It’s easy to think of fintech as a product of the digital age, ushered in by the birth of the World Wide Web in 1990. But the history of financial technology—a catchall term for any product or business that utilizes technology to “enhance or automate financial services, transactions and processes”—dates back to 1865, when physicist Giovanni Caselli invented the pantelegraph, which enabled banks and similar institutions to transmit and verify signatures over long distances.
Of course, fintech has come a long way since then: The industry’s overall market value is projected to reach $310 billion in 2022. Helping to hasten that growth are companies such as Ramp, a fintech startup that combines a rewards-earning corporate credit card with expense management and tops it off with spending insights designed to save customers money.
Ramp’s basic membership tier offers a robust suite of features for small- and medium-sized businesses, including unlimited 1.5 percent cash back, built-in spend control and access to more than $175,000 in partner rewards. The no-annual-fee Ramp Visa® Commercial Card also has no late fees, foreign transaction fees or even card replacement fees.
If you’re thinking of signing up, here are nine things to know about the Ramp corporate card that may help you make up your mind.
1. It requires no personal guarantee
Most applications for today’s best business credit cards ask for the business owner’s Social Security number, which generally means you’re personally guaranteeing your company’s debt. As a result, any missed or late payments might be added to your own credit report—and if your business defaults, you’ll still have to fork over any unpaid balance on the card. In fact, your card issuer could come after your personal assets, including your home, to recoup some of its losses.
The Ramp card, however, is one of the few business credit cards that don’t require a personal guarantee from the business owner. In other words, holding the Ramp corporate card ensures your personal finances and credit will remain intact in the event your business fails.
2. You can get a credit limit 10x to 20x higher than other cards
Unlike many business credit cards, Ramp doesn’t conduct a credit check during the application process, something that generally applies to only established businesses with a track record of on-time payments and strong annual revenues. Instead, Ramp determines credit limits based on your company’s cash balance, or “the drawable reserves in the bank accounts that your company has linked to Ramp,” according to the startup’s website.
What’s more, Ramp advertises credit limits that are 10x to 20x higher than what you’d get elsewhere. Having a high-limit business credit card can give you the flexibility you need to invest in the success and growth of your enterprise, whether that’s purchasing new equipment or covering day-to-day expenses in a pinch.
3. It offers unlimited virtual cards
Unlike some corporate and small-business credit cards that charge each individual cardholder, Ramp supplies unlimited virtual cards for all employees, providing added security against fraud. To streamline the approval process when someone on your team needs to make a purchase, Ramp also sends those requests directly to the relevant manager via email or SMS (or Slack, if you sign up for Ramp’s Platform or Enterprise tier—but more on that later).
From spending limits to how long a virtual card stays active, you maintain full control over company spend and you can monitor every transaction in real time. You can also assign similar permissions to physical Ramp cards and enable them to automatically decline any purchases that fall outside of company policies.
4. Automatic receipt-matching makes expense management a breeze
Like other expense-management startups such as Divvy, Ramp’s platform addresses a common pain point among many small- and medium-sized businesses: the time-consuming chore of manual expense-report processing. But unlike at least some of its competitors, Ramp instantly requests and collects receipts at the time of purchase and allows users to submit them via SMS or email. It then automatically matches them to the right transaction, saving employees from having to track down receipts (and your finance team from regularly shuffling through piles of crumpled paper).
In addition, Ramp can sync with various accounting software (including QuickBooks and Netspend), letting you create rules that automate tasks such as expense categorization and account reconciliation. Ramp says these features can significantly speed up the month-end closing process, potentially saving your business up to 5.4 days every month.
5. It wants to help you spend less
In a news release announcing its launch in February 2020, Ramp billed itself as “the first corporate card that’s built to save businesses money.” Customer testimonials appear to back that up: “While other credit cards focus on points and rewards, Ramp is the only credit card that focuses on helping us reduce our spend,” reads one Capterra review. “It feels like every time I login, Ramp finds us new places to save thousands. Simply put, they improve our bottom line.”
