BaaS Company News Newsroom

Bank to the Future: Why banking is in flux?


Historically, banks have successfully monopolised the financial services market. They enjoyed a position as an absolute necessity for both consumers and businesses. However, in an increasingly digital world with new rules and regulations, traditional banking models have been disrupted. 

Fintechs have emerged in abundance in the last decade. They are offering innovative services and great user experiences that can adapt quickly to the constantly evolving demands of businesses and consumers.  

With so many new players entering the financial stage, competition is fierce. Traditional banks have been forced to adapt and invest in digital transformation to remain in the game. They are striving to adjust and innovate so they remain relevant in a new commercial landscape being driven by fintech innovation. Traditional banks are in a state of flux.

In this blog, we uncover what led the banks to this point and the development of new fintech business models that now allow licensed banks to integrate their banking services into businesses.  

Two sides of the banking story 

The modern definition of a bank has been subject to many changes over hundreds of years and varies depending on the region. The primary responsibility of central financial institutions is dealing with commercial and public monetary issues such as deposits, loans, and investments on a flow-by-flow basis between internal and external markets.

The need for comparing the two sides of the story is crucial for understanding why banking is in flux and their future position within the financial sector and wider cultural society. 

Origins of traditional banks

The first private and communal money service dates as far back as 1,800 BC in Babylon. Ancient merchants would deposit money and imported goods within temples. 

Traditional banking was first evidenced within the Greek and Roman Empires, where private individuals and businesses would invest and lend money. The upper class of the Roman Empire chose to manage their money through pious officials, who established lending with interest and kept track of finances with written records. 

Conventional banking practices were established in the fourteenth century in Venice, Florence and Genoa. The Venetian Republic created the first official central financial institution in 1587, driven by the need to fund ongoing war efforts. They forced a loan, creating the first official central financial institution. As a result, banking developed out of necessity as an efficient way to pay for war expenses, as well as goods and services worldwide.

Fractional reserve banking and the issuance of banknotes emerged in the 17th century through central banks and national financial institutions. This can be seen as the point where banks established themselves in a central and unique position in the economy. Their role was to maintain the stability of currency (attempting to curb inflation) and stabilise the general economy by offsetting shocks.

Massive rewards of the traditional banking market

Many years later, the banks had established themselves as an immovable force in the world’s economic, political, and even social affairs.  

The banks also enjoyed a virtually impenetrable commercial landscape. New competitors were effectively kept out of the market. This was due to stringent requirements, such as high collateral demands and tough approval processes.  

These high barriers to market entry meant incumbent banks had no real competition. Customers needed to visit a local branch where all the bank’s financial services could be purchased (after much paperwork) in a self-contained financial ecosystem. Banks, therefore, didn’t see the need to invest in advancing their services to retain and grow their customer base, as would be expected in other industries.

This lack of choice resulted in customer ‘loyalty’ and low attrition for years. Ultimately, the lifetime customer relationships and strong brand awareness resulted in the banks reaping huge profits for decades.

Origins of fintechs 

Fortunately, this lack of competition in the financial services sector did not go unnoticed.

New regulations implemented by the European Union were introduced with the explicit purpose of stimulating fresh competition and innovation in the financial services market. 

This came at a time when social, political, and demographic influences converged with new technology. Smartphones, apps, high-speed internet, and cloud computing made it possible to offer financial services online and through apps. 

This paved the way for the birth of fintech with its brand-new technology and a focus on great user experience to fill the huge gap left by the banks. 

The economic crisis of 2007-08 created a climate of distrust in traditional financial institutions. This also helped pave the way for fintech alternatives with a more transparent attitude and customer-centric approach. 

A wake-up call for legacy banks

The growth of the fintech industry was a major challenge to the financial services sector and sent the long-established banks into a state of flux. 

They could see how customers were migrating away from high street services to apps on their smartphones. The number of bank branch closures mirrored this shift, with 14,689 branches in 1986 to just over 8,000 by 2022. 

The first target of the new fintechs was the foreign exchange and currency conversion services of the banks. Fintechs such as Transfer Wise (now Wise) were launched to specifically target this market, which had been overcharged and underserved for years. 

The banks could see how their service model could be unpicked by the fintechs.  

Breaking banks – the outcome

Some incumbent banks started spending billions on digitising their existing business models to try and keep pace with the fintechs. They hoped this would help maintain their market share and demonstrate an ability to innovate. Many banks are still struggling with this process ten years later.

Other incumbents tried to replicate the fintech approach of breaking their service down into component parts and developing their own technology that could be offered as a Banking as a Service (Baas) solution. Some banks chose to partner directly with fintechs to develop this technology. Essentially, it is a new fintech front end that is still reliant on legacy bank processes and policies.

Other fintechs decided to invest in their own banking licence. That way, they could cut out the legacy banks completely. They would have the latest BaaS technology without having to rely on the slow processes and approval policies of the legacy banks to underpin their solution.

