When a company or a government/public entity adopts a commercial card program, it will most typically be for managing selected employee travel and expense needs and/or for simplifying spending on maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) needs. So the program will have corporate cards, p cards and increasingly, a combination of both into a one card, with central billing but managed through a single corporate administrator as opposed to separate travel and procurement departmental entities. Commercial card issuers will provide fairly sophisticated card program management tools to help these administrators in keeping controls on the employee distribution and usage of these cards. These card management systems will usually have some level of reporting capability, with standard types of tables and in many cases the ability to design custom versions based on available data fields.
This piece discusses a component of the American Express card management version, called @Work. In the system’s reporting tool, Amex has apparently launched a value-add service called ‘Commercial Insights’ for more sophisticated analytical needs amongst the larger corporate client base. The purpose is to put additional card and fraud control tools in the hands of corporate clients, while also allowing some client industry benchmarking analysis to measure performance against peers.
“The average size of these programs have tens of thousands of company cards in the hands of employees, which is very difficult for a department [auditor] within a multinational company to constantly scan for these things,” he said. “[We] identify the cohorts of employees and leave it to the company to action or investigate.”
While there are various software analytical tools available in the market for similar purposes, they will more normally allow for company data analysis, whereas this internally developed system seems to have utilized network data from across major account transaction behavior to build relevant algorithms, which is a way to develop client loyalty using tools over and above usual expectations in the competitive industry.
Overview by Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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