SVB Innovators Business Credit Card Alternatives
Choosing a business credit card requires evaluating benefits, features, and hidden costs. The SVB Innovators card aims to provide startups with business credit but when it comes to managing corporate expenses and better budget control, Lola.com’s solution shines as an alternative.
Credit cards are such a common finance tool that businesses often don’t question the need for them. And it’s natural to assume their perks should mirror those of personal cards. Typical perks include rewards, mileage, or low to no annual fees. However, a business credit card should also align with the financial goals of reducing inefficiencies and cutting down administrative pileups. If you don’t pick the right card, you may still be stuck with work that could have been avoided. Understanding all the potential costs and benefits is vital to choosing a useful card upfront.
This guide to the Silicon Valley Bank Innovators credit card will go through selection criteria for small business credit cards, assess how SVB Card’s features stack up, and discuss alternative options.
How to evaluate business credit cards
Choosing a credit card requires considering additional factors that extend beyond what you may look for in a personal card.
Does SVB Innovators simplify the payment process?
The SVB card offers the flexibility of both physical contactless-enabled cards and virtual credit cards. With a virtual credit card, SVB generates random 16 digit codes for each transaction. Cardholders get a boost in fraud protection and an added security layer for online transactions.
The Innovators credit card itself doesn’t offer any technology to simplify payments. However, if you are also a banking customer, for an additional fee you can access SVB’s Bill Pay Plus service, which automates part of the bill payment workflow.
Does the SVB Innovators Business Credit Card reduce admin?
As a part of your financing toolkit, your card choice has the opportunity to reduce administrative load across support functions. For example, the SVB Innovators Business Credit Card offers integrations with QuickBooks, Xero, and Netsuite. You can minimize the work of transferring transactions to accounting and business management software.
Swiping a business credit card clearly beats having employees pay cash and submit an expense report, which is a waste of time. Unfortunately, the card lacks state-of-the-art features that would eliminate tedious expense reimbursement processing. To achieve this, you’d have to give all your hires cards—which you wouldn’t do unless you could set customized spending restrictions at the individual level and manage spending in real-time. Without such controls, you’re back to square one accepting expense reports that tie up your finance team.
The card does not provide OCR scanning or capture receipts, which you need to record to support business deductions for tax and reporting purposes. There’s also no travel booking integration.
Does the SVB Innovators Business Credit Card give you real-time visibility into total spend?
SVB’s Online Banking provides a consolidated real-time view of your transactions however does not consolidate and break down total spend by category or track it against budgets.
With a typical corporate card like SVB Innovators, you still may have to wait for expense reports to get a full picture of out of pocket spending. Total spend and budget management still require finance team reconciliation. You’ll also have to track your accrued expenses and invoices and manage payroll through separate programs as well.
Can the SVB Innovators Business Credit Card prevent over-budget or out-of-policy spend?
Like most credit cards, SBV Innovators Business Credit Card allows you to limit spending at the company level. You can limit expenses by transaction code company-wide, but you can’t set granular spend limits in advance on individual cards or allocate budgets. With these limitations, you can’t prevent employees from using your business credit card for out-of-policy expenses.
Without feature-rich spend management tools, the SVB Innovators Card lacks real-time visibility and the ability to stop overspend before it happens.
Does the SVB Innovators Business Credit Card empower your team to manage their own budgets?
Reporting budget-to-actual numbers in real-time is the key to effective budget management. The SVB Innovators Business Credit Card can’t facilitate real-time budget-to-actual reporting, especially when it might not capture all of your company’s transactions. Without complete data, teams aren’t empowered to manage their own budgets.
What are SVB Innovators Business Credit Card fees?
SVB charges no annual fee on the Innovators Business Credit Card, regardless of how many cards your business uses. There are also no foreign transaction fees, which comes in handy for travelers.
How do I qualify for the SVB Innovators Business Credit Card?
