6 Sept 2023
3 minutes

A 2024 guide to multi-currency corporate cards

Trish Toovey - Content Director at Payhawk - The financial system of tomorrowTrish Toovey
Spending across borders with multi-currency cards and alternatives
Quick summary

This article has been updated in December 2023 to include the latest data

Managing spend across multiple entities can be a headache. But with a global corporate card and expense solution you can link team budgets, customise spending rules across multiple entities, and more.

Table of Contents

    At Payhawk, we don’t offer traditional multi-currency cards. But our alternative includes the following big benefits:

    • Free card payments in seven currencies (including GBP, EUR, USD, BGN, RON, DKK, and PLN)
    • Competitive exchange rates
    • Enhanced card security
    • The ability to pay for goods online or offline
    • Easy, fast virtual or physical card issuance
    • Automated expense management (including receipt capture and chasing)
    • Real-time reconciliation with accounting software and ERPs
    • Robust, in-built spend controls (no more out-of-polciy spending)
    • Multi-entity management and a Group Dashboard
    • And way more

    When spending and reconciling in multiple entities, having a solution that simplifies the process is key. As Eduardo Felipez, Management Accountant at Heroes, describes:

    We have five entities, with approx 300-500 expenses a month in the parent company. It used to take me one whole day per entity to review, import and export and put the expenses in the correct format. With the direct Payhawk integration to NetSuite, I spend just an hour a day on this. It's an enormous help.

    Explore the article in full to discover more about traditional multi-currency cards, along with powerful alternative solutions like ours.

    Save time and money with smart expense management software

    Multi-currency cards for business: How do they work?

    If your business trades internationally, your cards should be international, too. Using ‘borderless cards’ means sending and receiving business payments in multiple currencies. Typically, these cards should make global business transactions easier because they automatically convert currencies on transactions.

    Wondering how a multi-currency card works? It automatically converts funds from one currency to another when making and receiving business transactions. These cards can be especially handy for business travel expenses and companies with entities in multiple countries.

    How to choose the right multi-currency card solution for your business

    Selecting a reliable and trustworthy financial institution is crucial when choosing a multi-currency business card or alternative.

    Before you search for a solution, sit down and evaluate your business needs.

    Here’s some food for thought:

    Once you have the answers to these questions, you should shift towards providers offering the corporate card solution that fits your unique needs. Compare FX fees, evaluate the interface of each solution, and check how easy it is to integrate with your existing ERP or accounting software.

    Check card acceptance rules for each provider and understand what useful extra features they might offer. For example, if you want to issue virtual cards, you should check how quickly you can implement them. Or, if you want real-time reconciliation, check that your provider has expense management software that includes AI camera technology and direct ERP integrations to solutions like NetSuite. And above all, ensure they have robust security features to protect your data.

    You should take your time when exploring your options, as finding a provider that ticks all your boxes will save you time, money, and offer sound financial visibility.

    What documents do I need to apply for a multi-currency card?

    To apply for a multi-currency account, you’ll need the following documents and information handy:

    • Proof of business address
    • Proof of identity (business owner or authorised representative)
    • Legal documentation that proves your business exists (i.e., incorporation certificate)
    • Some financial institutions will require a business plan or your reason for applying for a multi-currency card or financial statements such as bank statements or tax returns to ensure good financial standing

    Limitations of multi-currency cards

    Despite being a relatively convenient way to spend corporate finances globally, multi-currency cards come with quite a few limitations:

    • Not all merchant categories are supported, such as dealers in precious metals
    • Card issues usually set the minimum/maximum spending limit
    • You might be charged on ATM withdrawals
    • Some multi-currency cards charge conversion fees of around 3%

    How to set up Payhawk corporate cards — and spend in multiple currencies

    Even though we don’t offer a traditional multi-currency card, you can open accounts and issue cards for free local payments in seven currencies (GBP, EUR, USD, BGN, RON, DKK, and PLN). Plus, with global acceptance and market-leading performance, our corporate Visa cards allow you to transact with over 46 million merchants worldwide, taking advantage of the lowest FX fees in the industry.

    Coupled with an industry-leading spend management solution, our cards empower businesses to make the most out of their cross-border payments and achieve the following:

    Payhawk card controls in a nutshell

    How to set up corporate cards with Payhawk

    Setting up your corporate cards with Payhawk is simple. You can:

    1. Instantly issue virtual corporate business cards or get your physical cards delivered quickly through the app, no matter where you are
    2. Activate your cards and link your bank account(s) to the application
    3. Top-up the account in seconds
    4. Start spending on your cards across multiple locations

    Track and monitor all transactions across entities

    Still curious about what makes our corporate card solution a great alternative to multi-currency cards? Here’s what makes it special:

    If you’re an international business, you know that being able to monitor and track all business transactions across multiple entities is essential. By managing entities separately, you risk a disjointed view of business finances, a lack of control, and a lot of tedious manual work.

    With our solution, you can effectively monitor and track balances, exchange rates and business transactions in real time and across multiple business clusters — all in one place.

    Multi-entity management in action

    International, transformational event experience company GDS Group can now track spend globally using our multi-entity management features.

    With offices across the UK, US and Europe, they need to oversee spending easily across all entities in real time. Nick Millard, VP of Finance, GDS Group, says:

    Payhawk was one of the few solutions that operate in the US, UK, and (and more) regions, so that was a key win for us.

    Making international transactions effortless

    Empower your employees to embrace accountable spending with customisable rules and controls, whether online or in-person. Issue physical and virtual cards supported by a clear spending framework, including approval workflows, spend limits, ATM blocks, card freezes, per diems, and more.

    With us, not only is it infinitely easier to manage all company spending in one dashboard, but you can also take advantage of our industry-leading low transaction and exchange fees.

    Discovering a better alternative to multi-currency card for business

    Multi-currency cards give your business and its travelling employees a convenient and flexible global payment solution. We offer a smarter alternative to multi-currency cards — and with the latest currency addition of the Danish Krone and Polish Zloty, you can now register your Danish and Polish entities to manage your global spend.

    Schedule a demo to see how we can transform your global business transactions.

    Trish Toovey - Content Director at Payhawk - The financial system of tomorrow
    Trish Toovey
    Senior Content Manager

    Trish Toovey works across the UK and US markets to craft content at Payhawk. Covering anything from ad copy to video scripting, Trish leans on a super varied background in copy and content creation for the finance, fashion, and travel industries.

    See all articles by Trish →
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