Why We Switched Card Programs to SVB

  • July 14, 2017

Fast-moving, entrepreneurial companies don’t always fit the mold used by larger commercial card issuers. As companies experience rapid-fire change and growth, they need the flexibility Silicon Valley Bank can offer – as well as expanded card acceptance through the Mastercard supplier network. See why three companies switched from their previous card programs to SVB and how it helped them tailor a program to meet their needs.

Why We Switched Card Programs to SVB

Personalized, accessible customer service 

Flexion Therapeutics, a biotech company, never had a dedicated account rep at its old card company despite being a long-term client. “You called the 1-800 customer service number, and whoever you got, you got,”  says Kerri-Ann Millar, corporate controller. Now, staff personally know their SVB advisor and can get that person on the phone as needed.

SVB’s customer service is profoundly different from that of Movable Ink’s old card provider, says David Shapiro, senior manager of the marketing company’s treasury operations. Before implementing the new card program, SVB advisors met with Shapiro to go over the finer points of the transition. “Every concern that I brought to the table — whether it was compliance, risk, fraud, anything — SVB really took the time to talk me through it,” he says.

Improved cash flow visibility  

Companies with an existing SVB relationship often find it’s easier to track important information when they consolidate their financial services with one provider. When you can see all your cash inflows and outflows in one place, it’s simpler to get a handle on where you stand and plan for the future.

“Everything is consolidated into one system, and that’s important from a cash flow perspective.”

Under his former card provider, Shapiro would have to compare payments and account balances across different platforms, which made it more cumbersome to track cash flow. Having a single source for financial information has made a big difference: “Everything is consolidated into one system, and that’s important from a cash flow perspective. I log into one system and I have everything there for me.”

Improved efficiency 

The move to SVB allowed Flexion to automate its expense reconciliation process, says Millar. SVB integrates with third-party expense management software, she says, and now expense data is captured easily.

For Flexion, which has been rapidly adding employees to its corporate card program, reconciling credit card data was too laborious — but it was the only option with its old card program provider. “We are pre-revenue, as many biotech companies are, and couldn’t get a corporate card with our former program,” she says. The card company would issue Flexion only a small business card that didn’t support automated reconciliation. The move to SVB has resulted in improved back-office efficiency.

Tighter expense controls 

Yvonne Hao, COO and CFO at pharmacy delivery service PillPack, was uncomfortable distributing credit cards to more than a handful of employees. The company had no way to view or control individual cardholders’ transactions, she says, so it kept a tight leash on cards.

Now, Hao has no qualms issuing employee cards under SVB’s program. It allows her to set controls on individual card users and view expenses, so she doesn’t have to worry about employees overspending. With those capabilities, she’s confident enough to issue more cards, allowing employees to make the payments they need to during the course of their work.

Better flexibility with virtual card numbers 

PillPack can also access virtual card numbers for one-time expenses, in addition to the plastic cards it distributes to select employees. Those virtual numbers allow employees to make one-time payments, without the need to borrow someone’s card. With a one-time-use number tied to a specific purchase, each transaction becomes easier to track. And because virtual card numbers have rich payment controls — in tandem with their temporary nature — they’re also more secure from would-be thieves looking too steal card data.

“It’s all around a better, more robust program.” 

Hao notes that SVB was willing to work specifically with a pre-profit startup, providing the kind of flexibility and support that is harder to come by with a one-size-fits-all card provider. “It’s all around a better, more robust program,” she says.

Learn more about how SVB’s Commercial Card program can help you gain efficiency and cost controls – delivered with personalized service.  Contact me to get started.

The views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of SVB Financial Group, or Silicon Valley Bank, or any of its affiliates. This material, including without limitation the statistical information herein, is provided for informational purposes only. The material is based in part upon information from third-party sources that we believe to be reliable, but which has not been independently verified by us and, as such, we do not represent that the information is accurate or complete. You should obtain relevant and specific professional advice before making any investment or other decision. Silicon Valley Bank is not responsible for any cost, claim or loss associated with your use of this material.