The Business Guide to Adopting a Virtual Card Setup
Your employees need a fast and efficient way to make purchases and keep operations moving.
With many working remotely, access to a corporate card is now more important than ever. If employees need to jump through hoops to make necessary work-related purchases or are delayed paying vendors, deadlines could be missed and your company could gain the reputation of being a late pay.
Thankfully, virtual credit cards can be issued quickly and solve a variety of payment scenarios for different user groups across your organization.
First, some basics. What is a virtual card?
Virtual card numbers aren’t that different from a physical credit card. It includes the normal 16 digits, expiration date and security code of a regular credit card. However, from a security perspective, virtual credit cards offer an additional layer of protection as the “number” issued enables you to conduct online transactions to your main account, without actually utilizing or entering (exposing) your actual credit card number.
As workplaces embrace a largely remote landscape, virtual credit cards provide an alternative to issuing employees a physical corporate credit card to cover expenses.
The commercial payments landscape is changing. Is your business ready?
New technology and the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the speed at which the payments landscape is changing.
Contactless is the name of the game, and payments are no exception. Cash is losing popularity to plastic, and even credit cards are phasing out in favor of touch-less payment options that avoid the need to utilize keypads or physically exchange credit cards.
Don't think this applies to commercial payments? Consider a few stats:
- When it comes to mid-to-large market spend in the U.S., virtual payments are expected to surpass purchasing cards and checks, and grow to $355 billion by 2022.
- According to Juniper Research, contactless payments will triple to $6 trillion worldwide by 2024, from about $2 trillion in 2020.
- Mastercard Contactless Consumer Polling reported that 51% of Americans are using contactless payment, like tap-to-go credit cards and mobile wallets.
- The Electronic Transactions Association found that 27% of small businesses in the U.S. already report an increase in contactless payment services.
Virtual payment technology is being used more frequently in both consumer and corporate settings, and your employees are going to come to expect access to tools like this. But this is good news! Because virtual cards are solving all sorts of commercial payments challenges.
The Benefits of Virtual Cards for Work
Extend Purchasing Power with Better Control
With virtual cards, the sky's the limit. Your team can extend purchasing power to anyone on your workforce, and do so quickly. Even better, when issuing a new virtual card they can set budget limitations, assign custom expiration dates, and limit merchant category codes.
Virtual corporate cards feature tools that provide visibility into individual payment transactions so you can easily understand whose spending what and where, as well as controls that govern the type of expense a card is used for.
Reduce Expense Fraud
By directly importing charges made on a corporate card, an organization knows the exact expense amount, making it more difficult to inflate expenses or otherwise manipulate receipts. Additionally, the insights afforded by virtual cards can help your team quickly recognize patterns of fraudulent behavior and non-adherence to expense policies that would usually be difficult to identify with a manual process and next to impossible to identify when employees use their personal card for business expenses.
Maximize Efficiency for All Your Teams
Replacing paper-based processes with an integrated corporate card program and automated expense management solution eliminates manual processes for tracking, and analyzing payments. This allows your business to reduce administrative costs, speed up payments, and improve internal policy adherence, reconciliation, and expense analysis.
Your organization can generate additional revenue from cash back rebates when using a corporate card for business expenses. The more spend captured on a commercial card, the larger the potential rebate.
On top of that, points accrued through your corporate card programs can be pooled and used to offset future T&E expenses, or employees can keep the points they earn as a benefit. Regardless of how points are used, these additional savings and rewards add up.
Who should use a virtual corporate card?
Virtual credit cards are a great choice for high-performing teams that require the ability to purchase products and services to quickly complete tasks and get the job done. This form of payment is easy to issue to your entire workforce, including employees, contractors, consultants, recruits, and even infrequent travelers. Virtual cards eliminate the manual expense management challenges that these infrequent spenders typically encounter, and reduce the risk of fraud or misuse.
Scenario #1: Vendor Payments
Your remote employee needs to pay a retainer for marketing automation program support. The employee does not have a corporate card and the vendor requires a 50% deposit before they will begin the project. Rather than wait for your accounting department to cut a check or trigger an ACH, the employee is issued a virtual credit card. They can then pay the vendor, and the finance team will rest easy knowing there is a set limit and the corporate card number is protected.
Scenario #2: Office Supplies for Remote Staff
Your entire in-office team has been shifted to remote. To complete their day-to-day tasks, they each need a printer, paper, and ink cartridges; however, there are various printing needs, requiring different models and ink types. Rather than have your office manager complete customer orders for all of your workers, you issue each employee a virtual card number. This way, they can purchase the printer and ink they need instantly. Since the virtual card is linked to your corporate card account and synced with your expense management tool, all of the purchases will be easy to track and reconciliation will be a breeze at the end of the month.
Scenario #3: Freelancers & Contract Workers
From time-to-time, freelancers or contract workers are the way to go for special projects or to cover for an employee on a leave of absence. While issuing these workers a corporate card probably isn’t the path you would like to take, they may still have vendors to pay or materials to purchase on your behalf. Rather than fork over the corporate credit card, you can create a virtual card in their name that has a spending limit and expiration date that coincides with the end of the project they are working on. The freelancer will be able to make purchases as needed to complete the project, and you won’t be putting company money at risk. Further, you will have total visibility into spend.
Control Spend with a Better Solution
Learn more about how TravelBank can help your team manage expense, travel, and corporate cards on one intuitive platform.