Founded in 2015, Pleo is a fintech platform that provides businesses with expense solutions and automated financial management tools. Their goal is to centralise every accounting or expense-related work into a unique, simple platform.
So do they succeed?
This comprehensive review aims to shed light on how Pleo works and how good it is, exploring its various features, offerings, customer service quality, and overall performance.
I will assess its user-friendly digital platform and weigh its pros and cons to provide you with an unbiased, in-depth opinion.
Pleo – My Verdict
It is clear to me that Pleo has the potential to streamline your business’ financial management dramatically.
It has been constructed to simplify two highly crucial and often cumbersome facets of any business – expenses and accounting.
The beauty of Pleo is its effortless integration into small businesses’ processes. By providing a unified platform for managing all expense-related tasks, it is a robust and invaluable tool in reducing administrative time, and driving productivity upwards.
However, I believe that the cost of implementing Pleo might be a factor worth considering for larger businesses. The price may seem hefty compared to other market alternatives, but its efficiency and time-saving features can also make it a worthwhile investment.
Pleo does an excellent job of drawing in potential users with its monthly-free plan. This plan allows you to get a taste of the platform at a low cost, and the 3-week trial is a great way of getting started without committing financially.
However, I would argue that the true value of Pleo comes with its paid plans.
While the free version is undeniably useful, the additional features provided in the paid plans significantly enhance the utility of the service.
For start-ups or very small businesses, I recommend going for the ‘Essential‘ plan. It provides a substantial range of features that should meet the needs of businesses in this bracket while maintaining a reasonable cost.
For businesses of a larger scale, the ‘Advanced‘ plan seems to be the most appropriate choice. Although the fee might seem steep, the benefits and time-saving capabilities it brings should compensate for the expenditure.
Despite the many positive aspects of Pleo, there is no denying that there is room for improvement. Pleo could enhance its service by supporting sole traders in the UK. This demographic is left out, and incorporating this feature could significantly expand Pleo’s user base and make it even more versatile as a platform.
Pros & Cons of Pleo
- Real-Time Tracking – Pleo allows businesses to track expenses as they occur, providing real-time insight into company spending. This will help enhance your budgeting and forecasting accuracy.
- Simplified Expense Reporting – The platform simplifies the expense reporting process by capturing receipts digitally and matching them with the corresponding transactions.
- Enhanced Control – Pleo provides administrators with the ability to set spending limits on individual cards, making it easier to manage business expenses and reduce the risk of overspending.
- Seamless Integration – Pleo integrates seamlessly with accounting software such as Xero, QuickBooks, and Sage, thus ensuring smooth data transfer and minimising administrative tasks for the finance team.
- Employee Empowerment – By issuing individual cards to employees, Pleo empowers them to make necessary purchases without needing to wait for approval or go through reimbursement processes.
- Lack of Cash Withdrawal – Pleo doesn’t support cash withdrawals. While this isn’t an issue for businesses primarily dealing with digital transactions, it could pose a problem for those still requiring cash for certain expenditures.
- Limited Customisation – Pleo’s platform is designed with a certain workflow in mind and doesn’t allow much room for customisation.
- Variable Pricing – Pleo uses a variable pricing model based on the number of users, which may not be cost-effective for larger businesses. The more employees using the service, the higher the cost, which might limit scalability for some enterprises.
- Learning Curve – While Pleo aims to simplify expense management, like any new system, there’s a learning curve involved. Some users might find it challenging initially to adapt to the software.
A Brief History of Pleo
Pleo was founded in 2015 by Jeppe Rindom and Niccolo Perra, who formerly worked at the successful Danish startup, Tradeshift.
In November 2016, Pleo launched its product publicly after successful beta testing.
In 2017, Pleo raised $16 million in Series A funding. The funding round was led by Kinnevik, a Swedish investment company, with participation from Founders, Seedcamp, and VG Partners.
In 2018, the platform achieved a significant milestone by partnering with J.P. Morgan and Mastercard, securing card issuance for its customers.
In 2019, Pleo raised $56 million in Series B funding in May, with investors including Stripes, Kinnevik, Creandum, and Founders.
More than 25.000 businesses currently use Pleo.
Key Features of Pleo
Expense Cards Features
- CashBack on Expense Cards – Pleo gives up to 1% cashback on your expense cards, which allows your business to make the most of daily spending.
- Individual Spending Limits – You can set up individual limits on your expense cards, providing tailored usage depending on the situation.
- Easy Card Management – Pleo lets you order, freeze or cancel your cards from the platform, adding safety and simplicity to the experience.
- Virtual Expense Cards – Besides your physical cards, you can have virtual versions, allowing you to pay via ApplePay and GooglePay.
Finances Management Features
- Daily Expense Visibility– Pleo lets you access your business’ expenses and generate receipts, so you don’t have to worry about collecting them.
- Travel Expense Management – The platform includes a dedicated travel expense platform, making it easier to manage your team’s movements.
- Easy App Integration – Pleo is compatible with more than 50 accounting software, which makes the transition seamless.
- Cashback – Essential and Advanced plans offer up to %1 cashback on transactions.
- Mileage Calculator – If your team moves a lot by car, Pleo calculates your fuel costs automatically.
- Centralised Invoices – Pleo lets you manage all your suppliers’ invoices in one place, saving you some chasing time.
- Payment Control – You can approve invoice payments directly from the platform. Pleo will make sure to handle the transfer.
- Direct Employee Reimbursement – By linking your employees’ bank accounts to the platform, you can reimburse them quickly, avoiding a daunting monthly process. You can also reimburse them on their debit card and keep track of your cash reimbursements.
Who is eligible for a Pleo Account?