The Future with BaaS (Banking as a Service)

Banking as a Service (BaaS) enables non-financial businesses such as retailers and telecom companies to ‘subscribe’ to the financial services they want to offer their own clients. Those businesses now don’t need licences or regulatory compliance to offer financial services that were previously only available via banks. 

The new reality for banks

Some banks are struggling to find their way in the new competitive environment. They are seeing some big names adopt the BaaS model.

Amazon, Apple, Samsung and Ikea are using BaaS to improve conversion rates and add new revenue streams. Alipay uses BaaS to offer a range of financial services, including savings accounts, insurance, and investment products to its customers. 

Among those fintechs that invested in their own banking licence were Monzo, Starling and Atom, who set themselves up to compete directly with legacy banks. B4B Payments was one of those who have been awarded a banking licence for their BaaS solution. 

What’s next for banks?

The banks have had change forced on them. Legacy technology is a big part of the problem, but they also have policies and procedures that are slow and outdated compared to today’s fintechs. Some banks are still wrestling with digital transformation projects, while others are partnering with fintechs. 

The trend towards payment and service convenience is clear and irreversible. Banks once enjoyed a situation where their customers had to visit their branches where all their services were available to purchase in one place. Through regulatory changes, new technology and fintech challenges, this benefit can now be enjoyed by non-financial service companies who want to build customer loyalty and increase profitability through BaaS. 

Banks need to adjust to a future where they don’t hold all the cards.

BaaS Company News Newsroom

5 Benefits of Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) for Fintechs

Picture this: a small fintech startup fuelled by bright ideas but weighed down by the mammoth task of building a banking infrastructure from scratch. The clock is ticking, competitors are surging ahead, and every day spent tangled in red tape feels like a missed opportunity.

Now, imagine a solution that sweeps these obstacles aside, laying down a golden pathway straight to the heart of the financial market. That solution is Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS), the game-changing strategy that’s turning fintechs from contenders into champions.

In this blog, we will explore how BaaS offers tangible solutions for high-level decision-makers and technical individuals within the fintech industry. We’ll highlight the five key benefits of BaaS, using some real-world examples to illuminate how BaaS is shaping the future of financial services.

1. Speed and Efficiency

The first benefit of BaaS we’ll consider is its ability to enhance operational speed and efficiency, which is vital for fintechs seeking a competitive edge. 

BaaS enables fintechs to leverage pre-existing banking infrastructure, speeding up their time to market. For decision-makers, this means a quicker return on investment and the ability to implement a more agile business strategy.

The integration of BaaS APIs into fintech platforms facilitates faster and more efficient development. APIs serve as the building blocks for digital services, eliminating the need for lower-level infrastructure development. 

As an illustration, let’s consider a use case with a Nordic fintech start-up wishing to become a fully licensed entity.

Typically, most small businesses in the Nordics opening a corporate bank account will face lengthy processes and high costs.

The start-up wished to simplify corporate payments for small businesses but had significant challenges due to the highly regulated environment. They were able to achieve their goal by collaborating with a trusted BaaS provider.

The BaaS provider gave the fintech start-up access to its embedded finance services and API integration. This linked the fintech’s financial platform with the BaaS provider’s banking services to offer DKK, SEK, EUR, USD, and GBP accounts. Through these accounts, the BaaS provider has payment services in both local rails and 25+ currencies through SWIFT and NACHA.

The BaaS provider helped the fintech find a speedy route to market. The fintech navigated the complexities of regulations and payment technologies, while ensuring compliance and ethical conduct.  

2. Scalability

Another major advantage of BaaS is scalability. 

Typically, fintechs looking to grow can face the daunting task of expanding their in-house banking infrastructure—this is a complex and costly process. BaaS simplifies this by providing access to scalable banking services that can adapt to a fintech’s growth trajectory.

From a technical standpoint, the modular nature of APIs facilitates scalability. APIs allow services to be expanded or reduced based on demand. As a fintech’s customer base grows, they can easily add more services or scale existing ones. Conversely, if they need to scale down, APIs can be deactivated with minimal disruption to the overall system.

Chime, a neobank that provides consumer banking services, leverages this feature of BaaS to extend its services and cater to its rapidly growing customer base, all without needing to make hefty investments in infrastructure.

3. Innovation and Product Development

Traditionally, a significant portion of a fintech’s resources would be consumed by the task of building and maintaining a banking infrastructure. BaaS changes this equation dramatically. It allows fintechs to delegate the complexities of infrastructure to a third-party provider, thereby freeing up internal resources.

For decision-makers, this strategic shift is transformative. It means that teams can pivot from being bogged down with compliance and infrastructure management to focusing on designing competitive, unique offerings that resonate with their target audience.

The API-centric nature of BaaS is a boon for product development teams. APIs are like the building blocks of the digital world; they enable fintechs to quickly assemble, test, and iterate on new products and features. This environment of rapid prototyping is essential in a sector where being first-to-market can confer a significant competitive advantage.

