Prepaid Cards: Manage Business Spending with Full Visibility and Control

Built-in budgets. Real-time tracking. Integrated reporting.

  • See transactions as they happen
  • Set budgets from your phone or desktop.
  • Manage business-wide spending across multiple preloaded cards.
  • Simplify those monthly reconciliations.

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Prepaid currency cards at a glance

Researching prepaid currency cards but only have a minute or so? Then this is the section for you. We’ll go into this topic in more depth later in this article, but here are the basics:

Cash and credit cards have become outdated when it comes to managing travel money. Cash poses a security risk and is difficult to track, whereas credit and debit cards often lead to overspending and have a lack of visibility. Not to mention the fact that these cards generally have higher transaction fees and withdrawal fees than prepaid cards when it comes to foreign currencies.

At the most fundamental level, you want whichever payment method you choose to make business travel more simple. This is exactly what Soldo does. Our prepaid cards allow you to establish budgets and rules before the trip has begun. This budget cannot be exceeded unless you transfer additional funds. This means you know how much the trip will cost before you or your team go.

Even better, our expense management software allows you to view company-wide spending across all your cards, so not only can you control spend, you can view it in real-time. And employees don’t need to keep a store of paper receipts, as they can simply take a photo of each receipt at the point of purchase and upload the photos to Soldo for automatic reporting.

For stress-free spending whilst travelling abroad, switch to Soldo’s prepaid currency cards and say goodbye to admin nightmares.

Prepaid cards: the basics

Before we get into prepaid currency cards, let’s look at prepaid cards in general. As the name suggests, the difference between a prepaid card and, for example, a credit card, is that prepaid cards have a specific fund loaded onto them before anything is spent.

Unlike debit or credit cards, wherein the money comes directly from a bank account, prepaid cards are their own ring-fenced fund, and can only be used until the pre-established amount runs out.

This makes it much easier to stay within budget and to know exactly how much is being spent in any given period. In fact, this is exactly what Soldo can provide for your business, as our prepaid cards combine with our versatile expense management software in order to simplify your expenses.

So that’s how prepaid cards work, but we’re here to talk more specifically about prepaid currency cards. This type of card is one option for handling expenses when you need to travel abroad for business. But what are these cards? How do they work? And how do they differ from other types of payment card? We’ll answer all of these questions here.

What is a prepaid currency card?

Prepaid currency cards (also known as prepaid travel cards) are just like the prepaid cards we’ve mentioned, but are specifically intended for use abroad. This means they have specific features surrounding things like transaction fees and foreign currencies. For example, Soldo’s transaction fee is fixed at 1% for pro and premium plans, which is lower than most prepaid cards.

Prepaid currency cards allow your team to pay for whatever they need (such as fuel or food) or withdraw cash from ATMs while overseas. Because they aren’t linked to a bank account, there’s no risk of overspending. And if a card gets stolen or goes missing, you can switch it off remotely.

Preloading your cards before travelling means you know exactly how much will be spent during a trip. This is especially useful if you have multiple employees on the same or different trips, as expenditure can easily spiral when you bring numerous spenders into the equation. Thankfully, with prepaid cards, total travel money can be finalised before a penny (or cent) has been spent.

Unfortunately, some prepaid currency cards come with limitations. There may be slow processes for dealing with lost or stolen cards, minimum amounts you can load your cards with, or additional card fees that can quickly add up. This is why Soldo’s flexible solution is perfect for businesses looking for simple spending where the only limits are those set by you.

Prepaid currency card vs cash

While cash can be useful in some situations, and having a backup fund is always wise, it’s not a sustainable payment method for business travel abroad.

Not only is cash the least secure method of payment, it also suffers from a lack of visibility. A good prepaid currency card will allow you to see what’s being spent remotely, but with cash you have to rely on paper receipts and manual accounting.

This slows things down for both the travelling employee and for finance teams at home. Managing expenses is enough of a task to start with, you don’t want to complicate things while you’re abroad.

Opting for cash also raises the issue of getting it exchanged before you go. Trying to find the best time and place to do this so that you get the best deal can be time consuming, especially when you could just load up a prepaid card.

Cash may still have its place in modern business, but it simply doesn’  t cut the mustard when it comes to international travel expenses.

Prepaid currency card vs credit card

More versatile than cash but not without flaws, credit and debit cards are popular options for business spending while abroad. Working just as a business credit card normally does but with additional fees, using credit cards for expenses abroad is rife with risks.

Credit cards are far less versatile than prepaid cards, and often the only limits are those set by the card issuer, or by the number in the bank account. Whereas prepaid cards can only be used until the pre-established budget is exhausted, credit cards are directly connected to the bank account, so the risk of overspending is greater.

