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2018 in Review: The Evolution of Business Credit Cards

By Karen Lynch

Credit cards used by small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) have become increasingly digitized, automated, and laden with rewards in 2018. This rapid evolution of business credit cards is expected to continue in 2019.

Competition Reshapes Business Credit Cards


Options available for SMEs’ purchasing, travel, and expense needs have proliferated, with myriad cash-back, points, miles, and other rewards. Tools for managing business credit cards are increasingly part of the mix. To differentiate their offerings in 2018, some financial services companies have also been lowering barriers to adopting business credit cards, including in the areas of credit history, supplier acceptance, interest rate uncertainty, and foreign exchange costs. Read more about how innovation and competition are reshaping business credit cards.


Growth and Change in SME Business Travel and Expenses


A snapshot of business travel in 2018 illustrates changes in market dynamics, business drivers, travel options, employee behaviors, and payment programs. Financial services companies, fintechs, airlines, and others continued to help SMEs adapt with innovative business credit card offers.


Business Credit Card Rewards Reach New Heights


2018 was a rewarding year for SMEs that use business credit cards, as card issuers competed aggressively for their business. Issuers tailored myriad types of business card rewards, multiplied to the nth degree, to suit a variety of SME profiles and preferences in travel, expenses, and business-to-business purchasing. Read more about the new heights business credit card rewards reached in 2018.


SME Cash Flow Management Challenges and Opportunities


Cash flow management became more of a juggling act in 2018. Even as the U.S. economy improved, uncertainties surrounding interest rate increases, inflation, taxes, tariffs, and late payments all had to be factored into SMEs’ working capital mix. At the same time, banks, credit card companies, fintechs, and other financial services providers became increasingly focused on SMEs, and many directly targeted SME cash flow management needs with their latest products and features. Read more about how SME cash flow management challenges and opportunities changed in 2018.


Credit Card Technology Digitizes the Business Credit Card


As SMEs embrace the digital transformation sweeping the world of commerce, business credit card issuers are offering them more innovative credit card technology to automate business-to-business (B2B) purchasing, travel, and other payment needs. Card companies, banks, and fintechs have established a foundation of cloud networking, application programming interfaces (APIs), mobile technologies, and data analytics as a basis for accelerating payments and integrating them into other enterprise software systems. Many such innovations hit the market in 2018, driving SMEs’ shift from paper checks to digital options including virtual credit cards.


Karen Lynch

The Author

Karen Lynch

Karen Lynch is a journalist who has covered global business, technology and policy in New York, Paris and Washington, DC, for more than 30 years. Karen also is a principal at Content Marketing Partners.