With BaaS, fintechs are not just innovating on their existing products—they are in a position to expand their product portfolio altogether. Whether it’s adding new payment options, launching investment products, or integrating wealth management services, BaaS provides the tools and services necessary for fintechs to diversify their offerings.

4. Cost Reduction

BaaS can have a significant impact on a fintech’s bottom line. 

Instead of investing heavily in building and maintaining in-house banking infrastructure, fintechs can leverage BaaS to access necessary banking services. 

Navigating the complex world of financial regulations can be a costly affair. Compliance requires dedicated personnel, continuous monitoring, and frequent updates to systems to align with changing regulations. 

BaaS providers, being specialists in the banking domain, manage these compliance aspects as part of their core services. For fintechs, this means that the burden—and cost—of regulatory compliance is significantly reduced. They can operate with the assurance that their BaaS partner is keeping them on the right side of the law, without the need to invest heavily in compliance teams and tools.

5. Enhanced Customer Experience

Improving the customer experience is a strategic priority for any fintech, and BaaS can play a pivotal role in achieving this. 

BaaS allows fintechs to integrate financial services seamlessly into their own platforms, creating intuitive and convenient services for their customers.

BaaS providers invest heavily in security protocols and compliance, and by partnering with them, fintechs can assure their customers that their data is in safe hands. This trust is fundamental to customer retention and is a significant aspect of the overall customer experience.

BaaS’s streamlined approach extends to operational efficiency, which has direct implications for customer satisfaction. By leveraging pre-built banking services, fintechs can execute transactions and process requests at a much faster rate. This means quicker loan approvals, instant account updates, and real-time payment processing – key factors that contribute to a positive customer experience.

Raisin UK offers its customers a savings marketplace without having to develop the underlying banking infrastructure. Instead, they leverage BaaS APIs to open accounts, collect deposits, and interact with other banks.


Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) offers powerful benefits to fintechs, driving speed, efficiency, scalability, innovation, cost reduction, and an enhanced customer experience. It empowers decision-makers to enact strategic business advantages and fosters a fertile environment for technical individuals to innovate. 

The integration of BaaS APIs provides an array of new possibilities in product development, operational efficiency, and customer engagement. 

BaaS is more than just a technical solution—it’s a strategic business model that helps fintechs to compete in the financial landscape. With the continued growth of the digital economy, the role of BaaS in the fintech industry is set to be a defining factor in shaping the future of finance.

Company News Incentives & Perks Newsroom

Rewarding Employees with Cash-Christmas

It might be too early to talk about Christmas, but it’s not too early to think about rewards and incentives for your employees.

Christmas is the perfect time to express your appreciation for your team’s hard work throughout the year. This festive season, B4B Payments offers a simple yet meaningful way to spread cheer among your employees – our prepaid gift cards

These cards provide your employees with the freedom to choose their own reward and are a testament to our 17 years of expertise in payments and our global recognition as a trusted provider of card issuing and embedded payment services, now as part of the Banking Circle group of companies.

The pain points of Christmas rewards

Selecting the perfect gift can often be a challenging and complex process. It’s a delicate balance of aligning the recipient’s preferences, interests, and needs with your budget constraints. You might also need to consider the uniqueness of the gift, its relevance to the recipient, and its potential longevity. Moreover, organisational considerations such as budget, ease of distribution, and the message the gift conveys must also be taken into account.

Even after putting careful thought into these factors, there’s no guarantee that the chosen gift will hit the mark. It could be the wrong size, colour, or simply not to the recipient’s taste. This uncertainty can turn the joyful act of giving into a stressful endeavour.

That’s where B4B Payments card services step in as the ultimate solution. They are universally appreciated because they offer the gift of choice. Using prepaid cards as a form of reward, the recipient has the freedom to select something that truly resonates with them, something they genuinely need or have been eyeing for a while. It’s an empowering gift that respects individual tastes and preferences. 

B4B Payments – offering unrivalled rewards and incentives

Let’s delve into some of the benefits of choosing B4B Payments for your corporate gifting this festive season:

1. Simplify management with our Cardholder app

Our user-friendly Cardholder app allows employees to manage their card balances and more easily. Plus, our dedicated support team is always on hand to assist with any queries.

2. Spend at millions of locations worldwide

Whether you’re rewarding a workforce that’s working from home, back in the office, or never stopped throughout lockdown, B4B Payments has got you covered. Our prepaid cards can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, including in their Google Pay or Apple Pay wallet!

3. Flexible, sustainable, and globally accepted

B4B Gift Cards offer the flexibility of being single-use or reloadable for incentives, payroll, payout, or expenses. They are made from 75% recycled plastic materials, offering a sustainable choice.

