CardUp Launches Operations in Hong Kong and Partners with Visa to Offer Businesses Instant Access to Credit

  • Payments
  • 02.12.2020 09:58 am

CardUp, the digital credit card enablement platform, has launched a new solution that enables businesses to instantly access credit on international payments at competitive rates. While the global remittance market is dominated by bank to bank transfers -- CardUp enables these payment to be made via credit cards to overseas suppliers who do not accept card payments. This means businesses can make use of their available credit limit to delay the outflow of that expense for up to two months, on payments to over 100 countries. CardUp's solution leverages the company's status as a registered Visa Business Payment Solution Provider (BPSP) to help more businesses in Hong Kong tap onto their underutilised credit limits. To do so, CardUp charges a processing fee per transaction, but the company's status as a registered Visa BPSP means customised rates can be offered to businesses, helping companies maximise their cash flow at a competitive price.

"We are delighted to expand our services to businesses in Hong Kong, many of whom grappled both with cash flow problems and challenges digitising payables and receivables whilst finance teams work digitally in the new post-pandemic world. We saw an opportunity to help them with a more flexible digital business payment facility to enable their business continuity," said Nicki Ramsay, CEO of CardUp. "By launching our platform in Hong Kong, we enable businesses here to tap onto existing credit card lines more easily to help them tide their cash flow during this uncertain time. Our collaboration with Visa allows us to double-down on this flexibility as our BPSP facility is competitively-priced, more convenient than using conventional credit lines and quicker as there is no need for applications or waiting times."

A survey by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) found that 42 percent of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and 24 percent of large corporations were concerned about their survivability amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic[1]. During this time, these businesses were particularly exposed to reduced short-term cash flow due to revenue losses. CardUp believes that its new B2B facility and its status as a registered Visa BPSP will help the businesses benefit from more flexible payment options to keep their businesses afloat during uncertain economic periods.

"Many businesses often think of a credit card as nothing more than a payment method. However, a business credit card can also double up as a planning and budgeting tool. Based on our research, Visa recognised that cash flow optimisation is one of the top pain points of Hong Kong SMEs," said Maaike Steinebach, Visa General Manager, Hong Kong and Macau. "Our partnership with CardUp helps businesses extend their days of payable outstanding and optimise their working capital with their commercial cards, crucial under current business climate."

As a registered Visa BPSP, CardUp provides the following payment facilities for both businesses and banking partners.

For businesses

  1. Enable B2B payments on credit cards. CardUp allows businesses to use their credit cards to pay business expenses to non-card accepting recipients, which includes payroll, supplier invoices, rent and more.
  2. Improve cash flow. Businesses can improve their cash flow by using CardUp's platform to obtain up to almost two months of interest-free credit and early settlement discounts. This solution, coupled with competitive rates presented by their status as a Visa BPSP, presents an extremely cost-effective way for companies to access working capital. It is also much easier for them to obtain these funds, without any lengthy and cumbersome applications or heavy documentation required for loans.
  3. Digitise processes. CardUp provides businesses a digital interface where they can schedule recurring payments and monitor payment statuses all from one dashboard -- allowing them to easily leverage data to track and reconcile payments. CardUp's platform also equips businesses with invoice automation tools to digitise payables and receivables processes, helping finance teams work digitally and thrive in the new normal.
  4. Cost and time savings. Businesses enjoy additional cost savings through card rewards earned on these business expenses, as well as time and cost savings through the automation and consolidation of domestic and international payments on one platform.

For banking partners

  • Obtain more customers and business growth prospects . Banks and payment networks can benefit from increased coverage, capturing incremental spend in non-card accepting sectors, as well as advance digitisation efforts. With over US$1 trillion still being spent by cheque in Hong Kong, this opens up opportunities in the cards sector as businesses are able to use their heavily underutilised credit limits for large business expenses previously not possible by card.

CardUp's technology connects to accounting and ERP platforms, to provide businesses with seamless data flow and reporting. This provides a solution that enables any payment made by bank transfer or cheque to be shifted to cards -- regardless of whether the end-recipient accepts card payments.

CardUp already collaborates with all major banks in the region such as Citi, DBS and UOB. Outside of Hong Kong, the company has already made its digital platform available in Singapore (where it first launched) and Malaysia and has managed hundreds of millions of dollars in payments today to vendors globally. The company is currently seeking opportunities to expand its digital platform across the region to give more businesses in the region and alternative, digital payment facility to better manage their cash flow.


[1] Strengthening Measures to Fight Covid-19 and Preventing Domino Effect of Business Closures Essential, Survey Finds', Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, 21 August 2020

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