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case studies insights Payroll & Payouts Uncategorised

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

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

The next level in employee satisfaction

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

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

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

Secure, efficient and fraud-proof

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

Outstanding service and support

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

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

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

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case studies Education insights Payroll & Payouts Travel

Education First chooses B4B for simplified travel payment process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve Clark, Education First Finance Director

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

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

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newsroom Sports & Leisure

Sports after COVID-19

COVID has changed everything. The pandemic, which has swept the globe and affected nearly every country on all six continents, has caused cities to lockdown and normal activities to stop on a scale that has never been experienced before in living memory. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel – cities are now beginning to adapt to ‘the new normal’ and things are gradually opening up.

So, how does ‘the new normal’ affect sports? Competitive sports are loved by people all over the globe. In normal times, we flock to stadiums to watch our favourite football or rugby teams. But with some games being dubbed ‘super spreader events’, what is the answer for playing and watching sports during and after COVID?

Some competitive sports have already started to be played again, with strict testing and isolation procedures for the players. At the moment, no spectators are allowed in venues.

Undoubtedly, a lot will change. Social distancing will need to be undertaken by everybody involved in games for quite some time and this will cause a range of economic and social factors. Let’s look at some things that might change.

Virtual reality will become more common

Virtual Reality, or VR, helps people to see something as if it is actually taking place, and there will be a lot more of this as time goes on. Whether that be 360-degree photos on Facebook or fully immersive video, it will become much more normal to see games through this lens.

Journalism will focus on local sport

COVID is a time when everybody is looking inwards, focusing on their local area and what it has to offer. During the pandemic, it is harder for journalists to travel to report, meaning they may be more likely to focus on small, local teams rather than large-scale national reporting.

Athletes will seek independent forms of employment

It is projected that contracts for athletes will decrease, meaning that they will need to find other ways to fund themselves. They might become influencers, using their platforms to talk about certain topics and making money from sponsorships.

Coaches will become more tech-savvy

COVID is made much easier by technology – from the fact that we can pay using contactless cards to the ever-growing amount of TikToks to keep us amused – and coaches will undoubtedly become more tech-savvy throughout this crisis. During the pandemic, big decisions have been made over Zoom meetings, and with the pressing environmental crisis that will remain after the pandemic, this might be rolled out permanently.

Therefore, during and after COVID, coaches will likely rely on apps to communicate with their team members, draw up timetables and even train remotely.

School events will become important

Schools will need to adapt to playing sports safely, but they are likely to be children’s main involvement with the sporting world for some time. Sporting education in school will be crucial to the physical and mental health of students, as will education into different types of sports and advice on sporting careers.

Payments will change

Additionally, teams will have less funding and find themselves having to adapt in order to find the money to pay their staff. B4B offers safe, easy to use payment solutions for sports teams around the globe. Our contactless, prepaid business cards work anywhere where Mastercard® can be used, and can easily be topped up and utilised by players and organisation-staff alike.

Our prepaid card solutions are great for staff members earning anything from a few hundred to thousands of any currency a month, and they can be used to make payments across the globe. They are a fantastic way for any kind of sporting enterprise – from grassroots campaigns to full-scale sporting events – to organise their money better and reassure people of their job security during this difficult time.

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newsroom Uncategorised

The Future of Payments in Sport

Hint: It’s cashless

According to UK Finance, there were 39.3 billion payments made in the United Kingdom in 2018. Only 28% of these payments were made in cash, which is a 32% decrease over the past 10 years. By 2028, only 9% of payments are expected to be made in cash, so a huge number of businesses are choosing to ditch the payment method altogether.

The use of debit cards is on the rise and 98% of the UK population now use them regularly. Mobile and contactless payments are also on the increase and businesses from multiple industries, including hospitality and live events, are beginning to see the many benefits that cashless payment models have to offer.

Graph showing payment trends prepaid vs debit and credit

Sports stadiums, however, have been slightly more hesitant to adopt a cashless payment system, due to their long history of customers bringing wads of cash to spend on refreshments and merchandise. However, whether you organise grassroots, domestic, or international sports events, utilising a cashless payment solution in all aspects of an organisation can offer the following benefits:

Prevent Fraud

Many sports venues employ a more transient workforce than other businesses, which can increase the likelihood of employees committing fraud or theft. Using cashless payments for business supplies, employees have fewer opportunities to steal from the organisation and any strange payment anomalies are easier to identify via the data collected from digital transactions. Physical cash can be extremely difficult to keep track of. With a prepaid, cashless payment solution, temporary employees will not be tempted to slip some into their pockets.

