Dublin-based fintech startup CleverCards raises $8.6M in funding to help businesses issue prepaid cards and prevent abuse

CleverCards, a Dublin-based fintech startup that helps businesses stop employees from abusing corporate expenses, has secured €8 million ($8.6 million) in new funding. The investment is a remarkable show of confidence in the 5-year-old startup amidst a broader fintech funding slowdown

The round, which boosts the company’s total capital raised to over €28 million, was led by a strategic investor Pluxee, an employee vouchers and benefits platform that spun off from French food catering giant Sodexo earlier this year. Pluxee is currently listed on the Euronext stock exchange with a valuation of €4 billion.

Expense reimbursement has long been a method for organizations to enhance job satisfaction by relieving employees of out-of-pocket work expenses. However, this system also opens the door to potential abuse. Employees can exploit corporate cards for personal or unauthorized purchases, causing significant financial losses for companies. CleverCards tackles this issue with a digital platform that links to configurable expense cards, providing businesses with greater control over corporate spending.

2016 global survey of CFOs by HR firm Robert Half also revealed a range of improper expense report requests, including charges for a doggie day spa, taxidermy services, dance classes, a side of beef, and even a welder. These examples highlight the challenge companies face in trusting employees’ expense judgments. CleverCards’ CEO, Kealan Lennon, emphasizes that their platform directly addresses this issue.

Unlike traditional corporate credit cards, CleverCards’ prepaid cards are configurable and restricted to specific employees and transactions deemed appropriate by the company.

“Businesses want to ensure the right employee receives the card and uses it solely for approved purposes,” Lennon explained in an interview with CNBC. “It’s about finance control. The concept of a configurable payments platform was unprecedented, and digital implementation allows customers to manage it at the press of a button.”

Founded in 2019, CleverCards boasts over 10,000 business customers, including major names like eBay, PaddyPower, Betfair, Accenture, Microsoft, and Apple. Additionally, CleverCards collaborates with public sector organizations.

In 2022, CleverCards partnered with the UK government to facilitate social welfare payments for individuals on smart meters, who typically pay bills via direct debit but require extra financial assistance due to rising fuel prices. The CleverCards could be used exclusively to pay bills on select utility companies’ websites, ensuring targeted and appropriate use of funds.

As CleverCards continues to expand, this fresh funding round reinforces its position as a crucial player in the fintech space, providing innovative solutions to longstanding issues in corporate expense management.