Best Card Solution Winner: Harley-Davidson

Published: Jul 2019


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Photo of Lynda Johnson, Harley-Davidson and Jim Mahn, Citi.

Lynda Johnson

Assistant Treasurer


Since 1903, Harley-Davidson has led the innovation of two-wheeled mobility. Harley-Davidson Financial Services provides financing, insurance and other programmes to help get Harley-Davidson riders on the road.

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Harley-Davidson uses next gen innovation to streamline its global card programme

The challenge

Harley-Davidson has 6,200 employees in 35 office locations around the globe. In order to meet its employees’ extensive travel and expense (T&E) needs, the company maintained 13 different contracts with card providers, and relied on three different card platforms. With so many card programmes in place, management and control became difficult and issues such as the following arose:

  • Lack of globally consistent fraud controls often resulted in employees being unable to use their cards when travelling.
  • Inconsistent approaches to policy around cash advances made managing and controlling spend far more difficult.
  • Manual tracking T&E expenses using excel spreadsheets.
  • No visibility of global card-related spend data.
  • Liability structures varied across the company.
  • No central card programme management led to independent managing of programmes.

The solution

The company decided to consolidate all of its card programmes with a single global card provider. Harley-Davidson’s global banking partner, Citi, was selected to roll out its card programme globally. Today, approximately 3,300 employees are using a single corporate card programme spanning 25 countries for a total spend in excess of US$36m.

Subsequent to the rollout, the business completed a company-wide PCI compliance review. The review determined that the company’s T&E system was storing corporate credit card numbers, which might be vulnerable in the event of a data breach. To address the issue, Citi helped develop a unique tokenisation programme that removes credit card numbers from its T&E and HR databases. Harley-Davidson was among the first Citi clients to employ this, helping achieve PCI compliance.

Best practice and innovation

Harley-Davidson’s programme consolidation into a single global card platform, with a single contract across 25 countries, is a truly innovative approach to managing and optimising worldwide travel spend. Beyond dramatically improving the efficiency of the company’s T&E card programme, Harley-Davidson was able to eliminate cash advances globally, significantly reduce fraud decline rates and automate what had been manual processes.

It now has global reports on employee usage/spend data and a single point of contact for issue resolution. The firm also successfully eliminated the use of purchasing cards to further enhance controls.

Treasury worked with Citi to tokenise all corporate credit card numbers. Tokenisation is a next generation technology where Citi takes care of storing, maintaining and processing Harley-Davidson’s commercial card information. Personal and card information is replaced with a token that is loaded into the company’s T&E system and used for outgoing payment files to Citi. As a result of this approach, Harley-Davidson systems no longer contain any corporate credit card numbers, which have been replaced with token values and personal information is now far more secure.

A further innovation has been the implementation of robotic process automation that eliminated the cumbersome manual delinquency reporting process. Once statements are available, the robot creates the delinquency report and generates emails to employees and managers if card expense reports are late. It monitors to see if delinquencies remain and follows up if they are not cleared within a specific timeframe. By automating recurring tasks such as delinquency reporting and follow up, treasury resources now have more time to focus on strategic tasks.

Key benefits

  • Moved all 3,300 cardholders to a single card programme and platform across 25 countries.
  • Eliminated cash advances globally.
  • Next generation technology tackling fraud detection and PCI compliance.
  • Reduction in fraud declines to .001% (industry average is 1.5%).
  • Scheme virtually runs itself: no full-time support required.


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