Payroll at the port of call: debit cards on board

6 Minute read
3 years ago


Our client, a regional marine shipping company, needed assistance streamlining their legacy payment infrastructure. They came to Nium looking to integrate a simplified payroll system that could provide more convenience for their frequently traveling employees.  

After implementing Nium’s solution, their payroll system is more secure, convenient, and compliant with international banking regulations.  

While we tailored this solution for our maritime client, our technology can work for any business, regardless of industry.  

The Challenge 

The client was dependent on the traditional mechanism of dispersing payments through cash and cheque. For a business that required the employees to travel on a regular basis, this legacy system created inefficiencies in their operations. It was not only cumbersome for our client, but for their employees who found it difficult to access their payrolls.  

Since these employees are located in different ports across the globe, it was vital to bring in a system equipped to manage cross-border transactions.

Another friction point came from seafarers who can be resistant to new payroll disbursal methods. Their reluctance may be a result of being exposed to complicated systems in the past that are either costly or time consuming.  

The traditional seafarer payroll system is also met with other challenges like:  

  • Lack of connectivity while at sea 
  • Multiple operating entities and licences required for global coverage 
  • Consistent interaction with regulators, which is a tedious process. 

Why They Chose Nium 

The client chose Nium to issue corporate cards which would allow them to disburse payroll to their employees across the globe. We created a branded white-labelled app through which seafarers are able to easily access their money and even send remittances directly to their bank accounts.  

Nium’s maritime solution utilises the global Visa licence network for card-issuance and tech stack to enable real-time payroll disbursals and remittance for shipping companies, their management, and seafarers. Nium’s global issuing platform simplifies the card-issuing experience and is licensed in nine countries and the European Union. We also provide program management and advance card capabilities to BIN sponsors virtually anywhere in the world. 

With Nium’s corporate card solutions, our client is now able to:  

  • Allow employees to access their money from almost anywhere around the world and send remittances to their bank accounts  
  • Reduce cash on ships  
  • Launch their own e-wallet with card payments, remittances and travel insurance  
  • Manage cost of overseas spends with multi-currency cards  
  • Mitigate risk and save money for themselves and the seafarers with a turnkey platform 
  • Control FX conversion costs by applying exclusive rates for inter and intra-company cross-border payments 
  • Comply with payroll delivery and international banking regulations 
  • Track payments and remittances from start to end 

How do businesses benefit from Nium?  

Nium’s state-of-the-art technology helps you transform your business.

Here’s how our services benefitted the client and can benefit your business too:  

Simplified Disbursement  

With open-loop cards, the client can seamlessly pay at many different locations from one centralised system, without being charged expensive wire fees. Employees are able to access their salaries and remit it to their bank accounts through an app, from almost anywhere in the world. By digitising the process, they are now able to streamline and automate disbursements, while controlling FX conversion costs.  

Streamlined Onboarding 

Since Nium is a Visa issuer, we not only ensure a smooth onboarding process but can also swiftly move to issuing cards in just 4 weeks. For our client, this proved to be immensely beneficial.  

Access To Underbanked Markets  

For those seafarers placed in regions with limited banking facilities, the ability to provide digital debit cards is priceless. In the case of our client, sending payments to their employees in underbanked regions is now effortless. They can also save on expensive wire fees when paying employees in their local currency.  

Virtual and Physical Cards 

Nium allows businesses to provide employees unique logins and personal debit cards – both physical and virtual.  

Superior Security 

Nium allows our client to manage their program’s security in one place, including card lock/unlock, geolocation data, and cardholder permissions.  

Increased Earnings 

Nium lets you take charge of your business by opening new revenue streams for you. It gives you a share of the revenue it collects during each transaction. That means, the more your employees spend, the more you earn.   

How It Works 

  1. Setup: After integrating Nium, businesses can set up and define their program using limits and controls. 
  2. Share: Once the program is complete, management can assign cards and login details to each employee.  
  3. Fund: Each employee’s card is then pre-funded with a set amount of money like a regular debit card. 
  4. Spend: Employees can spend the funds on approved items until the funds run out. 
  5. Track: Each payment is automatically tracked, logged and made into expense reports viewable within Nium’s app.  

More About Nium 

Nium, formerly known as InstaReM, began in 2015 to simplify and optimise the finances of corporations. We eventually scaled the offering to serve SMEs and businesses in all industries. 

Today, Nium utilises radically innovative technology that makes spending, receiving, and managing funds faster, cheaper, and more transparent. It’s designed to integrate with our customer’s lives and business needs seamlessly.  

We have experts on the ground working with local regulators and financial institutions. With offices worldwide, we are in a position to foster these relationships. 

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