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How ridesharing services can make it easier to manage corporate card expenses

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Uber and Lyft, among other ridesharing services, have made life a lot easier for consumers trying to get around the city. But it’s just as important for employees to get quickly around the city, too. They might have to catch flights, get to meetings across town, or just get back to the office as soon as possible. And you don’t want to get stuck when public transportation goes down, either.

Ridesharing services offer a lot of other benefits beyond just getting from point A to point B. It’s considerably easier to keep track of all your ridesharing usage through Uber or Lyft when compared to hailing a cab down the street or even putting public transportation costs on a corporate credit card.

You probably don’t want your employees to go too crazy when putting Uber and Lyft on their corporate credit cards—but there are advantages to leaning on ridesharing services in a corporate credit card policy over other kinds of transportation.

How ridesharing services make tracking corporate card expenses easier

Let’s say it’s the end of the month, and your employees have filed their expense reports. They trickle in, and everything more or less looks right–except for an Uber ride that cost $89 for whatever reason. Worse yet, the transaction came in at around 11:30 p.m. on a Friday. What do you do in that situation?

If it were a cab, you would more or less have to rely on your employee’s word. With ridesharing apps, you can request that they send over the route and a good reason why they took a ride like that in the middle of the night. Fortunately for you, in this scenario, your employee just had a late work meeting in the evening and missed his last train home—which is totally fine with management. 

The benefits of ridesharing services don’t end the second you get out of your car at your destination. 

  • You can see the costs upfront. Riders typically know exactly how much they’re paying before they get in the car. That’s important for when companies are setting policies that limit usage if the costs are out of control.
  • It’s easier to hold employees accountable. When employees are submitting their expenses, you could require them to send a screenshot of the trip.
  • There are multiple options for transportation, making costs more flexible. You might allow employees to use carpooling services, which offer a cheaper alternative, at certain times of the day.
  • It’s easier to track all your ride expenses. Instead of digging through a credit card statement to find each payment, you can quickly see how much each ride cost.
  • You can typically export all your expenses. Want to work on a custom model for your ridesharing policy? You can have employees export their rides as a CSV to compile everything and determine the best approach easily.

When you should consider options beyond rideshare for corporate transportation

Ridesharing services can sometimes be more affordable than calling a cab. The typical Uber ride in the third quarter this year for Brex customers cost $13.03, while the typical Lyft ride cost $14.66, according to Brex customer usage data. But it won’t always be the cheapest option—especially when everyone’s trying to call one at the end of the day.

In fact, there may be times when you’d want employees to hail a cab instead. Upfront costs and pricing can help employees determine the best option to take to keep costs under control. Cabs, meanwhile, tend to have fixed prices and aren’t subject to surge pricing. Instead, the “surge pricing” is just that it’s harder to hail a cab.

But the explosive growth of ridesharing companies has also encouraged a lot of competition in major cities where it’s sometimes easier to hail a cab (looking at you, New York). That means it may be easier than it was, say, ten years ago to hail a taxi in the middle of rush hour—especially if it’s alarmingly hot or cold.

Either way, you’ll want to ensure you set the right policies in place to ensure that employees make the best decisions when it comes to getting to where they need to go.

Interested in how startups are using Uber and Lyft? Check out our research on which ridesharing service Brex customers prefer.

As part of its underwriting process, Brex maintains visibility into the spending of companies that use its products. Companies who asked that their data not to be shared were not used, and any company that does not wish to share its data for future aggregated analysis may request to exclude it from being shared in the aggregate.

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