4. Expert team, advanced products, trusted global provider

Our expert team boasts a market-leading level of experience in setting up successful card programs, and we offer advanced end-to-end payment solutions to help you grow your business. As an FCA and Bank of Lithuania Authorised E-money institution, a Principal Member of Mastercard, and a partner provider to Mastercard Fintech Express Program, we are a trusted global provider of card issuing and payment services.

A gift from B4B Payments this Christmas

It’s not all about your employees this Christmas. There’s something for you, too. At B4B Payments, we’re offering FREE delivery on our cards to make your gift-giving that bit easier (and cheaper).

The minimum order value for our gift cards is £1,000, and this applies only to non-branded cards. The offer is limited to a single bulk order to a UK office address, with each card carrying a minimum load of £10. This special offer is available until October 31st, 2023.

Want to know more about rewards and incentives

Rewards and incentives can be offered all year round to improve employee retention. Take a look in more detail into how B4B payments use 17 years of experience in the payments industry to offer seamless rewards and incentives for businesses around the globe.

BIN Sponsorship Company News Newsroom

Maximising Efficiency for Regulated EMIs with Scheme Permissions

Firstly, congratulations on navigating the complex process of acquiring your Electronic Money Institution(EMI)-regulated status and scheme permissions. It is a significant achievement in the FinTech sector, where many startups in the $245 billion industry are still struggling to reach. But what’s next?

You may feel overwhelmed at the thought of transitioning from using a BIN Sponsor to managing your own scheme memberships. New settlement processes and increasing demands on your resources can seem like a daunting challenge. Embracing your new status requires strategic planning and partnership. You’re poised to redefine your customer experience, increase autonomy, and drive growth. Yet, you must also consider the operational complexities this transition entails. How do you maintain continuity of service during the switch? How do you deal with new compliance requirements? These are critical questions to answer.

B4B Payments’ BIN Sponsorship 2.0 can seamlessly address these challenges. Our service can facilitate this transition, providing comprehensive support, industry expertise, and innovative solutions to set you on the path to success. Let’s explore how we can help your FinTech venture thrive.

Benefits of an EMI with Scheme Permissions

Your new status as a regulated EMI with scheme permissions brings several benefits, including enhanced security, increased compliance, and bolstered customer trust. 

Let’s take a look at those benefits in a little more detail

1. Increased security and compliance

As a regulated EMI, you’re under the strict supervision of financial authorities, which necessitates adherence to high standards of security and compliance. This brings a host of benefits, particularly in terms of corporate payments. For instance, under the regulation of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) allows you to issue e-money and provide associated payment services, such as transfers and foreign currency payments.

Your new status also fortifies your defence against fraudulent activities and reduces the likelihood of compliance violations. Thereby, it fosters a safer and more trustworthy business environment. It’s like having a shield that protects your business while enhancing its reputation in the market.

Additionally, as a FinTech startup, you’re now in a position to extend partnerships as a regulated EMI. This means you can help other businesses benefit from your expertise in maintaining secure and compliant payment infrastructures, further solidifying your standing in the industry.

2. Enhanced customer confidence and trust

As an EMI-regulated FinTech with scheme permissions, you’re in a position to enhance customer confidence and trust. By partnering with major issuers such as Mastercard and Visa, you can issue your own unique card numbers to cardholders. Coupled with branded cards, this strategy can supercharge customer loyalty and attract new business.

At B4B Payments, for instance, we offer our customers the ability to send payments via various channels like SWIFT, Faster Payments, CHAPS, SEPA, and local clearing in the USA (ACH) and DKK to over 20 different countries. This wide range of services offers freedom for businesses dealing overseas, or looking to grow overseas, to ensure that their needs are met efficiently and effectively.

We also leverage state-of-the-art security measures to protect cardholder information and transactions, ensuring peace of mind for users. Furthermore, our dynamic business model allows for scalable solutions that can adapt to your evolving business needs. We also provide customised reporting and analytics, offering insights into spending patterns that could optimise business operations. With B4B, businesses can not only streamline their payment procedures but also transform them into strategic tools for growth and development.

Leveraging B4B Payments to Stay Efficient

Whether you’ve used B4B’ BIN Sponsorship 2.0 to reach this point in your journey or are looking for additional support, we have a range of services that can offer significant benefits.

As an entity authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and holding an EMI licence, B4B is well-positioned to offer further support with compliance, security, settlement, and platform integration.

Our compliance and security measures are enable to protect businesses and their employees’ data and funds. As a regulated EMI with scheme permissions, you can continue (or begin to) offload your safeguarding requirements to us. It frees up internal time to concentrate on scalability and business growth. With 17 years of industry experience, we ensure that customer funds are held separately from your company’s other funds, and that you’re covered by the appropriate insurance policies that meet industry standards.

Our platform is also designed with compliance in mind. It ensures all transactions comply with regulations such as Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML).

Furthermore, we offer a ‘Settlement Only’ package that allows you to leverage our issuing capabilities while you develop your own customer interface to manage client accounts.

