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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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insights newsroom Tools & Guides Uncategorised

Replacing flawed paper systems for school meals, with easy to use cards

There is huge pressure on schools to find reliable ways to enforce social distancing and infection control measures, and one of the most debated ‘hot spots’ will be around the serving of meals.

Cashless payment is now common in canteens, but in some instances still relies on paper – such as free school meal vouchers – or some handling of coins and notes. Both of which we will address in the article.

Existing systems to pay for food in school canteens – and recently in the wider community – have already caused education managers and headteachers countless headaches.

Recent press headlines show that users of free school meal vouchers have run up against system failures that left them embarrassed – and potentially hungry!

This shows that investment in the latest cashless payment systems is necessary for a number of different but equally important reasons, particularly to iron out issues with free school meals.

The free school meal fiasco

The technology exists to enable the Government to provide help for low-income families within schools, discreetly and reliably. Also, in B4B Payments, the Department of Education, local authorities, and schools have a supplier who can provide secure and hygienic payment cards within days.

Yet, the way meal vouchers have been distributed during the pandemic crisis has largely revolved around printed slips. In many cases, already challenged and stressed school staff have been tasked with printing off free school meal vouchers.

As the national media coverage has highlighted, this has left some parents with paper vouchers that don’t work when they try to redeem them in shops. A cause of massive confusion and upset.

Some schools have even resorted to creating their own systems to help low-income families, necessitating large payouts and deals with local food retailers and supermarket chains.

Is this really necessary, when a system exists to connect, streamline and simplify free school meal provision using prepaid cards from B4B Payments? Cards that can be used in shops, or within school canteens, with the minimum of admin and hassle!

Curious about the tends in cash vs card?

How clean is cash?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and other authoritative bodies are urging everyone to wash their hands well after handling coins and notes – especially in situations where you are eating and drinking. There has also been a widespread surge in moving towards payments via a smart device, credit or debit card, or prepaid card.

In a school, moving wholesale to prepaid cards limits contact between the children and cashier. It also means less likelihood of infection transmission on alternative payment tools or money. Another reason why the Department of Education and local authorities must take secure, easy-to-clean and convenient prepaid cards seriously.

Perhaps, this is one time when the ‘pester power of parents’ needs to come into play. They can persuade the Government to use the simplest and best technology to make school meal payment systems problem-free, with cards from B4B Payments that can be delivered in days.

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company insights newsroom Tools & Guides Uncategorised

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.
Categories
case studies Expenses 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
Categories
case studies company insights newsroom Non Profit Uncategorised

Salvation Army choose B4B in modern slavery response

Cashless advocates and prepaid payments company, B4B Payments is lending its technological weight to The Salvation Army in the vital work to support recovering victims of modern slavery, by working with the organisation on cashless payment technology.

The Fintech organisation, which is a fast-growing player in the prepaid card industry for over 14 years, is helping The Salvation Army to roll out its prepaid cards among victims of modern slavery for whom cash is an insecure method of payment. The rapid introduction of this new technology is one of many measures The Salvation Army and its partners have initiated with support from the Home Office to adapt the way support is provided to victims of modern slavery in its care. The use of prepaid cards enables The Salvation Army to minimise face to face contact  during the coronavirus pandemic in delivering subsistence payments to which victims of modern slavery are entitled under the Government contract through which The Salvation Army provides vital support to help them begin their journey of recovery.

Modern slavery is a problem which is still surprisingly prevalent around the world. Since 2011, The Salvation Army has supported more than 10,000 victims of modern slavery. In 2019, 46% of potential victims who entered support were referred from London.  It is estimated that one in two hundred people around the world is a slave, victims of all manner of exploitation hidden in plain sight in farms, factories and car washes and forced to work in the sex industry and even criminal activities such as drug smuggling.


Thanks to their amazing work in Britain and around the world, The Salvation Army is helping victims of modern slavery to begin new lives living independently when they are rescued from their captors, supporting the work undertaken through the Government contract with additional support programmes through our own charitable funds.

By partnering with B4B Payments, The Salvation Army is able to give the people it helps a prepaid Mastercard®. This means that staff can give the victim all the money that they are entitled to at once without fear that they will be targeted, and it works as a viable alternative to cash. Users are also able to make cashless payments online using this method, just like a traditional bank card, so they can more easily access Government services or pay for things from home if they have a disability or restricted by social distancing measures.

“Even in these challenging times with coronavirus, The Salvation Army and our partners are doing all we can so that victims have the best care possible, to keep them safe and help them continue their recovery.

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.

 The Salvation Army’s Victim Care Fund has made a contribution of £20,000 from its charitable resources to make sure we could get the prepaid cards to the vulnerable people in our care as quickly as possible. 

