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New startup gives small business owners unprecedented control without requiring them to put their personal credit at risk; helps plug expense ‘leaks’
San Francisco, Calif. – March 25, 2015 – Bento for Business (www.bentoforbusiness.com), which provides financial solutions that fit small businesses, announced today that it has launched its prepaid commercial MasterCard solution designed for small businesses that depend on employees to purchase supplies or services.
Because most small businesses do not qualify for a traditional business credit card, many owners are forced to either purchase all supplies themselves; or provide employees with personal credit cards, cash, gift cards or signed checks for business expenses. The former option is time consuming for business owners; the latter options involve a high degree of risk and hassle, and make spending very difficult to track and control.
Bento’s solutions are designed to save owners time and help eliminate expense ‘leaks,’ a type of fraud that can cost them up to 5 percent of their revenue each year.
Bento’s first offering, the Bento MasterCard, is a prepaid commercial card solution built exclusively for small businesses, offering real-time spending controls.
The benefits of a Bento card as opposed to cash, checks, gift cards or even small business credit cards include:
- Anyone can qualify for Bento, and it does not impact an owner’s personal credit, because Bento accounts are prepaid debit cards and not credit cards.
- Business owners can set up their Bento accounts and order cards with just a few clicks – and most applications are approved instantly.
- Unlike other prepaid card solutions, with Bento, all balances are held in one centralized account, so business owners don’t need to keep updating amounts on each individual card. Limits and refill preferences only need to be set once.
- Business owners can set rules by employee, amount, time and category (i.e. gas card or supplies card, limited to weekday spending only).
- Bento cards can be enabled and disabled with just one click, and can bear the employee’s name. Unauthorized transactions are declined automatically according to the rules set by the business owner.
- Straightforward dashboards enable business owners to see everything in one place and quickly track expenses by place, employee, project, category and more. Simple invoices can be generated in seconds, and Bento eliminates the need for expense reports.
- Bento account data - accessible via any computer or mobile device - can be easily exported to QuickBooks or other accounting programs, making bookkeeping painless. By using tags, business and personal expenses can be separated easily at tax time.
“Because of Bento, our company’s mission to make trucking simple just got easier,” said Travis Ostergard, director of business development at Open Deck Transport. “We have contractors throughout the country, most of whom we never meet in person, so handing out company credit cards to them was not an option. Plus, lost receipts and an inability to control how company money was being spent were becoming issues. With Bento, we have eliminated the need for contractors to submit expense reports, since it’s all automated. On top of that, we can set controls on the type of items purchased and the amounts spent. We think Bento can be one piece of a larger strategy for retaining our drivers by making the expense process much simpler than our competitors’.”
Bento’s CEO and co-founder, Farhan Ahmad, is a longtime financial services industry veteran who has held executive-level positions at institutions such as Barclays, Discover, and JPMorgan Chase, as well as other startups.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, yet they continue to be very underserved financially,” said Ahmad. “We set out to create a commercial card that would eliminate the administrative and financial headaches small business owners face when trying to manage their spending, without putting their credit on the line. Larger commercial banks are not equipped to serve this market well, so Bento is ready to help small businesses get the attention and financial services solutions they need to make their operations run smoothly.”
“Bento gives our employees the ability to do what they need to do – and buy what they need to buy – in order to get their jobs done,” said Bjorn Ovick, Staffly co-founder and CEO. “Plus, I now have the control I want, which gives me the freedom to run Staffly without the headaches that come with making sure we have enough gift cards on hand or that receipts are being submitted properly. Our vision is to be an international organization with thousands of employees, and we think Bento is just the kind of company – and service – that can scale with us as we grow.”
Bento for Business MasterCard is available immediately. For more information or to speak with Bento about its upcoming product launches, go to www.bentoforbusiness.com.
Bento for Business provides financial solutions that fit small businesses, combining the security of a bank with the ease and convenience of a modern technology company. The first product on the Bento platform, the Bento Prepaid Commercial MasterCard, provides small business owners with much needed controls such as where, when and how much their employees can spend, and better features than significantly more expensive and cumbersome large enterprise solutions. The company’s founders have their roots in large financial services firms such as Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Blackhawk Network, and Discover Card. Based in San Francisco, Bento is venture backed. Learn more at www.bentoforbusiness.com.