such as the coronavirus pandemic, have led to an increase in credit and debit card payments. Digital wallet services like Apple Pay are also experiencing exponential growth, as increasing numbers of consumers and vendors embrace cashless payments.

However, in some industries – particularly in business-to-business environments such as wholesalers or supply merchants – cash is still commonplace. This article covers the pros and cons of switching to a cashless payments model and is designed to help you to determine whether going cashless is the right solution for you.

The pros of adapting a cashless policy

Save time – and money!

While businesses are expected to pay fees on credit card transactions, it’s worth noting that processing cash sales can take much longer. Ultimately, the time spent processing physical cash transactions could be better spent elsewhere. With cashless transactions, you’ll spend less time making trips to the bank, counting cash at the end of the day, and entering cash transactions into your accounting software.

Increased efficiency

A simple tap or swipe of a prepaid business card, credit card, debit card or mobile phone is much more efficient than giving out petty cash. If your business frequently experiences last minute or on-the-spot purchase needs, you may find that a cash-free solution helps to alleviate backlog in accounting.

Easier accounting and money management

If you’re frequently spending time poring over transactions while trying to determine why your expenses aren’t tallying correctly, it’s time to think about going cashless. With a cashless solution from B4B Payments, each transaction is tracked and receipt uploads are a breeze with the mobile app. This makes accounting more accurate and increases efficiency in the workplace.

Reduced risk

If your business keeps cash on the premises, you’ll always be vulnerable to theft. By switching to a cashless policy, you’ll improve the physical security of your staff and customers. Cashless transactions are also more hygienic – and your team and vendors will value this in a post-pandemic world.

Enhanced expense management

Going cashless isn’t all about finances coming in – it concerns your outgoings, too. Whether you’re purchasing from suppliers or covering the corporate expenses of field agents and reps, your expenses are easily tracked and managed when you go cashless.

Access valuable data

Cashless transactions generate a multitude of valuable consumer information. This data allows you to analyse the purchasing trends and spending habits of your card recipients and employees, which can be used to improve your financial strategy.

Cons of adopting a cashless policy

Increased card fees

One of the biggest bugbears for small-medium enterprises is the dreaded card transaction fee. To combat this, some companies factor card fees into their pricing structure, which could mean having to slightly increase the amount you charge your customers for your products.

*Pro tip- Read the fine print. Many prepaid card programmes offer cheaper rates from the outset, with hidden fees or margins on FX rates for transactions. Ω`

Some people prefer cash

For some organisations depending on who you’re distributing your cards to, cash is still king. In particular, older recipients of funds, are more accustomed to paying with cash and could feel alienated by your decision to adopt a totally cashless policy.

Is going cashless right for your business?

There are a lot of variables to consider before going cashless. Businesses in certain industries might benefit from going completely cashless, while others might still want to hold out before no longer utilising cash payments.

Whether you’re ready to take the plunge or not, having a cashless payment solution can certainly increase efficiency, provide you with better understanding of where your money is going, and streamline your accounting process. If you’d like more information, why not contact us to find out how B4B Payments could transform your fund disbursement today?

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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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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 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.