B4B Payments – Your Partner in the Payments Journey

No matter where you are in your payments journey, B4B can help you strengthen your proposition. With our expertise and customer-centric services, we can optimise your operations and make the most of your new status as a regulated EMI with scheme permissions.

Explore more about B4B’s BIN Sponsorship 2.0 service, and our other payment services, including embedded cards, FX, and more. By partnering with us, you can maximise efficiency, ensure compliance, and bolster your business’ growth in the rapidly evolving FinTech landscape.

Company News Expense Management Newsroom

Out with the Old: A Better Way to Manage Ad Buying with Prepaid Cards

Advertising and marketing agencies can struggle to manage budgets and gain greater control over ad spending while working to meet the demands of multiple clients. 

The ad purchasing challenges agencies face commonly stem from the use of credit cards and legacy payment processes (e.g. bank wires). Using credit cards for managing ad campaigns creates the chance of overspending and predefined credit limits being hit unknowingly, resulting in the account being frozen and campaigns jeopardized. The same holds true should a credit card be reported for suspected fraud or as being lost or stolen. In such cases, the credit card account must be frozen, with few ways to resolve issues until a replacement card is presented. 

The risks are higher for agencies using a single, company-wide credit card to manage multiple client accounts. Some agencies have painfully learned that single credit card use opens the door to fraud and other issues due to the challenge of tracking various transactions on a single account. 

In any of these scenarios, an issue with a credit card can challenge payment obligations and affect an agency’s relationships. 

A Simple and More Efficient Approach to Account Management

In the digital age of doing business, more and more agencies are using virtual prepaid cards (accounts) to overcome long-standing issues tied to traditional payment methods. These advanced payment products offer a more flexible and effective way to manage accounts, simplify ad buys, improve transparency, remove tedious reconciliation processes, and present real-time reporting and payments.

Prepaid virtual accounts are just like debit or credit cards but are pre-funded account-based payment solutions that use a secured 16-digit number instead of a physical card. Virtual cards work just like traditional cards but without going through the process of ordering cards and waiting on the production and shipping of a physical card. 

Additionally, virtual card numbers can be programmed with custom parameters such as expiry dates, spending limits, and category information. Credit cards do not allow for the same level of customization or caps and require more time-consuming due diligence to ensure spending stays within budgeted amounts. 

Virtual prepaid accounts can be created instantaneously by the agency and used immediately. An agency can create as many virtual card accounts as they need for their business, and there is no connection with an agency’s business banking account. These self-funded solutions enable expense managers to easily decide the amount of funds allocated to each virtual card and make it easy to automate media buys and handle affiliate commissions and payables to vendors and suppliers.

Conveniently, virtual accounts can easily be reloaded in real-time at any point or set for automated, scheduled reloads. If needed, a virtual account can be frozen immediately, and a replacement account can be created instantly, giving agencies the ability to scale security to the maximum. 

Control At Your Fingertips

B4B Payments’ all-in-one, intuitive management platform gives agencies full control and the power to instantly create multiple virtual card accounts and allocate sums efficiently for different teams, campaigns, and accounts. Agencies gain a new level of transparency in tracking each account and payment made, alleviating issues associated with account reconciliation. 

The interfaces typically used for managing company credits are often clunky and do not seamlessly integrate with in-house accounting software. B4B Payments is a technology-first company, and we have designed an easy-to-use platform that flawlessly integrates into existing AR and accounting software.

Additionally, you may be interested in reading our Case Study to learn how B4B Payments partners with Imperious Media to streamline media buying and standardize reconciliation.

To find out how our solutions can help your company, contact us today!

Incentives & Perks Newsroom

How to incentivise remote employees with prepaid cards

Even as COVID restrictions are rolled back, the likelihood is that for many people, the future of the workplace is remote.

82% of employees who currently work from home want a hybrid approach in future, and increasing numbers of businesses are redesigning office spaces, or even shifting premises entirely, to adapt to a new normal where offices are collaborative spaces, not vast banks of workstations.

Outside of the physical implications of a hybrid or remote office working approach, there’s a HR challenge to be solved: if you’re not seeing your employees in person as often (or at all), how do you keep them engaged?

It goes without saying that good management, excellent communication and a strong employer brand are important no matter where your employees are based, and a lot of these things haven’t changed much in the wake of remote working. However, many of the tools that formed the basis of pre-pandemic employee wellbeing and engagement strategies – fridges full of snacks, office pool tables and in-person team building days – aren’t as effective when your team is spread across multiple locations and are rarely all in the same place at once.

Bringing in cake for a team member’s birthday just doesn’t have the same impact it once used to. So how do you help remote employees feel part of a team, and how do you keep them engaged from a distance?

Bring office treats to your employees wherever they are

A fridge full of drinks and snacks was a common site in pre-pandemic offices, and many companies found that going beyond the basic tea and coffee station was a great way of keeping their teams happy and engaged.

For remote workers, it’s harder – they’re responsible for buying their own tea bags, and while most wouldn’t complain (particularly if they no longer have to keep their oat milk under 24 hour surveillance), it’s difficult to find a direct replacement for such a simple office perk.

Prepaid cards can be a great way of treating your employees wherever they’re based – by loading a regular “tea kitty” budget onto a card for each team member, they can choose their favoured drinks and snacks on you. Go further by offering a monthly “staff lunch on us”, or whatever other perks you provide for office-based staff, safe in the knowledge that your cards can be limited to prevent funds being spent on inappropriate things like alcohol or gambling.

Put teams in control of their equipment

If your employees work remotely, you have a responsibility to ensure they have everything they need to do their job – from a comfortable desk and chair to the right computer equipment and accessories.

Kitting out an office is enough hassle, but arranging home deliveries of equipment for large teams can be an absolute nightmare. Not everybody’s working spaces are the same, and they might benefit from slightly different equipment to make their working days more productive and less stressful.

Instead of shipping out the same equipment to each employee’s address, or managing individual orders on behalf of every employee, consider giving them control over their own equipment. Giving them a technology budget on a virtual or physical prepaid card allows them to choose the equipment that’ll work best in their space, and ensure they’re happy and comfortable wherever they work. Best of all, it’s easy to set controls on a prepaid card to ensure they’re shopping with approved suppliers.

Send perfect gifts without the guesswork

Buying gifts for colleagues is a minefield – you can sit next to somebody for five years and still know next to nothing about their personal preferences. If you’re only seeing them a day per week or less, chances are you have no idea what to pick out for them, leading to disappointment or potentially even offence.

Even “universal” gift options like food and drink can fall flat if they don’t fit a team member’s dietary or religious preferences, not to mention the risk of selecting something based on what you know about their interests (or trying to guess their clothes size!).

Even vouchers can be difficult for remote employees – buying something that can only be used in a specific chain of shops or restaurants assumes they have one nearby, and even the broadest voucher schemes limit the recipient’s choices in a way that might make picking out a gift difficult.

Instead, consider a prepaid card – funds can be loaded onto a physical or virtual Mastercard that your employees can use in millions of locations online or in store. With no limitations, each member of your team can choose a gift that’s perfect for them, with no stress and next to no admin compared to wrapping and shipping physical presents.

Give amazing rewards and incentives

Incentivising your team members with the gift of choice means they can reward themselves with whatever is most important to them. A prepaid card makes it easy to reward your team members for meeting targets, completing training, referring in new clients, or just about any other achievement you can think of.

Your prepaid cards can be branded for the specific incentive you’re running, and employees can receive their rewards instantly to spend wherever they’d like.

For larger companies, partnering with specific retailers can also help land your employees a discount when they use their prepaid card in specific stores, giving them an extra bonus on top of the money they’ve received but if far less likely to be spent on mundane stuff, like groceries!

Make office processes a breeze

While we all love a good office perk, sometimes the most effective way of engaging your teams is by making their day-to-day lives easier. This means giving them the autonomy to control how they work, supported by well-designed, efficient processes where they’re needed.

If an employee’s job requires them to make purchases on behalf of the business, convoluted procurement processes can cause unnecessary stress and hassle and reduce the mental energy they have to focus on more important projects. Similarly, staff who incur expenses when they travel for work shouldn’t have to struggle with claiming back their funds before their credit card bill is due.

A prepaid card scheme can give your teams control over their own spending whilst ensuring that your finance team remains on top of overall company spending – cards can be activated or frozen, loaded or unloaded with the click of a button.

Departmental budgets can be loaded onto a pre-paid card, either virtual or physical, so teams can handle their own specialist software subscriptions or equipment purchases, with the ability to restrict them to only using approved suppliers if required.

For employees who need travel and subsistence expenses, pre-paid cards can be loaded to a predefined top-up limit automatically, so they’ve always got available funds for fuel, food and other necessities while they’re on the road. Better still, they can upload receipts instantly through a cardholder app, so keeping on top of reconciliation is a breeze.

Launch your own company card scheme with B4B Payments

Launching your own branded prepaid card scheme is easier than you think – B4B Payments offer everything you need to get started in weeks, with a powerful management platform, physical or virtual branded cards and a user-friendly cardholder app.

To find out more about how we can help, get in touch today.

Incentives & Perks Newsroom

How embedded finance can help drive business growth and bring benefits to your organisation

In recent years, embedded finance has been making waves in the business world, allowing organisations to offer their customers additional services, simplify transactions, and improve customer loyalty.

The new possibilities brought about by embedded finance even led Andreessen Horowitz’s Angela Strange to remark in 2019 that “every company will be a fintech”.

While that prediction may or may not come to pass, the emerging truth is that embedded finance in businesses of all sectors is providing opportunities for growth.

