Although you can’t ditch your leather-bound billfold yet, a startup called Lemon has been slowly building up a mobile wallet platform that’s encroaching on the traditional wallet’s territory, and even making it better in some cases. Today, it’s extending its feature set again with the addition of an expense reporting tool, which serves to augment its previously available receipt capture function.
Operating as a digital copy of your physical wallet, Lemon already helps you track credit card balances, access your saved cards on the go, cancel credit cards when your real wallet is lost or stolen, and save receipts by snapping a photo of them. But users have been demanding more, explains founder and CEO Wences Casares.
“The most active users of receipts were using them for their expense reports. And those users kept asking for more functionality,” he says. “They were doing a lot of inconvenient things to use it for receipts.”
Given that there are plenty of receipt trackers out there on the market today from services like QuickBooks, Expensify, Concur, and others, it’s somewhat surprising to find that users were turning to a consumer-facing tool to get the job done, especially when it required more manual effort.
Casares says that’s because, in many cases, expense tracking solutions (like Concur, e.g.) are sold to the enterprise, and then the company tells its employees this is what we have that you can use. But when users had more choice, they were opting for a simpler option: just snap a photo and be done with it, then deal with the headache of expense reporting later on.
Now Lemon can help with that latter part. Its new expense reporting application can accommodate photos of receipts and e-receipts which are forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org for processing. When complete, receipts are saved in a PDF format for the user, and attached directly the expense report itself, which can also be output in CSV or XLS format for importing into other expense software.
Though Lemon has been designed for consumers, expense reporting pushes the product more towards business users, though not enterprise. With its centralized management dashboard, admins can group expense reports by individual, category or user-created tags, then approve and/or route approvals to others who process the reimbursements. The solution works well for smaller businesses or even individuals, who just need to track their expenses in a more organized manner.
The system is offered as a free trial within Lemon’s mobile app, updated today, and then the cost is $5/month per user going forward.
Casares says the company is now working to support deeper QuickBooks integration, and will soon offer a refreshed mobile wallet user interface which allows users to group their cards into compartments – the way a “real” wallet works. Though he declined to provide download figures or user numbers, he says that Lemon is now capturing 1,000 new cards per hour.
Following the refresh, the next big move for Lemon will be to begin enabling transactions, using the data users’ have saved within their wallets already. Cesares says they’re considering many different avenues for this, but the plan is to start with e-commerce, not at point-of-sale. Guess you’ll have to hang on to your billfold for a bit longer, then.