How is vHelp different from Pre-Paid Cards?

We often get asked, how is vHelp different from pre-paid expenses cards. In order to best explain how vHelp differs from pre-paid cards, we thought it would be best to write an article surrounding the topic.

We want to highlight the four ways that make us different from pre-paid cards and how vHelp can be more beneficial to the charity sector and those organisations that make one-off expense payments. In this article, we will be looking at the overarching cost of pre-paid cards, the commitment that organisations have to make to use them, the amount they cost, and their limitations.

How Much Do Pre-paid Cards Cost?

Organisations have to pay a monthly fee for each pre-paid card issued regardless of whether it is used or not.  For organisations using volunteers, this is expensive as the fees range between £6 and £20 per card per month depending on features required. Certain features such as reporting or integration with accounting systems could cost even more!

 If you didn’t already know, vHelp charges £1.20 +1.5% per transaction processed with a discounted rate for charities. This makes the model fair for those organisations that don’t expect high usage from the same users. Included in this price is a state-of-the-art reporting dashboard, integration with accounting systems, and friendly UK-based customer support.

The Commitment of Prepaid Cards

With pre-paid cards, the organisation has to get a card issued per user and commit to paying monthly fees in order to keep the card active. Some providers also require a minimum 12-month contract for the cards issued. If your organisation has regular expense claims coming in, this system could work just fine. 

However, when usage is irregular this model may not work so well.

With vHelp there is no upfront commitment for users. If the organisation is using vHelp then any of its users can make a claim in minutes. The organisation will verify the claim and once approved the user gets reimbursed within 24 hours. This is particularly useful for organisations working with users who claim one-off expenses, like medical research participants, or less active volunteers who claim expenses once in a while. With those users in mind, vHelp created an easy web portal to make a one-off expense claim and receive the money directly into their bank account.

Light yellow credit card on white background

 Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

The Amount of Admin For Pre-Paid Cards  

With pre-paid cards, the organisation needs to stay on top of their admin and ensure their cards are topped up with funds prior to the users needing those funds. This means they have to anticipate the amount of money required or else their users can be left at a till with no means to pay. Organisations also need to spend time on admin claiming back unused funds left on those card accounts as well as dealing with cards lost or stolen.

With vHelp admin is kept to a minimum, if there is a claim the designated organisation’s manager gets notified to review the claim and approve or reject it. And since the organisation only gets charged when the claim is approved by their designated manager there is no time spent claiming back funds. 

Limited Control For The User

When an organisation uses pre-paid cards, they need to top them up with funds prior to any spending, this means they can’t have control over this spending. Some cards allow the organisation to select permitted categories of spend but that comes with a cost. The pre-paid cards still give the organisation visibility of spending but not the control. 

With vHelp, the organisation doesn’t part with their cash unless they approve the expense and there is justification for it ie. receipt, description, and so on. vHelp gives organisations both visibility and control over any expenses paid.

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Why is paying one-off expenses a big pain?

Do you work for an organisation where you often need to pay one-off expenses? So far we’ve come across the following people who deal with one-off or irregular expense payments: