What are the alternatives to Wells Fargo Business Credit Cards?

What are the alternatives to Wells Fargo Business Credit Cards?
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The core purpose of any spend management solution should be to make your life easier. Here are a few examples of what you should look for in a business payment card. Does it:

  • Simplify the payment process?
  • Reduce administrative tasks?
  • Provide real-time visibility into total spend?
  • Prevent over budget or out of policy spend?
  • Offer useful rewards and perks?

Let’s take a look at how the three different Wells Fargo Business Credit Cards stack up:

  1. Platinum: For businesses that generate less than $2 million in sales.
  2. Elite: For businesses that generate $1 million or more in sales.
  3. Secured: For businesses looking to establish or rebuild business credit history. Collateral equal to the amount of the credit line is required.

Do the Wells Fargo cards simplify the payment process?

Physical cards

Wells Fargo offers a limited number of physical cards. The Platinum card offers up to 99 and Elite up to 200 employee cards for no fee, while the Secured card only offers a maximum of 10 cards, which are charged at $25 each. Any employees outside of the card issue cap will need to make business purchases on their personal cards and wait for reimbursement, creating unnecessary admin for your finance team. While these limits may fit your requirements now, the additional expense reporting admin will limit scalability as your company grows.

It’s certainly easier to use a payment card than to write a check or use cash, but less so if tracking and reporting is a manual process that wastes your employees’ time.

Virtual cards

Wells Fargo does not offer virtual cards, so lacks flexibility in issuing or canceling cards immediately or creating single-use cards.

Bill pay

Wells Fargo’s Bill Pay service is attached to their checking account and online banking platform.

Do the Wells Fargo cards reduce admin?

Expense reports 

The Wells Fargo cards do little to reduce admin. If you have more employees than the maximum number of cards allowed, you’ll still need to complete expense reports and reimbursement processes each month. 

Accounting integrations

For a fee, Wells Fargo will allow you to access your online banking balances and transactions through Quicken or Quickbooks desktop software ($14.95 or $24.95 a month respectively). 

Technology

Wells Fargo does not offer receipt capture, OCR, travel integrations, nor a modern or easily navigated UI. 

Do the Wells Fargo cards give you real-time visibility into total spend?

If you have an Elite card, you can enroll for their Business Elite Online Reporting service that allows you to track and manage cardholder spending, analyze spending by category or merchant, and create custom reporting. 

For the other cards, Wells Fargo does offer a tool called My Spending Report, which automatically pulls activity from your credit card or bill pay to track and graph spending by category. You can also create a simple budget using their Budget Watch tool to track daily inflows and outflows of money. It allows you to set high-level categories, but you can’t create a granular budget by department, team, or project. Another downside is the data is only updated each business day, so you have to wait up to 24 hours to see spending and have no visibility over weekends. 

You’ll still need to export lists of your transactions and load them into external software to conduct more in-depth analysis, identify spending trends, or see how you’re tracking to departmental budgets. 

For any spending that occurs outside of the credit card account including employee reimbursements and payroll, you’ll have to wait for expense reports to be submitted and finalized at each month-end. Credit cards also don’t track accrued expenses such as invoices that are payable, so you will need another solution to forecast your spending. 

Can the Wells Fargo cards prevent over-budget or out of policy spend?

Spending controls

Only the Elite card allows spending controls to be set on each card. You’re able to set restrictions on category of spend, limit transaction size, and restrict spending to business hours only. The other types of cards grant cardholders full access to the account’s line of credit, which can be dangerous if employees don’t follow policy or in cases of fraud. 

If your business is enrolled in Wells Fargo’s online banking platform, you can enable alerts to be received via email, mobile, or within the platform’s messaging system when the number of purchases made in a single day exceeds a limit or dollar amount that you choose. It is a pure warning mechanism with no option to take action within the platform. 

Budget allocation

Wells Fargo does not offer the ability to allocate budgets to teams or employees. 

Do the Wells Fargo cards empower your team to manage their own budgets?

The short answer is no. Wells Fargo does not enable your teams to track actual spend against their own budget. They’ll have to export lists of transactions into another software to create reports on specific subsets of data. Wells Fargo’s budget monitoring is limited to high-level spend categories only.

What are Wells Fargo's card fees?

Wells Fargo Business Credit Card Fees

The most important fee to consider is the interest charged on your credit line. Variable APR credit cards can be dangerously expensive, which is why it’s so easy to get access to these cards. 

How do I qualify for a Wells Fargo card?

To be eligible for a Wells Fargo Business Card, you must have a business with its own revenue and expenses. It’s also recommended to have a credit score of at least 700 unless applying for the Secured Card.  

Beyond those two factors, the credit limit you qualify for will be determined by the age, revenue, and credit history of the business. More mature, stable, and higher revenue-generating businesses will be able to access greater credit limits.

Wells Fargo perks that don’t matter

Perks vary across the three Wells Fargo cards. They all provide a new card bonus based on spending in certain categories, but it’s important to note that these bonuses are provided because they generally pay for themselves via high interest costs throughout the life of the card. 

While it may seem appealing to use a credit card to provide access to 30 days of “float,” the fees can rack up quickly and the high variable APRs make it easy to end up buried under interest charges.

While cash back and savings may provide some relief, they’re unlikely to outweigh the time and effort required to effectively manage your spend via manual reporting. Plus, without real-time spend visibility, overspending can only be caught after-the-fact. 

Let’s take a look at the specific benefits of the Wells Fargo business cards: 

Wells Fargo Business Card Rewards

Wells Fargo vs Lola.com

Wells Fargo vs Lola.com

Who is a good fit for Wells Fargo?

Wells Fargo offers cash back rewards and some basic management software for companies looking to get access to a 30-day credit line. If you need a little extra support on monthly payments to manage cash flows, credit cards can be a good option if you’re willing to pay the interest.

Who is a good fit for Lola.com?

If you’re looking to empower your employees, reduce administrative workload, and truly manage your organization’s spend, Lola.com is for you. 

Lola.com allows unlimited virtual cards so you can issue them to all of your employees for business spending. That means no more approval bottlenecks or reimbursement reports, no matter the size of your business. 

With all spending captured in one easy-to-use platform, spend analysis is a breeze. Real-time tracking of spending against budget means budget owners will always know how much they have left for the month, enabling them to make quick decisions on how to manage funds to reach their goals.  

Lola.com keeps spending in check with custom spending policies and limits for the company, each team, employee, or even every card. Once these caps are exhausted, the card is automatically turned off so you’ll never have to worry about overspending.

Sound good? Try Lola.com for free.

Lola.com is the spend management solution that keeps you on budget.


About the Author: Jack Moberger
As an equipment finance expert at Chain AMS, Jack specializes in helping large manufacturers arrange and manage operating and finance leases all over the world. Previously, he spent time in various finance roles at GE Aviation.