Expense management cards

Designed to give businesses an all-in-one account option, these new plans offer expense management tools, virtual or physical cards and custom settings – here’s how they work.

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If you run a business, keeping track of expenses has traditionally meant using a business debit or credit card, an expense management platform – such as SAP Concur, WebExpenses or expensemanager – or both.

But financial technology companies (fintechs) like Archa, DiviPay and Volopay have launched a range of expense management plans that also offer virtual or physical cards. Each plan is different, but all of them have the potential to save you time on financial tasks. This could mean no more manual expense claims from employees, automatic payment of business subscriptions and analytical tools to help set and adjust budgets.

Who can get an expense management plan with cards?

Anyone with an ABN or ACN can apply, with plans for sole traders and very small businesses, right through to corporate entities.

This means you can choose a plan that has the features you want, with pricing that's also designed to suit businesses of different sizes.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Physical and virtual cards. These plans typically offer unlimited Mastercard or Visa cards.
  • Spending and budget controls. Set spending limits for different cards. Some plans also let you group cards by department, which means you can set a budget for different teams (for example, one for marketing, one for operations, etc).
  • Simplifies financial management. Get access to an app or platform that shows all your business spending in real-time and cuts down on expense claim processes.
  • Accounting integration. You can link your plan to accounting software like Xero, MYOB or Quickbooks, or download transaction data for any accounting programs.
  • Credit or debit facilities. These plans can be set up as a credit facility – similar to charge cards that you need to pay off each time you get a statement – or loaded with your own business funds.

Cons

  • Plans are hard to compare. Unlike business credit cards or traditional expense management services, these plans all offer slightly different features and tools. So it's hard to compare them side-by-side.
  • Pricing varies. The cost of a plan can vary based on the number of transactions, how many users you add to the account or the credit limit. This makes it hard to quickly work out the costs.
  • Some features are still in development. As expense management plans with cards are a relatively new offering in Australia, some of these plans list features that are "coming soon" without a date for when you'll get them.
  • Set-up times. While you can apply for some plans in a few minutes, others require a hands-on induction process.

Common features of these plans

BrandCardsSpending controlsLine of creditAccounting featuresPlan pricing

Archa logo

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  • Mastercard virtual and physical cards
  • Instant new cards for employees
  • Real-time transaction data
  • Receipt capture tools
  • Custom card limits (coming soon)
  • Up to $40,000
  • 30-day repayment terms
  • Xero data feed
  • Downloadable CSV data for other accounting software
From $14 per month, per user

DiviPay logo

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  • Mastercard virtual cards
  • Instant new cards for employees
  • Real-time transaction data
  • Receipt capture tools
  • Custom card limits
  • Budgets for different departments/transactions
  • Subscription management
  • Automated bill payments
  • Up to $20,000
  • Monthly payments
  • Option to extend payment terms up to 30 days for a fee
  • Xero, MYOB or Quickbooks data feed
  • Downloadable CSV data for other accounting software
From $6 per month per user

Volopay logo

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  • Visa virtual and physical cards
  • Instant new cards for employees
  • Real-time transaction data
  • Receipt capture tools
  • Custom card limits
  • Automated bill payments/approvals
  • Money transfers
  • Up to $100,000
  • Statements need to be paid in full by the due date
  • Xero or Quickbooks data feed
  • Downloadable CSV data for other accounting software
Not listed on website

How does this compare to using a business credit card and separate expense platform?

Here's a basic snapshot of how each account is different.

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Business credit cards typically offer you a line of credit and additional cards for employees. Some also offer custom spending limits, transaction data and integration with accounting platforms like Xero.

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Expense management platforms like WebExpenses and expensemanager let you manage expense claims and track spending. Common features include receipt-capturing and integration with accounting platforms.

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Expense management plans with cards offer an all-in-one solution, with a combination of features typical of business credit cards and expense management platforms. A key feature is being able to instantly issue new cards for employees or specific expenses. Some plans also give you a choice between paying with your own money or a credit facility.

How to choose one of these plans

This means their websites have a lot of information, and some of it might not be relevant for you.

So to help you find a plan that's suited to your business, here are 4 key questions to ask:

1. What are the most important features?

If you know you need unlimited cards or a credit facility, you can use these details to narrow down the number of plans you look at – especially if some plans list those features as "coming soon".

2. Do you already have business spending accounts and tools?

If you have a business credit card and/or expense manager service, focus on plans that give you similar features so you can switch to just that plan.

3. How do you do your business accounting?

If you use an accounting platform like Xero or MYOB, check which of these plans offers direct data feeds. If your business is smaller and you only use an accountant, you could also check what features would be the most helpful for you and them.

4. How much do you want to spend on a plan?

Most plans have a monthly fee structure with some add-ons and variations that could change the costs. Ideally, the price should be the same or less than what you'd pay if you had both a business credit card and expense management service.

Tip: Save time by talking to them

If you want quick answers to your questions or aren't sure whether a plan actually has the features you need, it's worth contacting Archa, DiviPay or Volopay to speak to someone about it.

They'll be able to answer your questions and potentially demonstrate features of different plans – similar to what you'd expect if you were looking at a traditional expense management service.

Frequently asked questions

How do I use one of these cards to make a purchase?

You can add the card to Apple Pay or Google Pay and then tap to pay in-store or online. If you get a plan with a physical card and a virtual card, you can use either to make purchases.

Is it a credit card?

No. While you can get a line of credit with one of these plans, you need to pay the full balance owed by the due date on each statement and no interest is charged.

Some plans can also be set up as prepaid or debit card accounts. For example, with a DiviPay plan, you pre-load funds to the account and use them for all the expenses. If you wanted to use credit, you'd need to apply for it.

Is it a bank account?

Some plans are set up with an account number and BSB, such as those from DiviPay. But you would typically transfer funds from your business account to one of these plans.

Is it safe?

All of these plans and cards come with security features similar to what you'd find on a business credit card or an expense management platform. This includes encryption, mobile app screen-locking and zero liability against fraudulent transactions made with any of the cards.

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Images: Flaticon, Getty

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