Insight & Analysis

Press release: Corporates in Asia Pacific increasing use of commercial cards to replace traditional payment methods

Published: Oct 2018

25th October 2018 – Corporates in the Asia Pacific region are increasingly mandating the use of commercial cards for all eligible purchases as they migrate from more traditional payment tools, Citi’s Asia Pacific Commercial Cards Survey 2018 shows.

Findings reveal that corporates are expanding commercial card programs to alternative flows including meetings and events, and procurement, for increased visibility of flows, centralized controls and governance, heightened efficiencies and improvements in operational strategies.

The study, the first by Citi with a focus on corporate clients in Asia Pacific, found that clients in the region had increased their commercial card spend by over 24% in 2017. Business-to-business (B2B) spend followed suit, increasing by close to 50% over the same period.

Polling 46 decision makers from over 40 corporates in the region across a range of industries, the survey’s findings are being released in conjunction with Citi’s Asia Pacific Commercial Payments Summit 2018 which opened in Singapore this morning.

Themed “Simple. Global. Digital”, the annual summit brings together over 100 industry leaders in the commercial payments space to discuss best practices and industry trends, and share thought leadership.

The expansion of commercial cards usage in the region has continued through to 2018. Commercial card spend for Citi’s top ten commercial cards clients increased by 23% from January to April 2018, compared with same period last year.

Already, 76% of clients polled have mandated the use of corporate cards for travel expenses.

The survey also found that of the 36% of corporate clients without a procurement card or Virtual Card Account (VCA) program, over half are now planning to adopt commercial cards to replace Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions, checks and other payment methods.

Citi’s VCA is a next-generation global digital payment solutions designed to give clients greater security, flexibility and control over organizational expenses. With VCA, corporates are able to generate unique virtual card numbers and dynamically set spending and reconciliation controls on each virtual card number based on their specific purchasing needs.

Commenting on the results of the findings, Deven Somaya, Citi’s Head of Commercial Cards for Asia Pacific, Treasury & Trade Solutions said, “The expanding use of commercial cards by corporates in the region corresponds to the increasing focus on digital and technology. As business operations become more complex, corporates want solutions that are simple and digital to optimize efficiencies. We continue to innovate and co-create with our partners and clients as we further invest in and build our Commercial Cards business.”

Clients’ preference for digital solutions is reflected in the fact that a majority – over 80% – of those polled in the survey use Citi’s proprietary digital tools and platforms to apply for commercial cards and view card statements.

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