Increased customer spending

Research suggests that customers are likely to spend significantly more at sports stadiums when they are paying via card or mobile payments rather than with cash. When your customers don’t have to worry about calculating how much cash they have in hand and physically hand it over, they are much more likely to be freer with their spending, whether they’re purchasing food, drink or sporting merchandise. Depending on the size of your sporting venue, that could add up to hundreds of thousands of pounds more per event and could lead to a significant increase in profit.

Save time and money

Businesses are required to pay a small fee for every cashless payment transaction, but this is insignificant when compared to the money that they could save. Manual cash management takes a significant amount of time and it can often take several hours a day to maintain accurate accounting records. From making trips to the bank to counting cash at the end of the day, the minutes spent handling cash can add up and staff will often have to be paid overtime. Cashless sports venues don’t have to worry about the time spent handling manual payments and will find that they have more time to invest in more important tasks.

Social Distancing

The current global pandemic has seen a huge number of businesses switch to contactless card payments to maintain social distancing measures and reduce the spread of the coronavirus. UK sports stadiums are predicted to reopen as early as autumn, but the post-COVID-19 world is likely to see social distancing measures continue. With cashless payments, customers can safely and hygienically pay for items in sports arenas without having to worry about coming into contact with each other, so it’s likely that we’ll see a further spike in the use of cashless payments in venues all over the world.


If you run a grassroots, domestic or international sporting venue and are looking to eliminate antiquated payment processes and finally find the time to do the things that matter, B4B Payments has the perfect solution for you. Our prepaid cards can help you keep control over your corporate payments via a single platform and mobile app. Freeing up your business’s time and money, cut unnecessary costs, and streamline your accounting systems to make your business operations run seamlessly.

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case studies Education insights Payroll & Payouts

UWL use B4B Payments cards to tackle student hardship

The University of West London is known as The Careers University. The University has several campus’ including sites in Ealing, Brentford and Reading.

The University offers a wide variety of courses, ranging from business to nursing. 98% of UWL graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating. UWL has the highest satisfaction rating of all London universities according to the National Student Survey (NSS).

UWL takes its duty of care for its students very seriously. B4B Payments cards are used as a convenient way to support students who are facing financial hardship whilst pursuing their studies. After qualifying for a hardship payment, students are issued with a B4B card which is instantaneously loaded with the requisite money.

“We find the B4B system really easy to use,” says Helen Prince, Senior Finance Officer. “We often have to make payments quickly or out of hours. B4B Payments allows us to meet students’ needs as they arise, whenever that may be.”

“I’m pleased we could partner with The University of West London to support their students,” says B4B Director of Accounts, Tim Robson. “B4B works with many higher education institutions in the UK to assist them with their expenses, research payments, bursaries or open-day travel payments.”

To find out how B4B can help with payments for your educational establishment, please contact us here.

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newsroom Tools & Guides Uncategorised

Simple alternative to cash for tour guides

Cash causes so many problems for tour guides out in the field from security issues to admin issues and fraud. It can become extremely complex and troublesome when tour guides are a part of your business model and are out in the field or are working remotely.

Tours and holiday activities were the 2nd fastest growing sector in the world in 2018. The sector has grown from strength to strength as people look to for more authentic and local experiences. The market is now estimated to be around a staggering $150 billion.

Due to this increased demand and opportunity, travel and tour guide companies are now looking at alternatives to streamline their processes, reduce stress and improve business administration, as cash is often a headache to administer and audit. It is also open to fraud and expensive to manage. Cash is a complication that shouldn’t exist in the travel and tour guide sector.

Businesses in the sector are starting to turn to prepaid cards to eliminate cash-based problems and to provide an expenses solution that makes operations smoother.

Solving payroll and funding issues

Prepaid cards allow travel companies to send funds electronically to tour guides or guests, instantly anywhere in the world 24/7. It can also remove any delays caused be traditional banking processes or cash distribution. Eliminating any potential payroll and funding issues can increase employee motivation and as a result, have a positive effect on your business’s customer service.

Increase security and protect your employees

Cash is outdated. Instantly eliminate the burden and risk of carrying or storing cash when travelling is involved, for both tour guides and guests, by using a secure prepaid card. Moreover, prepaid cards are reloadable 24/7 so your employees will only need one card at a time saving your business time and money.

No need for any pesky administration

Prepaid cards can replace petty cash completely. Once combined with expense systems and powerful receipt management tools, companies can manage all of their expenses, payroll, funding and much more on one system. Furthermore, you are able to monitor spending in real-time and integrate with any existing accounting or ERP systems in your business, giving you full peace of mind.

Other benefits

Prepaid cards have obvious cost-based benefits however removing the hassle and headaches associated with inefficient cash-based systems can lead to happier employees. Moreover, this can free up time for your employees and tour guides so that they can focus on their job to create entertaining experiences for tourists and not on their finances. This can lead to higher retention rate with higher performing tour guides who are often difficult to source.