What is embedded finance?

Embedded finance is the integration of banking systems into non-banking organisations – for example, when a business offers ‘buy now pay later’ options on purchases, offers loans, or uses branded debit cards. The likelihood is that these businesses are not registered banks, as acquiring a banking license entails adherence to strict regulations and meeting significant capital requirements.

Instead, to offer these services to customers, businesses partner with a Banking-as-a-Service provider who lease their licensed online banking services to non-banking organisations.

This is all facilitated through the use of an API (application programming interface) which is essentially a type of code which allows a business’s system to speak more easily to a bank’s, allowing businesses to ‘plug in’ to a bank’s specific financial service and pick and choose which parts of the overall banking provision they want to opt into.

This means that when, for instance, a customer chooses to pay for a sofa on finance, it’s not the furniture company they’re borrowing from, but the bank that is providing the furniture company’s financial services.

What are the benefits of embedded finance?

It leads to happier customers

The pain point of needing to seek credit elsewhere can be eliminated with embedded finance options, which leads to a more streamlined purchasing experience. Customers don’t need to interact with multiple organisations to make a purchase, and are therefore less likely to abandon carts at checkout.

This improved overall experience means that customers are more satisfied with your business, are more likely to return in future, and have a higher likelihood of developing brand loyalty.

It can be used to offer incentive schemes to customers

Using reward and incentive schemes is a sure-fire way to build brand loyalty among customers. With embedded financial options, brands can go beyond the tried and tested “stamp card” by offering valuable and meaningful services to customers that also propagate loyalty.

An example of this is the Tesco Clubcard Pay+; a Tesco branded debit card which earns Clubcard points whenever it’s used, and extra when used in a Tesco store. It allows customers to ringfence their grocery budget on a Tesco debit card, and integrates the Tesco brand and the loyalty scheme into the customer’s daily purchasing habits.

This is what customers want

Embedded finance schemes and services have seen huge take-up from customers in all sectors, proving that they are answering problems and providing value to consumers and clients.

One example is the Starbucks App and card system, which allows customers to transfer money to their Starbuck’s account so that they can quickly pre-order coffee. In the US, it was reported that Starbuck’s had more money loaded onto Starbucks cards and their app in 2016 than many banks had in deposits. 41% of their custom was carried out through the app/ Starbucks card.

You can gather additional data on how your customers behave

With embedded finance options, new opportunities to better serve your customers can become apparent via the additional data that can be harnessed.

Embedded finance services offer many ways for your customers to interact with your brand, and offer insights into how your customers behave, how they spend their money, and how they interact with your services, depending on the financial service they’re using.

This data can be leveraged to uncover trends, offer more personalised deals and marketing, and inform business operations at a decision-making level.

The solution you choose depends on your business and your goals. At B4B, we have a range of embedded financial services that can drive growth and bring benefits to your organisation. Get in touch with our advisors to discuss your needs.

Incentives & Perks Newsroom

How branded payments solutions can help you boost customer loyalty and drive growth

Providing customers with a compelling reason to stay engaged with your brand is crucial to driving growth through 2022 and beyond

While some industries have thrived and others struggled through the pandemic, all companies have one thing in common as we move into 2022: the need to redefine their relationships with consumers and keep up with rapidly-changing expectations.

While a Ranstad study found that 1 in 4 UK employees expect to change jobs in the next year, consumers are just as ready to shake things up. Having spent two years enduring pandemic-related disruptions from queues and one-way systems to extended call centre waiting times, customers are rapidly growing impatient with brands who aren’t delivering the level of experience they expect.

Customer loyalty has never been so important, and providing customers with a compelling reason to stay engaged with your brand is crucial to driving growth through 2022 and beyond.

Loyalty schemes for 2022: what’s changed?

Customer loyalty schemes are nothing new – from collecting Betty Crocker box tops in the 1930’s to collecting miles as a member of American Airlines’ Frequent Flyer program in the 1980’s to the meteoritic rise of Tesco’s Clubcard in the 90’s, brands have been incentivising repeat business from their customers for decades.

These days, paper vouchers or points schemes can feel a little old hat, however. A new wave of loyalty schemes based around branded payment cards is offering customers more flexibility and better value, and in return driving increased loyalty and growth for the brands who are using them. Not only is a branded card a convenient reminder of your company, every time a customer opens their wallet it can be used in a myriad of ways to suit your specific business goals.

So how can brands use branded payment cards to cut through the noise and create a loyalty scheme that really stands out?

Emotional connections

More than ever, consumers are seeking emotional connection with brands. In the early days of the pandemic, brands scrambled to accommodate and support their customers through a frightening and stressful period, and learned the value of adding a human touch to their interactions with customers.

