Lowe’s has long offered financing through its private-label credit card programs, but for many construction crews, a corporate credit card is a poor fit for handling ongoing expenses.

Prepaid cards might be a better option for dealing with fragmented project timelines, worker turnover and other jobsite complications. The building-supply chain is adding a prepaid solution to its financing options using a platform from Fidelity National Information Services (FIS).

The service is built on the BizNow platform, which FIS launched early last year for financial institutions looking to extend services to small businesses, but the program also appeals to retailers, said Tracy Kirkland, vice president of prepaid product development at Jacksonville, Fla.-based FIS.

Lowe's store
Bloomberg News

“Many construction operations found that using a corporate card or another expense-management program was hard to maintain, but a prepaid card is much more convenient for managing specific projects, and the mobile app gives them a lot of tools for authorizing and keeping track of purchases made by various crew members,” Kirkland said.

Once a business enrolls in Lowe’s PreLoad, the primary user may authorize distribution of cards to several team members, manage funds in real time, and customize expense reporting for downloading to financial management software, storing or printing, she said. Sunrise Banks is Lowe’s issuing partner for PreLoad.

Lowe’s also is extending a 5% discount for all purchases made with PreLoad, available as a monthly statement credit, similar to the 5% discount is available to customers paying with Lowe’s private-label credit card issued by Synchrony Financial, Kirkland added.

Lowe’s began testing PreLoad earlier this year at its stores before rolling it out this week at its 1,700 stores nationwide, according to Kirkland.

“Prepaid cards have the right features for certain business customers, and while credit unions and community banks have responded positively to BizNow for small businesses, we’re seeing growing interest from larger retailers who want to extend this service directly to customers,” Kirkand said.

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