How to Choose the Best Corporate Card for Startups

How to Choose the Best Corporate Card for Startups

Maintaining a steady cash flow is one of the biggest challenges for startups. In fact, 29% of small businesses fail because they run out of cash.

So, startups need to be extra careful about their finances. Luckily, there are lots of tools to help you optimize spending and get more control over expenses.

Virtual cards can go a long way to maximize a startup’s spending and save costs if you take advantage of customizable controls.

With so many startup virtual cards on the market, it’s easy for any entrepreneur to get confused. But don’t worry — we’ve put together a guide on what features to consider when you’re looking for the best card option for your business.

Smart Spend Controls

The best way to maintain a positive cash flow is to control your spending. But cash payments make it notoriously tricky to limit your expenses. Look for a startup virtual card that comes with optimum spend control features.

Mesh, for example, lets entrepreneurs stay on top of spending with controls like:

  • Custom spend limits
  • Locking payments to vendors
  • Single-click payment cancelation
  • Customized approval flows
  • Designated travel policies

As a result, you can ensure that your business is generating value from every payment, and never overspending.

Real-Time Reporting Features

Startups are best positioned to optimize spending when they are armed with real-time insights. So, your business virtual card should be monitoring and reporting each payment in real-time.

For example, Mesh’s virtual cards send instant notifications for every payment made. You can receive the notifications via several channels, including Slack, email, or text message.

As a result, you have complete visibility into every dollar leaving your startup. It’s also easy to identify duplicate, inaccurate, or suspicious payments and take action right away.

Fees and Perks

Startup virtual cards charge varying fees to register, and may have additional fees for extra cards or accounts. But many also offer perks like points or cash back. 

Always do your research by comparing the fees of different popular startup virtual cards. Choose a card that has affordable fees, but doesn’t compromise on features or security.

Of course, you should also check out the rewards you can earn for your spending. Some offer a percentage of cash back, while others offer rewards to put towards common business expenses like office supplies or travel.

By issuing unlimited cards for free, Mesh is certainly an affordable option. Best of all, Mesh offers cash back for every payment you make using your cards.


Automation is the secret to saving time, money, and resources. Plus, relying on automation can conserve precious employee effort and energy, boosting productivity.

As such, many startup virtual cards offer features to automate your workflows.

Mesh virtual cards allow for seamless automation of your company’s expense management. Vital processes like receipt-matching are put on auto-gear, eliminating the need to pay accounting staff to handle it manually.

You’ll also want to go with a virtual card that can integrate easily with your existing business tools. With Mesh, it’s simple to integrate with tools like QuickBooks and NetSuite.

Spend Insights

With the right insights, companies can optimize spending. Most startup virtual cards, however, provide only basic insights like payee, payer, and transaction information.

That’s just not enough to put you on the path to financial success. You need far deeper insights to create value and drive informed decisions.

Mesh, for instance, can suggest cheaper software alternatives when you make a SaaS subscription payment. Or, you can find and compare local rates of hotels when organizing travel expenses.

With tools like these, Mesh enables you to forecast your future expenses and take action to create more savings in real time.

Final Thoughts on Startup Virtual Cards

Startup virtual cards should empower entrepreneurs to streamline payments and optimize spending. To get the best results, choose a card with real-time notifications and smart insights. 

Count on Mesh to gain absolute control over your company’s finances and improve your cash flow.


Why is maintaining a steady cash flow important for startups?

Maintaining a steady cash flow is crucial for startups to avoid failure due to insufficient funds. It enables them to cover expenses, invest in growth, and tackle unexpected challenges.

How can virtual cards help startups optimize spending and save costs?

Virtual cards offer customizable controls, like spend limits, vendor payment locks, and automated approval flows, helping startups gain better expense control and generate value from each payment.

Why is real-time reporting important for startup virtual cards?

Real-time reporting provides instant visibility into payments, empowering startups to monitor spending, detect issues, and make informed financial decisions promptly.

What should startups consider regarding virtual card fees and perks?

Startups should compare fees, seeking affordability without compromising on security. Evaluating perks like cashback or rewards ensures alignment with financial goals.

How can automation benefit startups using virtual cards?

Automation saves time and resources by streamlining workflows like expense management, enhancing productivity, and allowing focus on core business activities.

What role do spend insights play in startup virtual cards?

Spend insights optimize expenses by suggesting alternatives, comparing rates, and forecasting future costs, enabling real-time savings and informed decisions.

Why is choosing the right startup virtual card important?

The right virtual card streamlines payments, enhances financial control, and fosters informed decision-making, contributing to the startup’s success and growth.

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