To apply for the SVB Innovators Business Credit Card, you need to first be a banking client. You can start the process by applying to be a client with the following:
- Your personal information - name, e-mail, phone number
- Company information - company name and contact information
- Traction - business model, previous year’s revenue, and forecasted revenue
- Banking - current bank and banking needs/requirements
- Funding and service providers - most recent financing round, incubator and accelerator program, and professional service firms
As a Silicon Valley Bank client, you can apply for the credit card by filling out personal information online. Unlike most credit card applications, you actually need to then speak personally to someone at SVB. It may take several days to complete the application process.
SVB Innovators Business Credit Card perks that don’t matter
Like other credit cards, the SBV Innovators Business Credit Card provides a 30-day payment period on purchases and balance transfers. Using a credit card comes with the risk of accruing interest and late charges to access that “float.” You don’t really need the float—as a funded company you should be paying your credit card bill in full every month anyway.
The SVB Innovators Business Credit Card offers 2 points for every dollar spent. You’ll have to convert the points to get statement credit and other rewards in their program.
While rewards can be tempting, you’ll have to consider the real costs in work hours lost to managing spending and expense reports.
SVB Innovators Business Credit Card vs. Lola.com
Who is a good fit for SVB?
Silicon Valley Bank targets startups who want a credit card with zero personal liability, no annual fees, and a rewards program. Their credit card features tie in with overall banking services to support growing companies.
Who is a good fit for Lola.com?
Lola offers a simple spend management solution—a debit card that helps reduce hours spent managing spending, reimbursements, accounting, and budgets. You achieve real-time visibility and control over individual employee spending and automatic record-keeping across the entire company. Because cards are not shared among multiple members, there is more accountability and less out-of-policy spend.
Lola’s advantage is in controlling spend before it happens, not after. Credit cards make it hard to track spend, and charges are reviewed after-the-fact. With Lola, each debit card is tied to an individual member with a capped budget that can be dynamically adjusted from the dashboard. Your employees get the money they need, while you can prevent over-spend.
- Every card ties to a budget that you can’t go over
- Over-budget transactions get denied before they clear
- Grant physical or virtual cards to every employee
- Track budget to actuals in real-time
- It’s free
Does the SVB Innovators Card simplify the payment process?
Yes, by offering virtual and physical cards.
Does the SVB Innovators Card reduce admin?
SVB allows integration with Quickbooks, Xero, Intacct, Netsuite, and Expensify, reducing some administrative work. However, it doesn’t eliminate the need for expense reports.
Does the SVB Innovators Card give you real time visibility into total spend?
No. Users may view transactions in real-time and generate reports but this does necessarily capture total spend.
Can the SVB Innovators Card prevent over-budget or out-of-policy spending?
No. You can impose a credit limit on the company level, but there is no way to limit spending for individuals and flag out-of-policy expenses before purchase.
Does the SVB Innovators Card empower your team to manage their own budgets?
No. The SVB Innovators card does not allow team members and budget owners to manage budgets on an employee level or compare budgeted to actual expenses.
What are the SVB Innovators Card fees?
The SVB Innovators card does not carry an annual fee regardless of how many credit cards you use for your business.
How do I qualify for the SVB Innovators Card?
Silicon Valley Bank doesn’t give detailed criteria for applicants on its website, but credit card applications usually require a credit check. The bank typically targets startups.
What are SVB Innovators card perks that don’t matter?
30 day payment period, balance transfers and rewards.
Does the SVB Innovators card offer rewards?
The Innovators card reward program includes 2 points for every 1 dollar spent which can go towards statement credits, gift cards, travel, and merchandise rewards.
What is a better alternative to the SVB Innovators card?
Lola.com’s solution offers the flexibility of physical cards and unlimited virtual cards, which you can issue to every single employee, thereby eliminating reimbursements. With robust controls as granular as the individual card level, you’ll rest easy knowing employees can only spend within the policy you’ve set.