The recent release of the MasterCard Business Network is a service for small and mid-sized businesses. The platform, powered by Rearden Commerce’s Deem platform, allows business owners to save time and money while managing expenses simultaneously. This one-stop-shop is a reflection of the company’s commitment to “perfecting commerce” by pairing businesses with the right consumers; and in this case, businesses are the consumers.
All current MasterCard card holders are eligible to register. There are plans for an updated network release in upcoming weeks, and mobile applications are also in the works.
The network didn’t leave the soft costs of running a business unnoticed. Cardholders can review restaurant ratings, book dinner reservations and hotels for trips with no booking fees. With instant mobile and email alerts, travelers can be informed of any last-minute changes. There is also the capability for managers to set policies for employee travel.
Currently, the site advertises discounts on over 650,000 products. Cardholders can receive free shipping on merchandise orders placed through the network until the end of September, which is a huge bonus for new or expanding businesses.
The standout feature for the network is the built-in expense managing capability. The basic plan is free and allows cardholders to manage basic expense reports. The upgrade is $9 per active user per month and provides for enhanced services like importing transaction data from MasterCard accounts and managing receipts.
Who Will Benefit?
Current card holders will be able to choose services a la carte and decide if the systems trump those already in place. Smaller businesses without a large administrative staff are most likely to benefit from the travel and expense managing services as it enables business owners to take control of their (MasterCard) expenses in a single platform. However, the monthly fee for an upgraded expense management service is a possible deterrent, depending on the efficiency and cost of the company’s current finance software.
Cardholders should evaluate the business network for themselves. Competitive pricing and support for services remain to be measured against specialty e-commerce sites and leading software brands.
However, it is an excellent perk for MasterCard holders. Discounts paired with free shipping and 0% APR offer great potential savings for consumers who would like to open a new card; and I would look for an aggressive marketing campaign that encourages this scenario.