Best Card Solution Highly Commended: Singapore University of Social Sciences

Published: Feb 2023


Photo of Melvyn Low, OCBC and Kwek Peck Lin, Singapore University of Social Sciences.

Kwek Peck Lin

Director, Planning & Finance

The Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) is an autonomous university in Singapore. Established in 2005, SUSS focuses on applied undergraduate and graduate programmes available in full and part-time study modes which are flexible, modular, and inter-disciplinary, catering to both fresh school leavers and adult learners.

in partnership with

Virtual Purchasing Card solves issues for university employees

The challenge

SUSS has 17,000 students and running an institution of such scale often meant the university had to make voluminous payments to various vendors. These payments are mainly made through bank transfers and in some instances, such as online purchases, via credit card. Without a corporate purchasing card, employees had to use their personal credit card and submit a claim thereafter. The claims process was manual as receipts are needed to match against the payments and ensure the appropriate approvals.

The university receives a high volume of monthly reimbursement requests from employees, which cause a long processing time due to the manual handling of forms and receipts.

In addition, there are inherent problems when employees use personal credit cards to make purchases on behalf of the organisation, which include:

  • Use of employee’s personal credit limit to support the organisation’s day-to-day purchases while waiting for the claim to be processed.
  • Lack of visibility of total spend incurred by the organisation, resulting in lost opportunities for vendor negotiations on bulk purchase discounts.
  • Manual processing of staff claims by the employees and finance department.

The solution

SUSS sought a purchasing card programme that would provide control, efficiency, and visibility over decentralised buying decisions. SUSS chose OCBC’s Purchasing Card programme because it met these needs.

Upon assessing SUSS’s requirements, OCBC implemented the world’s first VCP solution for the university that can be issued for single or recurring use. Virtual cards are generated instantly with pre-set spending limits, validity periods and categories of goods and services that the card can be used to pay for, without the need for employees to pay for certain corporate purchases with personal cards and seek reimbursements thereafter.

The solution allows SUSS to issue virtual credit cards to its employees for multiple types of payments such as:

  • Procurement payments.
  • eCommerce purchases.
  • Travel bookings.
  • Contactless PoS transactions.

Best practice and innovation

The OCBC VCP solution enables employees to request virtual cards on demand via their mobile app. They can also use the virtual card for making mobile, in-app and online payments at all Visa accepting merchants, without having to pay out of their own pockets. Images of receipts are uploaded onto the bank’s VCP platform. This effectively eliminates the manual processes of reimbursement and account reconciliation with a streamlined and user-friendly alternative that saves time for employees.

The solution offers real-time monitoring of employees’ spending and automatic reconciliation. Enhanced data reporting also allows SUSS to identify their core spending categories. This not only streamlines the claims processes by cutting down manual and laborious tasks, but also empowers the university with relevant data points for better price negotiation with its suppliers.

Ms Kwek Peck Lin, Director for Planning & Finance, SUSS, said, “We want to digitalise the way we work and that extends to all aspects of the university’s operations. This virtual card solution makes payments easier for our employees – everything can be done via mobile app – and for our finance department too. In terms of security, virtual cards provide more assurance compared to traditional commercial card solutions, and that was also an important factor for us when deciding to come onboard.”

Key benefits

  • Eliminate use of personal credit card and limit.
  • Risk mitigation through enhanced spend controls.
  • Manual intervention reduced resulting in process efficiencies.
  • Improved visibility in spends optimize procurement decisions.

The Adam Smith Awards Asia is the industry benchmark for best practice and innovation in corporate treasury. The 2022 awards attracted a record-breaking 416 nominations. To find out more please visit treasurytoday.com/adam-smith-awards-asia

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