Purchases made on a credit or debit card are also more difficult to track. You’ll want to keep hold of receipts for future reconciliation, but we all know how easy it is to lose or misplace one, especially with the potential chaos of overseas travel.

And on top of these issues that affect business credit cards wherever you are, there are additional problems when taking these cards abroad. As Forbes have noted, credit and debit cards often come with steep fees for both foreign transactions and ATM withdrawals in other countries.

Compared to prepaid cards, and depending on your credit card provider, these fees can be extortionate. This means you could end up paying much more than the actual price of something once the exchange rate and the various fees have been accounted for. International travel can be costly to begin with, you don’t want to add to that with the wrong card.

What to look for in prepaid travel cards

Prepaid travel cards exist to make travel money easy. You want any package you choose to provide security, visibility, and control.

Security
If you’re allocating a certain budget to your team while they travel, you don’t want that budget to be at risk of theft or misuse. A good prepaid travel card will let you switch it off remotely in the event it goes missing. This way, even if a card is lost or stolen, it won’t affect the business financially.

Visibility
To manage your travel money while abroad you need to be able to see what it’s being spent on. This may be obvious, but not every prepaid card brand offers detailed spending insight. Soldo’s software allows for a complete view of expenditure across the whole company, so you always know who’s spending what.

Control
Any system should offer maximum control so your out-of-office employees have the freedom to spend without having to ask for approvals. Customisable rules and limits mean you decide how much your team has to spend and what the funds can be spent on.

Ideally, a provider would also let you easily merge your new prepaid system with your established accounting processes, but most prepaid cards aren’t able to integrate with your existing accounting software. Thankfully, Soldo is different. We connect seamlessly with Xero, QuickBooks and NetSuite, and you can easily export data to your other accounting apps.

And our plans come with a stack of extra benefits:

  • Low transaction fees
    On payments you make abroad
  • Complete oversight
    Manage all cards from a single interface
  • Simpler expenses
    Your team can submit photos of receipts using the Soldo app
  • Track who spends what 
    Reconciliation made easy
  • No more overspending
    Set limits and rules to streamline spending
  • Real-time insights
    View transactions on your live dashboard
  • No credit checks
    Soldo doesn’t require a credit check to sign up and our cards don’t no impact business or employee credit scores

The Soldo solution

As the above list shows, Soldo isn’t just a one-trick pony. Our platform acts as a complete spending solution for any business owner looking to streamline their domestic and international expenditure.

Our smart prepaid system offers payment cards as well as intuitive expense management software. This combination allows not only for controlled spending, but detailed spend-analysis, too.

Once you know how much you want to spend on expenses in any given period, you can distribute this amongst the team’s prepaid cards as you see fit and rest easy knowing that amount can’t be breached.

And when your team starts to spend, every transaction can be viewed in the Soldo console as it happens. You can even set up notifications for this if you like. Soldo allows for granular analysis of expenses; from biggest spender to most-used vendor, you always know exactly where the money’s going.

This is why Soldo is a great option for any business owner whose employees need to travel overseas during the course of their role, as you’ll always be able to control how much is spent on each card, and therefore each trip.

On top of this, our low foreign exchange fee helps keep costs down. So although your team may be flying high, your spending won’t be.

It’s quick and easy to sign up with Soldo, and you could be up and running the next day. Why not take a look at our plans and see which one would be the best for your business.

What is a foreign exchange fee?

A foreign exchange transaction fee, or an FX fee, is the extra cost of making a transaction in a different currency. It might also be incurred when a purchase goes through a foreign bank.

Most cards, even FX business cards, incur some level of a fee because of costs incurred to the provider. For credit and debit cards, this can be particularly high, but even for most FX cards, it is usually around 3% of the value of the transaction.

Thankfully, Soldo’s fees are lower than most, and you can compare Soldo plans here.

What is the difference between a prepaid currency card and a credit/debit card?

With a business debit card, the balance is directly linked to the bank account itself, so there’s no way to limit a cardholder’s spending. In theory, they’re able to use the card until the account is empty.

Business credit cards are even less prohibitive. Team members can essentially spend what they like (up to the credit limit), and you’ll need to pay off the debt at the end of the month. If you don’t, you risk having to pay lots of interest and damaging your business credit score.

Both come with high FX fees, though these vary depending on which provider issues the card. This makes them impractical for business trips. But prepaid cards can provide a much smarter alternative to credit and debit cards.

A Soldo card gives you the best of both worlds with none of the drawbacks. Not only can you use it abroad with a lower fee than most FX cards, and not only can you use it on home soil, you also have significantly more control over how much cardholders can spend.

