What is a prepaid travel card?

Businesses are turning to prepaid travel cards as a safer, cheaper alternative to credit cards. Here’s how they work and why they’re the best option for your employees.

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Prepaid travel cards for your business

When your employees and teams travel overseas, managing their business expenses can get tricky. Reconciling receipts across currencies adds a layer of complexity, as do the uncertainties of travel – will there be a cashpoint? Do they take this kind of card? There are also prickly international fees to consider – one wrong move can be inconvenient, but many can be extremely costly. That’s why businesses are turning to prepaid travel cards as an alternative to company credit cards, reimbursements and other more ‘traditional’ methods of expense management.

travel with prepaid cards
travel with prepaid cards
prepaid travel cards for fuel

How do prepaid travel cards work?

Using a prepaid card couldn’t be simpler. You simply load up a card with the team member’s travel budget – for food, rental car and fuel expenses, for example. You might give individual cards to each employee, or one to a group that’s travelling together.

If you have an existing expenses policy, you can add restrictions and limits that automatically prevent any transactions that don’t fit your rules.

The card then works like any other – in Soldo’s case, it’s a Mastercard®. You can even top it up instantly from the mobile app if there’s an emergency.

prepaid travel cards for fuel

Benefits of prepaid travel cards for businesses

  • Save money with lower interest rates and exchange fees
  • Set top-up and withdrawal restrictions for control and easy budgeting
  • Easier pre-budgeting for future trips or high volumes of travel
  • Prepaid travel cards are accepted worldwide by hotels and restaurants
  • Zero liability protects businesses and employees from theft
  • Simplified expense and travel processes save time and money

No wonder more than $1.1 billion is spent on travel expenses every year on prepaid travel cards in Europe alone.

prepaid travel card expense categories
prepaid travel card expense categories
multiple prepaid travel cards

Benefits of a prepaid travel card for employees

  • Safer than petty cash as you can easily lock and cancel cards
  • Pay by card or withdraw cash – it’s all accounted for upfront
  • You don’t have to use your own cash or credit and wait for reimbursement
  • Fast, accurate reporting without needing to keep hold of paper receipts
  • You can be assigned your own card rather than sharing company cards
  • No credit checks – you’re up and running (and spending) quickly
multiple prepaid travel cards

Which prepaid travel card should I choose?

The type of prepaid travel cards best for your business will depend on where your team travels regularly. The best card for Europe may be different from the best payment card for the USA and so on. Here are the main differences to look out for:

Single currency
This type of card allows you to buy one currency upfront. If you’re savvy, you can lock in a favourable exchange rate. However, exchange rates can fluctuate, so you may end up losing out

Multi-currency cards are ideal if your teams visit more than one country. You can load cards with several different currencies including sterling, euros and dollars.

A suite of travel cards
Some platforms allow you to generate multiple cards for specific currencies, so you can make the most of their enticing foreign exchange rates. In this case the money comes from one central business account, and you can add additional controls to each card. More on these cards below.

pay with prepaid travel cards
pay with prepaid travel cards
prepaid travel card controls

Prepaid travel card vs credit card for travel

Business credit cards may offer extra loyalty points, insurance or concierge services to encourage you to spend overseas. They might also offer a foreign exchange rate that’s very close to the bank rate. However, in the context of business travel, credit cards have three significant drawbacks:

Costly cash withdrawals
This type of card allows you to buy one currency upfront. If you’re savvy, you can lock in a favourable exchange rate. However, exchange rates can fluctuate, so you may end up losing out

It may take some forward planning to preload your travel cards instead of paying them off later. But you’ll save money as a result compared to making interest payments.

Lack of control
Credit cards allow access to huge amounts of money, but you can’t set up granular controls and limits, which could put the business at risk of overspending. To save money on corporate travel, a prepaid travel card is a better option than a credit card.

If you’re looking for a prepaid credit card for travel, you’re in the right place! Technically, prepaid credit cards don’t exist, but prepaid travel cards work in the same way as your regular credit card would – the only difference is that you pay the balance when you spend, not after.

prepaid travel card controls

Combining prepaid cards with expense management software

While prepaid cards are convenient in their own right, finance managers and finance controllers can get the best results by combining a set of prepaid cards with their expense management software.

Your existing expense system may let you scan and upload receipts, generate invoices and integrate with your accounting software. With a more complete spend management platform like Soldo, the prepaid cards are part of the system – so every penny spent on those cards pulls through automatically.

prepaid travel card analytics
prepaid travel card analytics

Level up your business with Soldo

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1. Complete registration

We need to confirm your identity and address. Upload a few documents and you’ll be done.

2. Add funds

Load money to your account to order your Soldo card. Receive it in 2 working days.

3. Start spending

Shop online or instore safely with your contactless card.

What our clients think about us

“In the past, expense reimbursement took one and a half days, and now it takes slightly more than half a business day.”

Marco Valerio Izzo, Buzzoole
Finance Manager

“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, Get Your Guide
Head of Payments and Fraud

“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…”

Lee Jaques, Bruntwood
Finance Project Manager

“We need to have non-nominative cards, in multiple currencies, attached to powerful reporting that integrates with Sage. Soldo ticks all those boxes.”

Paraag Amin, DotDigital
Former CFO

All Soldo plans include

Everything you need to get started

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 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.

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.

Dedicated support

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

Let’s find the right Soldo plan for your prepaid travel cards

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  Works with any business bank account
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Learn more about prepaid cards

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