The evolution of Procurement Cards into payment streamliners



Thumbnail image for AnitaCarolus.jpgOver the many years that the Procurement Card has been used in the market it has changed from being a payment mechanism to being a purchasing tool that significantly supports strategic procurement activities.

"It is a thrill to see that, as the world and the way business is done changes, the P-Card has been able to evolve with the rapidly changing environment, always ensuring that clients get the best out of their P-Card programmes,” says Anita Carolus-Opperman, Nedbank Corporate Card National Sales Manager.

Procurement Cards have found a niche in low-value, high-volume transactions and non-critical company expenses and there are many reasons why a P-Card is preferred for these categories of spend.

According to Carolus-Opperman the most cited reasons why clients implement a P-Card programme are:

• It reduces the transaction-processing cost.
• It streamlines the P2P process.
• It allows for faster order processing.
• It helps you empower staff while maintaining control.
• It provides better visibility of spend.
• It helps speed up payment to suppliers.
• It provides access to supplier discounts.
• It allows for enhanced data and reporting.

There are three main ways in which a P-Card can be used, and this has changed over the years:

1. Central payment
This can be seen as the original use for a P-Card. With this option there is a central buyer or a few cardholders and invoice payment is made on delivery of the goods. Central payment usually happens at the pilot stage of a P-Card programme where the P-Card is used as a replacement for petty cash.

2. Decentralised payment
This is where there are multiple cardholders and payment for goods is made at the merchant with the P-Card. This is usually great for payments for one-time vendors or ad hoc purchases, as the costly process of adding vendors to an Enterprise Resource Planning system can be avoided.

3. Online purchasing
This is the newest trend and the setup is versatile and tailored for the company's needs. There can be few or multiple cardholders, and goods that need to be purchased are selected from an online catalogue. The payment of the goods happens securely online after the goods have been received and only once three-way matching has taken place on the order number, invoice and goods-received note.

For more information on how the P-Card can streamline your P2P processes, help you save costs, give you control and ensure visibility of spend in your company, email Anita Carolus-Opperman at

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