How to choose a prepaid card solution for your travel company

The prepaid solution from B4B Payments offers a Mastercard prepaid card that can be used in the millions of locations globally that accepts payment by Mastercard. Funds can be spent in-store or online, meeting the needs of tour guides, travel companies and other travel stakeholders.

The B4B solution is currently enabling travel companies, tour guides and tourism establishments to replace inefficient cash-based systems for the past 5 years. It was named winner of the Best Prepaid Card Programme category of the Card & Payments Awards 2019. To find out more about how we work with travel companies and tour guides, and how we can help you, call us on 020 3137 3420 or email us at sales@b4bpayments.com.

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insights newsroom Tools & Guides Uncategorised

Eliminate payroll pain for Christmas events

According to the 2018 Pulse Report, the UK events industry is estimated to be worth £42.3bn and much of that figure is likely to be spent on corporate Christmas events. Not only is organising festive events a significant expense but it also can be an organisational headache, especially payroll for temporary or seasonal staff.

With December rapidly approaching, now is the ideal time to look for new ways to make your Christmas party planning simpler and more efficient for this and coming years.

Eliminate the inefficiencies of cash

The security risks, painful administration and accounting complexities have made paying people in cash unviable with company credit cards being even more frustrating. Prepaid cards are the first choice for companies looking for new and more versatile ways to manage corporate expenses, payroll and incentives.

The ideal tool for event organisers

Give your event organiser a prepaid card loaded with an amount you decide and keep track of their spending in real-time. It also means that you are not putting your team in the position where they have to fund expenses out of their own pocket and go through a time-consuming and frustrating manual expense claim process.

Also, you might need to enable multiple people or departments to pay for different aspects of the event such as travel, venue management or sourcing gifts. In that case, it would be impractical and undesirable to issue more company credit cards for a short-term project. With prepaid, you can instantly issue additional cards with different amounts loaded to other team members. This allows you to make completely bespoke employee incentive programmes instantly.

If you are arranging an event abroad where card payments aren’t always accepted, your team can always withdraw cash using their prepaid card from a local ATM, usually incurring lower fees than if withdrawals were made using credit cards.

Stay on budget

While everyone wants their event to be a great experience, nobody wants to find they have gone over budget to achieve it. One of the many drawbacks of paying with cash is that you’ll find it almost impossible to tell if you are nearing or exceeding your staffing budget. Using prepaid cards from B4B Payments would enable you to see exactly how much is being spent in real-time.

Pay a few or a few thousand staff

Whether you’re hosting a Christmas party, impressing your clients or putting on an awards evening, prepaid cards can help you manage events where you are employing a few to a few thousand temporary staff. As you can re-load cards remotely, you can pay staff via a prepaid card once or multiple times using the same card.

Another important advantage is that prepaid cards don’t have to be physical plastic. Today, you could issue virtual prepaid cards that can be issued instantly to anyone in the world. It’s the ideal solution for when you need to set up a method of payment fast for workers in other geographies.

Maximum spending appeal

Some prepaid cards, such as the ones you can issue to staff via B4B Payments, can be used to pay for goods and services anywhere that accepts payment by Mastercard online or offline. That means that you are well positioned to attract temporary staff for your event, especially those who don’t have bank accounts. Your seasonal workers will enjoy the benefit of being able to spend their pay immediately, virtually anywhere.

Expenses for staff

In addition to payroll for seasonal staff, you might also need to cover their expenses incurred such as travelling to your venue or meal allowance. The process of claiming staff expenses is quick and simple for both you and your employees with the ability to upload receipts electronically. No more inefficient manual processes or paper receipts to process and file.

Celebrate your brand

An event is a great opportunity to show off your brand. If you are looking for some extra visual impact, your cards can be branded with your logo as part of a production run from just a few hundred units.

An event is a great opportunity to show off your brand. If you are looking for some extra visual impact, your cards can be branded with your logo as part of a production run from just a few hundred units.

Prepaid cards – not just for Christmas

Mastercard published details of how more companies than ever are finding they can benefit from financial services from suppliers other than traditional banks. The Mastercard Prepaid Consumer Experience Index stated that prepaid use is predicted to grow by 133% in the next five years globally. The figures state that using prepaid cards to manage expenses is likely to be the number one reason why more companies will begin using prepaid cards.

B4B Payments is a multi-award-winning provider of Mastercard prepaid cards to companies, government departments and other types of organisation for uses such as expense management, gifting and payroll. To hear more about B4B Payment product updates, the latest Fintech news or how clients use our products get in touch with us on Linkedin, Twitter or via our website.