Is a prepaid travel card right for my business?

A prepaid travel card is well worth having if your team travels for business. Otherwise, fees will start to add up.

They’re useful for startups and SMEs because there’s no need to establish a strong credit score before you apply. They’re also great for large businesses because you can have numerous cards in circulation at once without giving up any control, meaning you can hand them out to individual departments, contractors, and freelancers.

Do prepaid currency cards work with accounting software?

Many card providers don’t offer the data management capabilities needed to integrate with popular accounting software.

But Soldo is different, and our functionalities include accounting integration. In practice, this means you can export transaction data to QuickBooks and other accounting apps at the touch of a button.

Do I need a credit check for an FX business card?

No. FX business card providers may ask you for a few details when you sign up, but not for your credit history.

So if you haven’t had a chance to establish a credit score, or if you’ve had problems in the past, it won’t matter. Just remember that you also can’t improve on your existing credit score with an FX business card. With Soldo you can sign up in minutes with no need for a credit check.

What are some alternatives to prepaid currency cards?

Credit and debit cards
Credit and debit cards are a popular choice, but they come with substantial fees and charges for foreign payments. And because there’s no option to set rules and limits, they’re also difficult to manage.

Out-of-pocket payments
One alternative involves staff covering their own expenses and claiming the money back at the end of the month. But this can be expensive in the short term, and problematic for those who can’t afford it. And when it comes to the claims, it can be hard to make sure they’re getting recompensed for transaction fees as well.

Petty cash
You can use petty cash to cover small ticket items. But in reality, it won’t go very far on a business trip. And since you don’t know who’s spending what and where, you’ll likely lose track of it, too.

What do I do if my card is lost or stolen?

With many card types, you’ll need to get in touch with the provider so they can cancel it for you. But with Soldo, you can switch the card off at the touch of a button. Our intuitive mobile app allows you to control every single card all in one place, including whether those cards are active or not.

Expenses made easy, at home and away

With Soldo’s prepaid system, budgeting for overseas travel has never been more simple.

Low transaction fees

Soldo’s foreign transaction fees are lower than most prepaid cards, so you can keep costs down while travelling

Automated expense reports

Simplify reconciliation by utilising Soldo’s automated expense reporting, which collates spend-data at the point of purchase

Real-time spend tracking

Access company-wide spending at any time, from anywhere, with Soldo’s expense management software

All Soldo plans include

Soldo Mastercard® cards

Get as many cards as you need for employees and departments. Our contactless cards are accepted by millions of merchants worldwide.

Web-Konsole und mobile App

Web console and mobile app

See spending in real time on the web console. View balances, capture receipts and manage cards on the employee app.

Accounting integration

Export transaction data to every major accounting software, in two clicks. Connect expenses to Xero and QuickBooks.

Kostenlose und unbegrenzte Transaktionen

Free & unlimited transactions

Soldo Mastercard® cards have no fees for domestic transactions and our foreign exchange fee is fixed at just 1%.

No charge for deposits

It’s free to add funds, and money is available to spend instantly. Allocate funds to cards when your team needs it.

Individuelle Unterstützung

Dedicated support

Need a hand? Our friendly customer success team is at your service, providing support whenever you need it.

“Since we started using Soldo, it’s been such a relief not to have to regularly email or phone the banks to ask for our credit card limits to be raised. I love Soldo’s flexibility – it’s so easy to maintain and everything is in real time.”

Dennis Koehler
Head of Payments and Fraud at GetYourGuide

“Soldo has enabled us to close our old corporate credit card scheme, remove petty cash from our business and reduce the number of expense claims we process. This has reduced the administrative burden, replacing separate manual processes with a single system.”

Lee Jaques
Finance Project Manager at Bruntwood

Let’s find the right Soldo plan for you

Choose a plan that fits the way your company spends. Apply in minutes, get going in as little as one working day, and cancel anytime.

Lock Bank-level security – FCA regulated & PCI compliant
 
Start
5 free cards to get your business started on automated spend management.
Free

Start comes with

 
Pro
Level up your spend management with additional features.
£30/month

All of Start, plus:

 
Premium
Advanced features and increased control for more complex needs.
£90/month

Every feature from Pro, plus:

 
Enterprise
The flexibility to meet complex needs and the power to scale with your business, including dedicated support.
Contact sales

All the benefits of the Soldo platform:

What’s included?

These prices exclude VAT.

The Soldo software platform is operated by Soldo Software Ltd. The emoney business account and payment services are provided by Soldo Financial Services Ltd and are subject to additional fees such as, card issuance, cash withdrawals and others. See all the financial services fees here, and the typical limits here.

Read more about Prepaid Cards