Virtual Cards Today and Virtual Card Payments in the Near Future
NOV 01, 2016 15:28 PM
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Virtual Cards Today and Virtual Card Payments in the Near Future

By Drew Hendricks

Today’s virtual (credit) cards are optimizing safety, allowing for easier employee travel reimbursement, and helping everyone avoid credit card fraud. You can set a limit, an expiration date, and trust that the virtual credit card number is unique from any physical credit cards. Yes, you can only use them for online purchases, but swiping cards is usually reserved for smaller purchases anyway. Virtual cards are rapidly changing how we think of payment processing, but many experts agree virtual cards are really a gateway and transition into virtual card payments of the future.

Virtual Cards Today

Not every financial institution offers virtual credit cards today. Those that do offer a variety of perks, benefits and options. You’ll want to do you research and find a virtual credit card that gives you the offerings you need. For example, some offer a central hub to manage your finances, some are more mobile friendly than others, and some may offer a rewards feature. The most important feature of all, of course, is having a virtual credit card that ensures your safety and financial freedom.

Virtual credit cards are most useful for online/mobile transactions with vendors you’re unfamiliar with, don’t trust (yet), or are so new or small that they don’t have much of a digital footprint. It’s probably very safe to make an online payment to a mega corporation like Best Buy, and you know and trust that vendor. However, it’s the smaller businesses and websites that are iffy. You want to purchase that desk from a craftsman out of state or support a startup, but you also want to keep your credit card safe—that’s where virtual credit cards make all the difference.

With a virtual credit card, you get a unique identifying number that’s in no way related to your actual credit card. The merchant doesn’t get your security code or other identifying information beyond what’s necessary for shipping (if applicable). This keeps your “real” credit card completely separate from your virtual one.

The Safety Dance

Whether you use “plastic” or a virtual credit card, you are not liable for unauthorized charges. Still, it can be quite a pain to deal with challenging charges. Your credit card will likely be frozen or shut down, and it can take some time for a replacement to arrive. This can get even trickier if you travel frequently or are currently based overseas where your new card can’t be mailed. With a virtual credit card, fraudulent activity can be quickly handled. You can get a new “virtual” number quickly and you don’t run the risk of running up as many fraudulent charges since you’ve set a cap.

The American Hotel Register (AHR) is a popular globalVCard vendor, and is a big player in revolutionizing the usage of virtual cards. Offering STP (straight through processing) transactions, GVC sends aggregated virtual card payment data across a number of buyers to fully automate accounts receivable and cash application processes. This improves cash flow, minimizes internal FTE costs via automation, and improves payment data.

As you can see, we’re in the midst of some exciting and safeguarded times! GVC and AHR are leaders in the virtual credit card industry and are key players to watch. Forbes has reported that the U.S. is the biggest victim of credit card fraud, followed by Mexico. To keep you, your business and your finances secure, a virtual credit card gives you an added layer of protection—and just wait to see what the future of virtual credit cards has in store.


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