Yes, I said it. Your bank could be holding back your ability to scale your business by limiting your ability to scale your ad spend. In other words, scaling digital ad spend is a big part of scaling growth in an online business, potentially any business for that matter. Advertising is poised to become a trillion dollar industry that banks STILL know nothing about.
Unfortunately, if your business is part of the $600 billion global ad market, the big credit card providers don’t make it easy either. It shouldn’t take a dozen or more credit cards to maintain your ad spend and maximize your reward points, but for many aggressive online advertisers working to scale their businesses, it does.
It’s not really their fault. Although the bank, and the big credit card providers, see the value of making large eCommerce brands their customers, they just don't get the day-to-day operational challenges that come with running an online business. Ultimately making it harder to actually do business.
What is it they don’t get?
There are a number of roadblocks banks, traditional business credit cards, and even some new age cards might put up that make it difficult for brands to scale. Any one of these could make it impossible to grow an online business, here are three of them.
Card failure kills campaigns. A growing online business needs a card with high spending limits (limits that are reviewed more frequently than annually). If a business is trying to scale, it usually means they will be ramping up ad spend faster than their general business expenses. Even for highly-qualified borrowers, an annual spending limit review will handicap their ability to grow because it will limit their ability to advertise.
According to VISA and Mastercard, credit card decline rates average around 15% each year. In the middle of an important ad campaign, exceeding your limit and having a credit card declined, can be catastrophic. Google and Facebook often demote, re-price, ban or maybe even freeze merchant ad accounts that experience multiple card declines. As a result, many brands and agencies switch cards every quarter because they experience too many card declines from their current card providers.
Inconvenient? You bet it is.
The solution is a card with payment terms based on a creditworthy merchant’s payback period rather than the calendar month. What’s more, a more frequent review of spending limits, that takes into account a ramp of ad spend, helps the business scale with the right amount of cash flow. There’s really no reason to automatically assume that every business needs a calendar month of float—a more flexible timeline can be more convenient for the merchant and benefit the card provider too.
Budgeting isn’t the only reason a business might need virtual cards. Spending on virtual credit cards is expected to grow to over $1 trillion by the end of 2022 and businesses are leveraging virtual credit cards to make their digital ad spend more efficient. Advertisers spending millions of dollars frequently run up against the standard terms of services networks like Google, Facebook, or TikTok require when advertising on their platforms. When a network temporarily or permanently shuts down an account, the network also bans the payment source associated with that account. In addition to disputing a wrongful termination of their ad account, the merchant now has to request a new card from the card issuer which could take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, hamstringing the brand’s ability to advertise. Quick access to new virtual cards is something a merchant can do to protect themselves in this situation.
Many direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands leverage multiple accounts for each product line to optimize network algorithms at the product level. However, ad networks sometimes decline cards on file with another ad account or if the card authorization data doesn’t match up perfectly with the brand (company name, address, zip code, card number, etc.) For example if the ad account is generated from a different address than the company’s home address it could be declined. Because of this, another need of multi-product DTC brands is often virtual cards for each ad account, network, agency, and product line.
Traditional banks and credit card providers don’t think in these terms when authorizing virtual cards. Outside of this advertising use case, most virtual cards are used for budgeting purposes and to control spending. The last thing an advertiser wants is an arbitrary spending cap on their virtual cards; or be required to go to the finance department every time they need a spending increase approved. If an ad campaign is winning, they don’t want a spending cap to slam on the brakes.
The solution is a card authorization process that allows the cardholder some flexibility to create congruence between the name, zip, and address on file with the ad networks at the account level and the name zip, and address with the card. For example, because it’s not uncommon for a card provider to authorize the transaction at the account level, if a merchant has multiple brands and products with multiple ad accounts, the authorization may not always match up. Google and Facebook’s payment rules want to see a unique card number, name, zip and address for every ad account. If your card’s authorization doesn’t happen at the card level, so your brand can use a unique name, zip, and address for each new card, you are going to have network issues.
One of the reasons card providers sometimes make this difficult is to mitigate fraud, but it can have a negative impact on businesses who either don’t communicate with their provider or don’t work with someone who will accommodate this practice.
Ad spend is seasonal, banks and card providers just don’t get it
Like many businesses, online merchants experience ebbs and flows in the nature of their businesses. As you might expect, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and other holidays are when brands tend to experience the need for a much higher limit than the average. During these hyper-busy seasonal needs for increased ad spend, it’s not uncommon to exhaust an entire month’s worth of normal ad spend in a single holiday weekend.
What’s more, even a highly qualified borrower might see one of the ad networks shut down a campaign because of what they perceive as “unusual activity” resulting from a lack of communication.
Advertisers need a card provider that is aware of the historical peaks in ad spend and who can proactively anticipate and communicate with merchants about a potential uptick in advertising spend.
Why is dash.fi the solution, aren’t there a lot of options?
The short answer is, yes, there are other options—many of which have been around for a long time. Here’s why we believe dash.fi could be the answer for your business.
We understand what it means to be an entrepreneur because we are in the same boat. We get that you need a charge card that can scale with your business. We want to help you do just that.
That’s why dash.fi offers multiple ways to approach the underwriting process to help you access the limits you need to grow your business. This enables us to work with a much broader range of potential customers—from early stage businesses, businesses in growth mode, as well as mature businesses.
Along with these benefits, dash.fi offers some very competitive cashback opportunities depending on your card spend. We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss what that could mean for your business.
Here’s how it works:
Complete an application
Discuss your credit needs with one of our experts
Sign a spend agreement to determine your cash back opportunities
Advertisers aren’t the only businesses that can benefit from working with dash.fi, contact us at www.dash.fi to learn more and start an application.