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Twenty-eight years ago, a groundbreaking article in the Harvard Business Review articulated a novel idea for how organizations could “re-engineer” their business processes by using “bank credit cards” to make procurement of low-value goods work better, faster, and cheaper. Since that time, the use of purchasing cards (p-cards) has grown so rapidly that the cards now represent a new normal in the way North American businesses pay for low-value goods and services. Market estimates indicate that spending on p-cards has grown from near zero in 1990 to more than $350 billion annually.

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