Categories
insights newsroom Tools & Guides Uncategorised

How to avoid invoice fraud

According to UK Finance, UK business lost a total of £93 million in 2018 to invoice fraud, with the average payment to fraudsters being £20,750. To help you avoid losing potentially thousands of pounds, we’ve put together a list of things that you can do to avoid invoice fraud.

Scrutinise all invoices

It’s extremely important for you to scrutinise all of the invoices that you receive. The differences between a false invoice and a real one will be subtle, but if you look closely, you should be able to identify a fake. Common indicators of a fake invoice include a different phone number or contact name for correspondence, a change in payment methods, changes in the amount to be invoiced, a new signature, blurred logos, the addition to bank details that didn’t appear previously and email addresses with small changes.

Listen to your instincts

This might seem trivial, but it is important to listen to your instincts when analysing invoices. If an invoice does not seem genuine, it is probably a good idea to take a closer look at it. In order to stay in control of your payments, try and be more confident when refusing payments or unexpected information requests so that you don’t end up making a mistake under pressure. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Don’t click suspicious links

This is a general rule of thumb for using the internet, but in order to avoid invoice fraud, never click on the links that appear in an unexpected text or email. Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated than ever and it is now incredibly easy to create email addresses that look genuine upon first glance, but if you look closely, you might notice that certain names or words in the address are spelt incorrectly.

Check on suppliers

Fake invoices are often issued under a legitimate name with a fake bank account number or email address or under a false business name. When you’re taking on a new supplier, it’s a good idea to do your research into their business to ensure that they are legitimate and to search for their business address on Google maps. If their address is a PO box or a residential address, this could indicate that they are committing fraud. Where possible, if your existing suppliers get in touch claiming that they are changing their bank account or address, contact them directly to make sure.

Conduct multiple-stage authorisation

If you have the staff capability, it’s a good idea to hold multiple people responsible for the authorisation of payments. You could give the department or person associated with the expenditure responsibility for authorising the payment. The more people you have on hand to check each invoice, the more likely it is that someone will spot something suspicious.


If you’re looking to take control of your company spending in a secure and safe manner, get in touch with our expert team at B4B Payments today.

Categories
Expenses insights newsroom Payroll & Payouts Tools & Guides Uncategorised

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

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

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

The pros of adapting a cashless policy

Save time – and money!

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

Increased efficiency

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

Easier accounting and money management

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

Reduced risk

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

Enhanced expense management

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

Access valuable data

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

Cons of adopting a cashless policy

Increased card fees

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

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

Some people prefer cash

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

Is going cashless right for your business?

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

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

Categories
Expenses insights newsroom Tools & Guides Uncategorised

How to cut business costs

No matter how established a business is, regularly looking for ways to cut and control costs and eliminate unnecessary expenditure is good business practice. In uncertain times, and when faced with an uncertain economy, every penny truly does count and even successful businesses should re-evaluate how they can cut costs.

1. Look for ways to be environmentally friendly

While swapping your bulbs for LEDs and installing solar panels may seem like unnecessary business expenses, in the long-term, they can help your business to save a significant amount of money. You can also encourage your employees to make better eco choices, such as switching off their computers rather than leaving them on stand-by and opting for digital documents rather than using paper. Buying reusable mugs and cups for your workplace is much more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than constantly buying single-use supplies. In a post-covid workplace, we recommend ensuring each member of staff has their own supplies to ensure the safety and health of your team.

2. Negotiate supply expenses

It never hurts to try and negotiate a lower price with supply vendors to see if you could get a better deal. If you have been with a vendor for the long-term, you can ask them to reward your loyalty and retain your custom by offering you a lower, more affordable price. If they are unable to do this, shop around for another vendor, you may be surprised at the savings you could make by switching to another supplier or company.

3. Reduce overheads

Do you really need an office? Since lockdown measures were put into place due to the global pandemic, many businesses are re-evaluating having a physical presence at all. It’s clear employees are adapting and thriving in a remote working environment and surveys show that by continuing to give your employees the choice to work from home, you will not only have a safer, happier team, but can significantly reduce your overhead costs by moving into a smaller office space or none at all. If you choose to have a smaller office space with fewer employees working physically in the office, this will also help you to lower your energy bills and keep employee expenses low.

4. Control expenditure

If you’re looking for an easy and efficient way to control employee expenditure, you may wish to consider B4B Payments. Having spent the last 14 years developing a robust prepaid card solutions that allows businesses to view and control their employee expenditure in real-time, ensures your organisation has total control and transparency over their employee expenses.

5. Reduce travel

Encourage all meetings to take place via video call or conference call, rather than allowing employees to travel frequently. This not only saves a company transport costs, but it also reduces the time employees spend and waste travelling from location to location. If it is essential departments or employees meet in person, use to ensure tracking your employees’ transport expenses is easy and you can factor this expense into your monthly or quarterly budget.

To learn more about the prepaid business card solutions that can help businesses of all sizes cut costs, contact B4B Payments today. From payroll to employee expenses and employee incentive management, we can help you manage your finances in one, convenient platform. Get in touch today to learn more about our effective solutions.

Categories
company insights newsroom Tools & Guides Uncategorised

The benefits of a branded prepaid business card

To brand or not to brand?

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

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

A high level of management control

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

Personalisation can boost your brand

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

Control your expenditure

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

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

Categories
case studies Education insights Payroll & Payouts Uncategorised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories
case studies Expenses insights Non Profit Uncategorised

Church Service: Finding solutions with B4B Payments

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

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

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

Finding payments solution that worked

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Tracee McAtear, Executive Pastor

The proof is in the pudding

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

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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