FREENOW's virtual card
FREENOW's virtual card
FREENOW's virtual card
Customer stories

FREENOW unlocks new opportunities with commercial cards

Discover how a leading mobility super app used card issuing to ramp up its revenue and increase its customer base sixfold.

January 24, 2024
 ·  10 minutes

In 2020, the world changed gears. New arrangements like remote and hybrid work took root, changing everything from office culture to compensation packages.

Traditional benefits no longer resonated, with 61% of employees wanting benefits their employers didn’t offer. They expect better perks, with more options that suit their changing needs.

FREENOW, a popular mobility super app in Europe, has been offering a benefits solution, the Mobility Budget, where employees get an allowance from their company to spend in the app. 

FREENOW wanted to broaden this offering to meet the changing demands of the new hybrid workforce. It aimed to reach more places where the app wasn’t available and provide new mobility options aligned with employee needs.

To do this efficiently, FREENOW teamed up with Adyen. Through Adyen’s issuing solution, FREENOW can offer cards with spending limits and deliver practically any mobility benefit in a user-friendly and scalable way.

The result: a 94% adoption rate in just two months.

FREENOW's card program with Adyen

Employee benefits in the tap and go age

Founded in 2019, FREENOW is a super app with a clear ambition: making mobility more efficient and sustainable without adding new vehicles on the street. It offers multiple options through its app like taxis, shared cars, and ebikes.

FREENOW has been offering its corporate customers an employee benefits program. This equips companies to give employees a budget to use within the FREENOW app for work or personal travel. 

But with more companies adopting remote and hybrid work, not all employees were benefitting from the budget, especially in locations where FREENOW wasn’t available or the in-app options were limited. 

FREENOW wanted to expand this offering. One way to do so was to add more options to the app. This would have required integrating additional mobility and transportation service providers outside its key markets, straining its resources. 

Instead, FREENOW worked with Adyen to offer cards, giving access to new mobility options outside the app. The goal was twofold: give employees more say in how they spend their perks and let employers automatically manage expenses and control budgets.

First gear: Employee benefits that matter

Targeting large enterprises with employees in multiple locations, FREENOW wanted to expand its benefits program to allow for greater user flexibility in a quick and scalable way. 

As an issuer with banking licenses in the EU, UK, and US, Adyen enables FREENOW to create branded cards to realize this vision. These are virtual debit cards that are preloaded with the employee’s allowance.

Each employee gets their own card to pay for any mobility service of their choice. This ranges from taxis and ebikes in the FREENOW app, to out-of-app options like public transportation, flights, parking, electric vehicle charging, and car repairs. 

With card issuing, FREENOW can offer more options without going through costly and time-consuming integrations. This is because cards unlock out-of-app services for employees.

Offering virtual cards also means companies don’t have to wait for the physical cards before going live. And because they’re prefunded, employees can use the cards without resorting to their own money and settling with the company later. 

It also doesn’t matter if employees are in a location where FREENOW isn’t live because they can use the card to pay for services outside the app. In fact, since its launch in January 2023, the card program has been used in 30 countries worldwide, including the US, Qatar, India, and Costa Rica.

And a seamless user experience is key. Because the cards can be added to digital wallets, all an employee has to do is hop in the vehicle of choice and pay. They can also access and combine any means of transportation in a single journey as they please.

In this way, card issuing makes FREENOW’s employee benefits program an all-encompassing one. It’s a solution that gives employees control over how they spend their mobility benefits and caters to their diverse needs. 

A case in point is Germany. Employees in cities typically want public transportation options—like buses, trams, and metros—while those based in rural areas can’t really use them so long as they’re outside the city. FREENOW’s card program allows both segments to benefit by accessing the options that suit their needs. And this is all by just paying through the card. 

The expanded solution quickly resonated with FREENOW’s customers. Within two months of implementation, FREENOW onboarded 20 new companies and 2,156 employees, each with their own card. This was equivalent to a 94% adoption rate. To date, FREENOW increased its customer base by sixfold and its employee users by ninefold because of the new issuing solution.

Second gear: No bumpy rides in expense management

The other side of employee benefits is expense management. We’re talking about reporting, approvals, audits, and reimbursements. The process can be complicated, error-prone, and time-consuming, especially for enterprises with larger headcounts.  

FREENOW wanted to save its corporate customers from this labyrinthine system. Together with Adyen, it developed a streamlined end-to-end process through the card program.

The first step is smooth onboarding. Adyen’s platform has built-in know-your-customer (KYC) capabilities so FREENOW can easily onboard companies and their employees across different markets.

Next, for operational efficiency, Adyen designed customizable spend controls. Companies can easily specify how employees use the FREENOW cards. They can choose from a wide range of travel and mobility categories which services their employees can pay for. They can also limit how much money can be spent depending on the country, team, and seniority level.

The virtual card program also makes it easier to keep track of expenses. Employees don’t need to save every receipt and wait for reports to be approved. Because expense management is automated, reconciliation happens in real time. Finance teams can access transparent usage reports as payments happen and get accurate insights. 

And there’s only one monthly invoice to process. Because this is a card program, companies don’t have to manage multiple mobility partners, with separate contracts, integrations, and fees.

Gaining momentum with issuing

Speed and performance are pivotal when it comes to mobility and transportation.

Adyen helped FREENOW create an integrated solution where flexible employee benefits meet frictionless expense management. The launch was fast, with the product going live in only three months. 

The virtual card program also opened up less-explored revenue streams. For every transaction made through the card, FREENOW gets part of the interchange fee.

FREENOW’s collaboration with Adyen paved the way for bringing financial technology into the conversation with mobility and employee benefits.

As the world moves, and mobility as a service continues gaining ground, why should innovation stop?

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