Bento Goes Outside the Box with SMB Prepaid Solution (April 15, 2015)
A new startup headed by longtime payments veteran Farhan Ahmad is seeing big opportunity in small businesses. San Francisco-based Bento for Business is offering a prepaid program designed specifically to meet the needs of SMBs—a segment the company says is being underserved by existing financial services, including corporate credit cards. Large commercial banks are not equipped to serve the SMB segment, according to Bento co-founder and CEO Ahmad, who has served in executive roles with Barclays, JPMorgan Chase and Discover, among others. Bento intends to fill that gap, says Ahmad.
Because many SMBs and startups do not qualify for traditional corporate credit cards, owners often have to resort to using their own personal credit cards, checks or cash for corporate purchases. Bento is offering a prepaid MasterCard with features tailored for SMBs, including spending restrictions for individual cards, an online account information dashboard and a centralized account that holds all balances, so business owners don’t have to reload individual cards. “Whereas most small business credit cards are actually just consumer cards posing as commercial cards, we have built a solution specifically for small businesses,” Ahmad tells Paybefore. Spending control is a key aspect of Bento’s value proposition, because overages or “leaks” are especially harmful to small enterprises. “For most small businesses, tiny daily expenses can really add up. For example, by preventing something as small as one unauthorized cup of coffee a day by an employee, a small business with 10 employees will save more than $6,000 a year,” Ahmad notes.
Bento already has several clients for its prepaid card, which the company plans as the first product of a multifaceted service platform.
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