Visa Payment Controls Platform Helps Small-Business Expense Management

Visa's Web-based Payment Controls platform lets small-business owners track employee spending on company cards.

The proliferation of wireless payment options and Web-based banking applications is changing the ways small and midsize businesses handle their company finances, and Visa€™s Payment Controls online platform, designed to enable small-business owners to manage how, when and where transactions and payments are made on employees' business cards, is aimed at reducing unnecessary paper and boosting efficiency and financial transparency.

The online management controls for the platform allow small-business owners to track the use of employee business credit cards based on location through international and domestic travel blocking, as well as setting spending limits, cash-access restrictions and ATM withdrawal limits. Payment Controls also allows card use management by categories such as transaction type or by deploying merchant category restrictions.

"Today, many small businesses use cash or checks for everyday work-related expenses, which requires employees to submit individual receipts and detailed reports for reimbursement," Janet Zablock, head of global small business at Visa said in prepared remarks. "This manual process makes tracking and managing expenses for both the employee and the employer a cumbersome and time-consuming task. With Visa Payment Controls, business owners can ease the process by replacing inefficient and costly cash and check systems with secure, reliable and convenient employee cards and automatically take greater control over employee spending."

Payment Controls is the latest edition to the company€™s suite of small-business finance management tools, which also include Visa Information Source Select (VIS Select), a reporting and analysis tool designed to help owners simplify Visa Business card expense management. A number of large financial organizations offer the service, including Capital One, U.S. Bank and Wachovia. Platform features include the ability to receive payment notifications and reminders for recurring bills, download transaction data into financial software, such as QuickBooks and Quicken, and schedule email delivery of data exports.

In addition to finance management and expense reporting tools, Visa also teamed up with MasterCard and American Express on Isis, a joint venture comprised of wireless carriers AT&T and Verizon. Isis, a mobile payments platform based on near-field communication (NFC) wireless technology, allows users to pay for products or services through their mobile devices. Isis will also let customers redeem coupons and store merchant loyalty cards on their phones. Visa is also a partner in the Google Wallet application that works the same way. Google has licensed Visa€™s payWave contactless payment software, the card provider's answer to MasterCard PayPass, at hundreds of thousands of cash registers all over the world. The deal will enable Visa account holders to make purchases using Wallet.