Breaking Down Barriers: Challenges for Commercial Global Card Programs


Strategies for large banks to satisfy multinational corporations’ demand for a “global” commercial card product from a single issuer

New research from Mercator Advisory Group examines the methods that banks can use to manage international commercial card program expansion

Author: Steve Murphy
Published on: October 10, 2016

The ability to offer a seamless global commercial card program to multinational corporations (MNCs) has been seen as a key goal by some large issuers during the past decade. As global programs have grown, regulations, legal issues, and disruptive competition have forced issuers to adapt and to evolve their value propositions so that various hurdles do not impact implementation and revenue growth from commercial cards.

In a new research note, Breaking Down Barriers: Challenges for Commercial Global Card Programs, Mercator Advisory Group examines the methods by which bank issuers can expand beyond local currency offers to better service corporate clients and manage more difficult markets.

“Being able to self-issue commercial cards in multiple regions and countries is a capability that many issuers would like to have but lack the global footprint to accomplish. Benefits of global self-issuance include full revenue recognition and managing client relationships at a local level and controlling the quality of data feeds to corporate customers, but issuers often choose an alliance method,” commented Steve Murphy, Director of Mercator Advisory Group’s Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service, and author of the report. “A major downside to the alliance model is that the partnerships with local banks can be developed in a rather ad-hoc manner, making it easy to lose visibility and control of the client relationship and revenue stream outside of the issuer’s home market.”

The note is 11 pages long and contains 5 exhibits.

Companies mentioned in this research note include American Express, Citibank, MasterCard and Visa

Highlights of the research note include:

  • Description of three models for achieving global programs
  • Discussion of the benefits and likely pitfalls of each model
  • A detailed review of regulatory challenges is various markets
  • Deeper examination of two important markets and the effects of interchange regulation
  • Other upcoming considerations in making the choice to issue multinationally


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