Virtual Payments: Prepare Your Travel Program for a Digital Future

We have all heard about how virtual cards are going to take the corporate travel industry by storm. They have been the topic of many conversations, featured in many publications and one of the key innovations that would dominate the industry by 2020.

While it’s not quite dominating the industry as we all anticipated, the virtual card craze has lived up to the hype and continues to become an important feature of managed travel programs and a favorite of travel managers.

With 2020 right around the corner, virtual cards are here to stay and we want to make sure your travel program is ready.

Evolving payment technology

Before we dive too far into virtual payments, let’s understand what they are and how they work. Virtual cards are exactly like a traditional credit card, however they are fully digital. A virtual card payment is a one-time credit card number that can be used for a specific transaction, used during a pre-determined range of dates or amount and used only with selected vendors.

From the travel manager’s perspective, they often solve a few security issues, such as having one card number used for multiple transactions (possible fraud) or many cards out there that could be misused, lost or stolen – opening your organization up to a lot of risk. They specifically make great options for non-employee and guest travelers.

For travelers, a virtual card eliminates many hassles associated with travel spend. Travelers no longer have to worry about getting the proper authorizations, because they're built into the card.

How can virtual cards help you and your program?

Reduce costs – Travel companies and their clients both benefit from virtual payments. Using virtual card numbers (VCNs) can reduce, and in some cases, eliminate fees – especially with cross-currency transactions and other similar fees associated with international payments.

Simplify reconciliation – When companies have many travelers, reconciliation of the data can be challenging and time consuming. Virtual payments are making that process easier by consolidating billing and reconciliation and tying payments back to a specific invoice. When traveler information is collected upfront, it saves hours of manual administrative time, resulting in improved reporting because data is more effectively captured.

Minimize exposure to misuse or fraud – Frequently, traditional accounts use one card multiple times for many suppliers by many full-time employees and guest travelers. This opens your business up to a lot of potential risk.

Virtual payments offer travel managers greater control by allowing them to set restrictions on single-use payments such as the amount, data and supplier. That way transactions are only processed if they meet the pre-determined specifications, minimizing the risk of misuse and potential fraud when using one corporate card.

Prepare for a digital future

Popularity and growth in the digital payments space is not going away anytime soon. Now is the time to learn more about this innovative solution to reduce costs, optimize the reconciliation process and gain greater control over your travel payment systems.

Implementing a virtual card program is easier when you partner with an experienced travel management company. To understand how virtual payments can benefit your travel program, schedule a conversation with an expert consultant today.