Known for its travel and luxury lifestyle services, Insignia Cards has invested heavily in its regulated business card issuing service offering, as well as in its compliance and risk-management technology, allowing and providing corporate clients with an attractive alternative to traditional banks.
Insignia commenced operations in 1996 as a travel-related service, which grew into an all-encompassing luxury lifestyle management group with a global presence. And, while Insignia’s concierge services focus on travel and lifestyle, wellness and shopping, Insignia Cards Ltd, incorporated in Malta in 2011, also offers credit cards “with extraordinary spending power.”
Today, it is serving Malta’s corporate client needs through the issuing of corporate cards, where it seeks to distinguish itself by offering additional value through financial freedom.
BusinessNow.mt sat down with the Managing Director of Insignia Cards, Jurate Kajackiene, who stresses that in the current climate, where traditional banks and large financial institutions choose to adopt a ‘stop-and-block’ approach to risk, many segments of the corporate community find themselves in particular difficulty to do business.
Over the years, increased scrutiny of banks and heightened compliance requirements have led to situations where corporate players in industries deemed high-risk, such as Electronic Money Issuers (EMI), gaming companies and others, found closed doors and increased bureaucracy when dealing with their banking partners.
Rather than finding a way to manage relatively riskier clients, traditional financial institutions often choose to end the relationship, consequently minimizing their own risk.
Situations such as this illustrate the value being offered by Insignia Cards, Ms Kajackiene points out. The company is licensed by the Malta Financial Services Authority and has heavily invested in a robust compliance and transaction monitoring technology in order to effectively manage client risks, rather than limiting and/or preventing the corporate client from transacting.
Ms Kajackiene remarks that the company does not “impose restrictions on the transaction types, neither the merchant types”.
“Normally, this is what industry does because of the risks related, such as AML and Fraud risk. Instead of managing these risks and dealing with them, traditional banks are choosing different paths, choosing to close, restrict, limit, block and in reality, they make life difficult for the customers.”
“Our customers have the freedom to pay for anything, what any business might need, such as payments to Amazon for use of its server, Google/Facebook ads or to withdraw cash from ATMs, if needed.
The card issuing company primarily offers two main products for corporate clients, in addition to the several different cards available to private customers.
The ‘C by Insignia Card’ is designed exclusively for C-level executives “who demand an exceptional level of service. It is the first super-premium corporate card offering seamless travel management, substantial spending power and real-time control that helps your business manage expenses with ease”.
The Insignia Platinum Business Card is “a practical, convenient and secure payment solution offering a world-class range of benefits to help your company control expenses and save money”. It targets the everyday business expenses, allowing executives to enjoy a smoother, safer and more productive travel and business experience.
Ms Kajackiene, addressing corporate customers, says “instead of restricting transactions, we enhanced our transaction monitoring systems and AML framework, so we are ready to accept and onboard industries that are normally suffering because of the low-risk tolerance capacity of traditional banks”.
“Any legitimate business deserves proper financial services,” she adds.
Ms Kajackiene explains that the company offers two types of products to its clients, the first being a credit card, with a pre-arranged credit line following an assessment. Here, clients use Insignia’s funds and then repay what is owed at the end of the billing cycle.
Secondly, for those clients who wish to have higher spending power, they are able to deposit funds up front into their Insignia card.
This is the same approach being used for the company’s concierge and lifestyle services. Clients can choose the company’s top service, which gains them access to a personal assistant available 24/7 and an Insignia credit card, or a card, which grants access to an Insignia concierge team.
While the company’s services dedicated to affluent individuals have been around since 2013, Ms Kajackiene says the company is focusing efforts on enhancing its business lines which serve corporate client needs.
“We are still offering the same products and services to high net worth individuals, but now we are implementing new products that will be offered and meet the needs of the corporate client.”
As part of its new product offering, Insignia Cards is aiming to roll out the facilitation of international payments by offering IBAN accounts to its corporate customers.
Thanks to a partnership with an institution directly connected to the SEPA payment system, worldwide payments will be possible in up to 34 different currencies.
In addition, as part of its corporate offering, clients are given access to Key Account Managers, who can be best described as private bankers.
“Corporate clients always deal with the same person – and this person knows your business, your employees and your day-to-day. They can even represent the client internally within the company, taking through the onboarding process, assist in increase and decrease of card limits, which may be done online however some situations require getting in touch with Insignia, explains Ms Kajackiene.
“We can temporarily increase limits and offer exclusive services where we are contacted, even on weekends, by clients in emergency situations. We also have the facility to give a temporary credit limit, where the client agrees to repay in a short time window.
In addition to financial freedom through flexibility, Insignia Cards is offering bespoke core brand solutions to its clients, offering branded bespoke cards. Such a service is usually reserved by traditional banks for corporate giants, however, Ms Kajackiene believes smaller players should receive the same level of attention.
“Such branded cards may be an advantage for corporate clients against competitors. For example, an aviation company may want corporate cards bearing the logo or other attributes of the company. The card may be part of their loyalty scheme to customers, salary cards or corporate cards for corporate expenses.
“I am proud that we offer such services to smaller players, as a niche player ourselves. We are happy to offer card branding solutions for a company requiring just 50 cards.”
by Inigo Taylor
The family business’ story was showcased in the ‘Industry Greats’ section of Business Now winter 2022/2023 magazine
The Cisk Tap sits at the rooftop of The Brewhouse, home of the former Simonds Farsons Cisk Brewery
The Franks director believes success can only be found by seeing and understanding the other party’s point of view