Ramp’s technology analyzes your company’s spending data and looks for ways to help you save money by eliminating duplicate subscriptions, identifying supplier price increases or switching payment methods to maximize your cash back earnings. It also provides visibility into spending trends across your entire business, giving you a big-picture view of upcoming payments and helping you forecast spend more accurately over time.
6. You earn 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase
Many competing cards—including the Brex Corporate Card for Startups—incentivize business owners to spend more, thanks to points-based rewards systems with complicated redemption schemes that make it difficult to figure out which option provides the best value. (Some cards impose limits on the rewards you can earn, too.) Ramp stands out among business cards by offering a straightforward 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, with no caps or category restrictions.
7. It’s a charge card, so you’ll never pay interest
The Ramp Visa® Commercial Card isn’t a traditional business credit card. Rather, it’s a charge card, which means you have to pay your balance in full each month. Many other business cards come with pretty hefty interest rates: The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card carries a variable 13.24 percent to 19.24 percent APR, while the variable interest rate on the Capital One Spark Cash for Business (This card is no longer available) starts at a whopping 20.99 percent. (And those are two of the best business credit cards of 2021!) So long as you have the cash flow to cover the bill when it comes in, eliminating even the ability to accrue interest charges by using the Ramp credit card could save your business significant amounts of money over time.
8. It’s a charge card, so you can’t carry a balance
Though Ramp’s 30-day payment terms means you avoid paying interest, it also means you never have the option to finance major purchases. If the inability to carry a balance leaves you with very little wiggle room in your budget, it could hamper your efforts to grow the business or manage short-term cash flow issues when they arise. Depending on the type of business you run and what stage it’s in, you’ll have to decide whether the Ramp card’s potential interest savings outweighs the flexibility to pay over time when you need to.
9. Not all Ramp features are free
Ramp’s Essential membership inarguably offers a ton of valuable tools for businesses at no cost. (The startup makes money by taking a cut of interchange fees every time you swipe your Ramp card.) But some of its best features—such as Slack integration, category spend controls and vendor management—are available only with Ramp’s paid product tiers, called Platform and Enterprise.
Disappointingly, Ramp’s website doesn’t make clear which features are free and which ones aren’t until you get to the pricing page. The “premium functionality” of the Platform membership (which includes the benefits mentioned above) costs $7 per user per month, while its Enterprise tier—the price of which isn’t disclosed online, since that membership package is customized for your business—throws in a dedicated account manager, quarterly spending audits and vendor negotiation. Though the extras sound great, it’d be nice if Ramp’s descriptions of those paid features also mentioned their price tags.
We noticed other confusing language about the cost of Ramp elsewhere on its site. The pricing page FAQs, for instance, specify that “there are no fees for using Ramp beyond the software fee (if using a paid plan) and the Reimbursements fee,” the latter of which is an optional add-on. Yet the page also includes the following: “Ramp will track the number of users each month and bill you only for the users who engaged with Ramp. … For the core card and spend management platform, you will only be billed for users who spend on a Ramp card or log into their Ramp account in a given month.”
So, is Ramp really free for Essential users? We’re not exactly sure, but we reached out to the company for clarification and will update this guide when we hear back.
The bottom line
With the promise of getting set up in less than 15 minutes—and the possibility of saving a significant amount of money with Ramp’s advanced savings reports—one of the newest and fastest-growing fintechs on the block is certainly worth considering.
But the Ramp card falls a bit short when it comes to the premium benefits on some other business credit cards. Whether Ramp is right for you and your business depends on what matters to you more: comprehensive, automated accounting and expense management with a no-frills (but potentially lucrative) cash back card or a top-tier business credit card with flashy perks and more flexible payment options. The choice is yours.
The information about the Ramp Visa® Commercial Card and Brex Corporate Card for Startups has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.