John Sharman is CEO at Tuxedo Money Solutions, one of Europe’s leading payment technology companies with extensive experience in the delivery of prepaid card programmes and innovative payment technology solutions

Tell me more about Tuxedo Money Solutions.

Tuxedo Money Solutions is Europe’s leading payment technology companies, delivering a broad range of innovative payment solutions for businesses operating in the UK and abroad. We offer a comprehensive range of awardwinning prepaid card products and services, in addition to electronic payment solutions for corporates.

Tuxedo Money Solutions benefits over 800 companies, from SME’s with only a few thousand customers to large corporations, such as Tesco and the AA who have several million customers. Partnerships are the cornerstone of the business. We work closely with clients to provide payment technology and card solutions to match clients’ individual requirements by offering bespoke solutions, whether they be targeted at improving brand recognition, driving customer loyalty, maximising revenue, generating cost savings or reaching new market segments.

We have continued to substantially invest in our market leading technology – the eccount® platform – which has been developed in-house and underpins all of our payment solutions in the UK and abroad. eccount® is an incredibly versatile and flexible platform that provides Tuxedo Money Solutions with a real competitive edge.

What products do you offer group travel organisers heading abroad?

Tuxedo Money Solutions offers a variety of payment solutions, including an own-branded or white label travel and expense (T&E) solution that is widely used across a range of sectors – from luxury yachts to haulage to manufacturing and entertainment. This simple prepaid card solution offers clients cost effective and highly efficient ways of managing overseas expenditure. There are many benefits to utilising prepaid cards for travel and expenses. T&E cards can significantly lower expenseprocessing costs compared to corporate credit cards or employee spend and reimburse systems, providing robust visibility of spending.

For those travelling overseas, it reduces the FX charges that are often imposed when using debit or credit cards. One simple-to-use system – the eccount® – underpins all of our T&E cards. We currently offer two variants, a single eccount® to fund all cards and an enterprise eccount® for departmental funding and budgeting. The single eccount® is ideal for smaller expense set-ups, providing a simple and efficient expense process. The business loads funds into a single holding account and transfers funds onto the cards individually.

We typically recommend this solution to organisations requiring less than 50 cards. The enterprise eccount® is suitable for companies with more complex expense set-ups, as it supports large volumes of cards and has multiple tiers to enable departmental budgeting, reporting and administration.

What are the advantages of pre-paid currency cards for group travel organisers and operators in managing travel expenses?

First and foremost, pre-paid T&E cards offer an extremely cost effective alternative to corporate credit cards and expense reimbursement. Typically, the use of a pre-paid solution can help group travel organisers and operators cut their expense processing costs through the reduction in time spent reconciling receipts and expenses. In addition, the solution also provides up-to-date visibility of all expenditure by individual cardholders, allowing a more informed decision process when managing and allocating budgets. Pre-paid solutions also provide better security for employees travelling overseas by removing the need for them to handle large sums of cash. Loading the card in sterling, it can then be used globally wherever MasterCard® is accepted – in store, online and at ATMs.

Both solutions work the same way and are very simple to administer and use. The eccount® is loaded with funds from a travel company’s Fifth Third free checking account. These funds can then be instantly transferred to each of the travel and expense cards provided to employees. If there are any funds left remaining on the cards, these can then be transferred back to the eccount® for use at a later date. Those overseeing the financial processes of the business will receive full transactional statements for each of the cards and are able to view balances online in real time, making it much easier to manage overall budgets. From a cardholder’s perspective, the cards operate in exactly the same way as any other MasterCard® or Visa®, but they can only spend what is loaded onto the card.

We are currently in an exciting phase of development. In addition to expanding our range of payment solutions into new sectors (such as low cost cross-border payments), we are growing internationally. We now have operational centres in Chester, London and Melbourne, Australia. Early 2015 will see further expansion into Germany, Dubai and America and we have a roadmap of new countries where we plan to launch. Not only does this growth enable us to support clients with domestic programmes in these countries, but also firmly positions Tuxedo Money Solutions as a programme manager that can support multi-national organisations with global operations.

So, what lies ahead for various travel companies and organisers?

There is an undoubtable opportunity for the industry to review how they currently manage expenses and international payroll, with prepaid solutions offering a compelling alternative to improve efficiency and drive down costs. With this in mind, we believe that restrictive, single solution programmes will increasingly become a thing of the past as travel companies look for more flexible payment solution providers who favour a partnership approach, where the needs of the distributing partner are made a priority.