Signing up with Pleo doesn’t require much. The only thing you need is to be a registered business and hold a business bank account. Pleo is suitable for any business size and any industry.
Currently, the platform only supports sole trader companies in the Nordics (Denmark, Sweden, Finland).
How to Open an Account with Pleo?
The account opening process is pretty straightforward.
- Enter your email address – Visit pleo.io and click on the “Get Started” Button at the top of the page. Enter your email address.
- Verify your account – The Pleo team will email you to verify your identity. Click the link, and you can access the platform for free.
- Enjoy your free trial – Pleo provides a 3-week free trial to see if the platform is suited for your needs. This trial starts when you put some funds into your Pleo account.
Pleo Fees & Charges
Pleo’s fees and charges are based on a simple plan structure. The platform offers 3 options, including one with no monthly fee. The available services and fees are structured as follows:
|Service / Fee||Starter||Essential||Advanced|
|ApplePay / GooglePay||✅||✅||✅|
|ATM Withdrawals||£5 per Withdrawal||£0||£0|
|Free Invoice Payments||5 per month||20 per month||100 per month|
|Real-Time Expense Overview||✅||✅||✅|
|Accounting Software Integration||✅||✅||✅|
|External Accounting Access||£9 per month||£0||£0|
|FOREX Cards Fees||2.49%||1.99%||1.99%|
|FOREX Invoice Fees||2.5%||2.5%||2.5%|
You can access the detailed fees and available services on Pleo’s fees page.
Is Pleo Safe to Use?
- Certified Platform – Pleo is certified with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which regulates banks and card providers to ensure your funds and data’s safety.
- Data Protection and Fraud Prevention – Pleo has built controls across the platform to ensure your personal data remains safe, secure, and compliant with GDPR. They are also committed to educating customers on the types of scams and how to spot them, considering it their responsibility to prevent financial fraud.
- Segregation of Funds – The funds you deposit to Pleo do not enter their account. It is directly sent to J.P. Morgan, which means Pleo doesn’t have direct access to your funds, which are handled by a fully regulated entity.
- Powered by MasterCard – When using your Pleo cards, you’ll be protected by MasterCard’s zero liability policy.
- Advanced Security Features.
- Biometric Identification – Biometric features such as fingerprint or facial recognition provide a highly secure way to log into your app.
- 3D Secure – This adds an extra layer of security for online transactions. A push notification is sent to approve the transaction directly in-app when required.
- Confirmation of Payee – This feature helps confirm that the account holder you are paying is correct.
- Virtual Cards – For additional safety while shopping, you can use a virtual debit card, keeping your main card details private and your bank balance safe.
So, is it safe? – When managing money for dozens of employees on dozens of cards, security must be your top priority. Pleo puts everything in place to ensure your funds are safe and can be trusted on this aspect.
Is Pleo Good for International Payments?
Being powered by MasterCard, Pleo is a practical and safe option to handle international payments and invoices.
However, be careful about the Foreign Exchange Fees.
- Foreign Exchange Cards Payments Fees – Payments will cost you 1.99% transaction fees for paid plans and 2.49% for the free plan.
- Foreign Exchange Invoice Payments Fees – Invoice payments will be charged a flat 2.5% fee.
If you and your employees travel a lot, make frequent international payments or have international suppliers, I would advise you to consider another platform than Pleo. For punctual payments and trips, Pleo will be perfectly suited for your needs.
Does Pleo Give Credit Cards?
Pleo currently doesn’t offer credit cards, but their contactless debit card can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Pleo has announced being considering credit options, which means it might happen in the future.
What’s the Pleo App Like?
Pleo’s app cleverly minimises the cognitive load on the user by automating many processes and presenting data in an easily digestible format.
Expense management, often a nightmare for employees and finance teams, is simplified. All you need to do is snap a photo of your receipt, and the app’s intelligent system automatically extracts the necessary information and categorizes the expense. It’s a straightforward, one-step process that saves time and effort.
The dashboard is also elegantly simple, providing a snapshot of your spending habits, budget, and upcoming expenses at a glance. Despite the abundance of information, it never feels overwhelming due to the clean and minimalist design.
Beyond receipt capture and automated expense reports, the app provides real-time visibility over your spending, which is crucial for budgeting and financial control.
Pleo lets you connect with your team members, approve their expenses, and even assign them budgets.
The app displays insightful analytics, covering individual spending habits and department-wide expenditure patterns.
The synchronisation with popular accounting software eliminates the need for manual data entry, reducing errors and freeing up valuable time.
Pleo Customer Reviews
86% of Trust Pilot reviewers award Pleo 5 stars, with 5% giving a one-star rating. Positive reviews speak of a “streamlined process“, “game changer” and “ease of use“.
Some of the one-star reviewers mention high fees and poor customer support.
What are the Alternatives to Pleo?
|Monthly Cost (Standard Account)||£0||£6 per user||£0||£199|
|Monthly Cost per Card||£6||£5||£5||£9|
|Accounting Software Integration||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Fee-Free Spending Abroad||❌||❌||✅||✅|
|Fee-Free ATM Withdrawal Abroad||❌||❌||✅*||❌|
What is Pleo?
Pleo is a platform that provides a business spending solution, which includes smart company cards for employees and a management platform for businesses to control company expenses.
Is Pleo Safe?
Yes, Pleo maintains high standards of security. It complies with regulatory standards and uses secure encryption methods to protect users’ data.
Can Pleo be integrated with other software?
Yes, Pleo can be integrated with popular accounting software, allowing for a seamless expense data transfer.
Is Pleo Suitable for Small Businesses?
Pleo is suitable for businesses of all sizes, including small businesses. It helps streamline and control company expenses, making it a valuable tool for any business.