We recognise the extraordinary demands on our staff, volunteers and partners, and want to thank them all, along with suppliers like B4B Payments, for stepping up in their rapid response to a fast-moving situation which has been exceptional and deserves commendation.”

Major Kathy, Betteridge, Director of Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery for The Salvation Army

B4B Payments CEO Paul Swinton said, “It has been hugely rewarding to provide our services to The Salvation Army 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 it is vital that we as a financial technology company do our bit to innovate and help the less fortunate.”

Stats on modern slavery and how The Salvation Army are supporting victims


For media enquiries, please contact The Salvation Army’s PR & Communications office:

media@salvationarmy.org.uk / 020 3657 7555

About The Salvation Army’s modern slavery work:


The Salvation Army was awarded the government contract in 2011 to provide specialist support for adult victims of human trafficking in England and Wales, including safe accommodation, counselling, medical care, translation services and legal counselling. Victims seeking help have been trafficked to or within England and Wales and are referred to the service through a dedicated referral line 0800 808 3733 available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information visit the website: www.salvationarmy.org.uk/modern-slavery 

The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and registered charity which has been transforming lives for more than 150 years. Working in 131 countries worldwide, The Salvation Army offers friendship, practical help and support for people at all levels of need. In the UK and Republic of Ireland this work includes more than 750 community churches and social centres. Registered Charity Nos. 214779, 215174 and in Scotland SC009359, SC037691. For more information visit the website www.salvationarmy.org.uk

Categories
newsroom Sports & Leisure

The digitisation of arenas and sports events

As lockdown restrictions begin to relax around the world, many stadiums are preparing to welcome sports teams and fans once again. From local stadiums to large arenas, everyone involved in the sports industry is doing what they can to keep their staff and guests safe, including embracing new digital technology. Stadiums are beginning to encourage, and in some cases even make it mandatory, for their patrons to use digital and contactless payment solutions where possible.

What are the benefits of cashless payments for a stadium?

• Reduced theft as visitors and sports players will not need to bring cash into the stadium.
• Helps reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19 or another virus as contact is limited.
• Better visibility to track where and how people are using money in the stadium.

How are contactless and digital card payments changing sports stadiums?

Making service faster

In the Stadium of the Future report by Oracle, it was revealed that sports fans in Germany would be willing to spend 68% more on purchases if the wait time for food and beverages was reduced by half. Similarly, US fans claimed they would spend 66% more on food and drinks if the wait time was reduced, as would UK fans by 61%. This sends a clear message to stadium employees – fans are willing to spend more on food and drink if their time queuing, being served and waiting to receive their food and drink is reduced.

By making contactless payment mandatory, stadiums could significantly improve their speed at serving food and beverages as money will not need to be regularly counted, distributed or stored in a safe, which can be very time-consuming processes.

Increasing sales of high-priced items

The price of food, beverages and merchandise in a stadium can vary. More often than not, however, stadiums charge a premium for food and drink as they try to offer their sports fans a unique sporting experience that they cannot receive or replicate from their home, including enjoying indulgent food and drink. It can be hard, however, for a sports fan to hand over their hard-earned cash to pay for food and drinks. Some sports fans may even purposely limit the amount of money they take to a game to ensure they do not overspend.

Contactless payments help consumers see money and pricing as digital, and eliminates the process of handing over their money physically. This often encourages sports fans to buy more food and drink.

Cashless spending in your organisation

Going cashless doesn’t stop with your visitors and fans. Prepaid business cards from B4B Payments are the perfect way to adapt cashless spending to not only your arena, but your organisation as well. Stop your employees from using their personal funds to purchase goods and supplies, entertain partners, and travel. With a prepaid card you can see exactly where your money’s being spent as it’s happening, the ultimate risk management tool. No need worry about excess spending or potential fraud.

Control the parameters yourself using the B4B online admin platform and mobile app. By removing spend on personal cards, you’re in control. You decide how much employees can spend, and what they can use their expenses for.

Have temporary employees and volunteers?

Paying temp workers doesn’t need to be difficult. Using a flexible B4B prepaid card, save money on handling costs and fees associated with traditional payroll processes.

Our innovative method can be particularly useful for businesses with temporary or short-term staff so that you, as a business owner, can meet the demands of your changing workforce and not be held back by limited resources. Our cards can be used for GBP, EUR, and USD currencies to create a bespoke experience for you.

Did somebody say branding?

Choosing a B4B prepaid card gives you a unique opportunity to showcase your brand. A stunning design will help promote your brand and create a positive association with your company every time your cards are used. For a seamless user experience, we also create a cardholder platform and unique landing page featuring your brand.

If you’d like to learn about prepaid cards, contact B4B Payments today. We are an expert fintech company who specialise in providing payment solutions for the sports industry.