Branded payment cards can help you keep track of your customers’ spending habits, and understand what they value. They can also be a useful method of supporting customers’ overall financial security and making their lives easier. For example, Tesco Clubcard Pay+ allows customers to ringfence their grocery budgets by transferring funds to their Tesco Debit Card. In return they get extra Clubcard points – and therefore more incentive to spend at Tesco.


Your company’s green credentials have never been so important. According to McKinsey, the use of sustainable materials is a key purchasing factor for 67% of consumers, and Forrester research states that 47% of consumers regularly buy from brands who share their values.

Offering an eco-friendly plastic, or even fully virtual, loyalty card can help your brand demonstrate its CSR credentials. Loyalty schemes could also be structured to benefit the causes that matter to your business rather than customers directly – for example, making a donation to a charity or food bank every time a customer spends with you. Providing ethical incentives to shop with you can be just as powerful as providing direct financial incentives for doing so.


Another COVID-led shift in behaviour that’s unlikely to go anywhere is the increased expectation for flexibility. Mid-pandemic, brands introduced more flexibility into their offerings than ever before – extending deadlines on loyalty points, adding no-fee cancellation and change facilities to bookings, and expanding their support for contactless payment and varied delivery or click-and-collect options. Having seen the value of these offerings, consumers are unlikely to want to give them up post-pandemic.

Branded payment cards are a fantastic method of managing the extra flexibility that customers have grown to expect. Refunds and credits can quickly be applied to a branded card, which offer far more flexibility and convenience than vouchers or points.

Buy now, pay later

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) has boomed in recent years and the trend shows no sign of slowing. With the continued rise of fintech and alternative payment methods and shift to a subscription-led approach across many brands, the option to buy and return items quickly and flexibly, and split payments on items you do choose to purchase, is proving increasingly popular, with Adobe data suggesting that instalment payment spending increased by 422% in the last quarter of 2021 compared to 2019.

Offering a branded payment card attached to a credit line is an easy method of offering your own BNPL scheme – and with data suggesting that more than 49% of people spend more when using BNPL than they would on a credit card, BNPL can provide a much-needed boost to your bottom line.

Not just customers

Branded payment cards are a versatile method of building customer loyalty, with an option for almost every brand. They’re not just for customers, though – remember the 1 in 4 employees who are likely to make the leap into a new job this year? Employee experience is also under the spotlight in 2022, and a branded card scheme could also help to build trust and connection between your company and your staff, helping to improve employee loyalty and retention too.

Using prepaid cards to manage expenses and departmental spending gives staff more control and autonomy in their roles, helping improve motivation and morale and helping day-to-day processes run more smoothly, reducing stress. Branded cards as a method of paying out gifts, incentives and benefits is also perennially popular – cash looks good on everybody, and there’s no risk of potentially alienating employees with a gift that conflicts with their personal preferences or religious beliefs.

How could branded payment cards work for you?

Consumers now expect more from your brand than ever – flexibility, sustainability, transparency, and an emotional connection. While customer experience is a constant focus, branded payment cards are a great way of building loyalty and demonstrating some of those values to your customers.

There are so many innovative ways you could use prepaid cards to drive customer loyalty and business growth. To find out more about how a branded card scheme could work for your business, call us on 020 3137 3420 or email us at

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Incentives & Perks Newsroom

B4B prepaid cards are the perfect choice for your tenant reward schemes

The pandemic has shaken economies around the world and communities across the UK

People have lost their jobs, housing association spend per home has declined and both tenants and landlords have faced extreme financial hardship. According to Inside Housing, rent arrears in the social housing sector peaked £1bn at the end of 2021. The rising cost of living has also been a contributing factor to these statistics. 

Landlords are facing increased operating costs against a backdrop of complex challenges. We are working closely with our members and the wider sector to contextualise the impact of the pandemic and provide the on-time insight and forecasts they need to take mitigating action with confidence.

Chief Executive of HouseMark, Laurice Ponting

These financial challenges have contributed to broken rental agreements and in some cases less upkeep of property, ultimately costing Housing Associations extra time and money.

Give a little back

One solution that can ease this problem is by introducing a reward scheme using our prepaid card, simply to give back and say thanks. The scheme can help encourage good behaviour and loyalty, boost community involvement and more. It’s up to you how and why you want to reward your tenants, maybe they are up to date with rent payments, keep their property clean and tidy or have been a good neighbour.  

Our prepaid cards are suitable for any type of rewards and can be topped up at any time and every penny will be recorded. With the ability to issue cards as closed-loop or open-loop, you can tailor your offering to suit your tenants needs.

Our offering

Depending on your minimum order, we can add your branding to our cards. Tenants can keep this card in their wallet/purse, and each time they make a payment it will create a positive association with your company.

There are also many other features to our cards including:

  • Load money on cards in bulk or individually on your management platform
  • View real-time float statements and transactions
  • B4B app features real-time SMS notifications

To learn more about the benefits of our products, click HERE.

Insights Newsroom Payroll & Payouts Uncategorised

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.