Fuel cards are fairly common among fleets, but often small- and medium-sized businesses need to give their employees more flexibility when it comes to company purchases. With flexibility comes responsibility, though, and many businesses want to ensure their employees are buying what they are supposed to buy, and can track those purchases — when they give their employees company credit cards to use.
A company called PEX Card offers a prepaid business expense card program, which provides a mix of flexibility and oversight, including a new mobile app for iPhone and Android smartphones that gives employers information at a glance and control of their employees’ business-related purchases.
Business Fleet spoke with PEX Card CEO Toffer Grant about how small- and medium-sized businesses can use the PEX Card, and its related PEX Mobile app, to monitor and manage expenses related to business use of a company vehicle.
An example of a PEX card used by employers.
To start, Grant used transportation companies as an example, saying they use the PEX Card as a centralized purchasing tool.
“Cardholders are repair shop managers, drivers and office staff, all of whom need to purchase parts, fuel, etc. at various times of the day and for differing reasons, all so they can do their jobs,” Grant said. “Because it is a prepaid card, businesses can feel comfortable giving cards to staff that they normally wouldn’t give a credit card to.”
Although PEX offers a Web-based application for the employee designated as the program’s administrator, the company also offers two apps, part of the PEX Mobile service — one for program administrators and another for the employees using the card in the field.
“Admins can do about 90% on the mobile app of what the Web app can do, and cardholders use it as a quick reference for balance info and transaction detail,” Grant said.
One major benefit to using the PEX Card is that it gives card program administrators a number of controls over how employees can use it. For instance, the PEX Card Web and mobile application provide spending limits based on 11 different merchant categories, such as allowing fuel purchases but disallowing the card’s use at a restaurant.
According to Grant, program admins typically set spend rules based on three criteria: an employee’s job function, what the employee needs to spend money on within that function, and how often the employee needs to make business-related purchases.
“Because the system handles balance and rule changes in real time, all changes made to cards can happen on the fly, meaning the moment the admin makes a balance change is the moment the employee can swipe the card,” Grant explained. “While there are spend rules, there are also card funding rules, too. An admin can set up a card to ‘recharge’ or ‘reload’ according to a schedule, for example, daily, a day of the week, or on the first of the month, which is all good for budgeting and cash exposure management. There is also a trigger balance funding rule so the card can never run out of money; when a card is spent down to a particular balance, it will trigger the system to add more money to the card.”
The PEX Card program is designed to be affordable for a range of businesses. PEX requires payment of a one-time setup fee of $49.95 (per company) and a monthly fee of $7.50 per card. (Note: PEX waives the fee if a business spends more than $50,000 in any given month using the card.) PEX doesn’t charge any fees for support, for transactions or for incidentals, such as account maintenance or automated clearing house (ACH) deposits. But the company does charge $25 for late payments and for select services.
Find out more about the PEX Card at the company’s website at www.pexcard.com.