Virtual credit cards offer many benefits to businesses, from lower processing costs and easier supplier payments to better internal accountability. But just like your business has unique financial needs, today’s virtual cards are not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Although any virtual card can reduce costs, it’s important to pick the best option for your business to maximize its perks. Compared to physical cards, these popular virtual credit cards help to save more on business expenses, while providing added security and convenience for employee spending.
Benefits of Using a Virtual Credit Card for Businesses
The best virtual credit cards save your business time and money by eliminating the risk of sharing a physical credit card. Virtual credit cards can provide you with several benefits, such as:
Greater Financial Control
Features like maximum payment limits, automatic expiration dates, and vendor (or category) restrictions give you more control over your business spending.
Lower Risk of Card Being Lost or Stolen
Virtual cards can also prevent fraud because hackers can’t see your real credit card information if a data breach happens. There is also no physical card to lose or have stolen.
Consistent Opportunities to Maximize Rewards
A virtual card option means you won’t miss out on any cashback opportunities just because an employee doesn’t have a physical credit card on hand. Just generate a temporary card number each time they need to pay for something.
Easier Expense Management
Simplified credit card account reconciliation and enhanced transaction data streamline the expense management process.
The Best Virtual Credit Cards Right Now
1. X1 Card
The X1 Card’s multiple virtual credit card options give you additional flexibility and security without adding more to your accounting department’s workload. Issued by Visa, the X1 Card is designed as a consumer credit card; however, the card rewards large business purchases with three points for every dollar when you spend over $15,000 in a year.
To access and manage your virtual card numbers, you need to download the X1 Card mobile app for iPhone or Android. Multiple virtual credit cards can be active at one time, with three options to choose from:
- Standard virtual card: Cancellable at any time
- Free-trial card: Automatically canceled after 24 hours to prevent charges after the trial period ends
- Single-use card: Automatically canceled after one purchase for employees to easily make approved business purchases
Rewards are more valuable if you redeem them with X1’s brand partners, like Amazon, Costco, Home Depot, Ikea, Best Buy, or airlines like JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.
The X1 Card includes more benefits than most non-travel cards, such as:
- Trip cancellation and interruption reimbursement
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- 24/7 travel and emergency assistance
2. Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card
With Capital One’s virtual credit card system, you can issue multiple virtual card numbers to employees to rack up rewards within designated spending limits.
Along with Citibank and American Express, Capital One is one of very few major credit card issuers offering virtual credit card numbers. Capital One’s platform also provides itemized reports so you can import this data directly into your expense management software.
The Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card earns flat-rate rewards on all purchases, not just special categories like travel or dining, with no annual limit. Plus, you earn five points for every dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Security features like card lock control and $0 fraud liability protect you from unauthorized charges.
3. Apple Card
The Apple Card provides instant access to a virtual credit card number that you can change whenever you want for extra security and convenience. The Apple Card includes three unique card numbers with one “card”, as well as these features:
- Physical credit card
- Apple Wallet
- Virtual credit card for online payments or in-person transactions where retailers don’t accept Apple Pay
Apple Pay is widely accepted for both in-store and online purchases. Although the Apple Card is a consumer credit card, 3% cash back on all Apple purchases can help smaller startups find huge savings when purchasing Apple products for their teams.
To further incentivize virtual card payments, some cash back rewards can only be earned when using Apple Pay with Apple or brand partners like Exxon/Mobil and T-Mobile.
If your card details are stolen or compromised, you can instantly receive a free replacement number without disrupting the use of your digital wallet or physical card. This enables you to make payments in real-time, rather than waiting one to three business days for them to process.
Additionally, this is the first credit card offered by Goldman Sachs, which prioritizes customer issues and provides better customer service than other banks. In 2021, the Apple Card was ranked number one in customer satisfaction among midsize credit cards.
4. Citi Premier® Card
Citi provides direct access to virtual credit card numbers on your bank account home page, which no other major credit card issuers do. Other banks and issuers require extra steps like downloading a separate app or installing a browser extension, which can be challenging if you’re traveling and risky if you’re using public WiFi.
If your employees often travel for work, the Citi Premier Card can help you find major savings, with no foreign transaction fees and an annual $100 hotel discount that covers the annual fee.
You also earn three points for every dollar spent in common categories like:
- Gas stations
- Air travel
- And more…
Reward points don’t expire and can be redeemed for travel booked through Citi, cash back, bill payments, and more.
5. CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
The CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard reduces travel costs to increase your bottom line. This card is best for companies that regularly travel with American Airlines, with 25% savings on inflight WiFi and food and beverage purchases, plus no foreign transaction fees.
As an added benefit, the virtual credit card option enables employees to earn rewards and use discounts from any location. You also earn two miles per dollar spent on common business expenses, like gas, rental cars, and telecommunications.
6. Citi® Double Cash Card
The Citi Double Cash Card is the leading cashback credit card that offers a virtual credit card option, with no spending tiers or categories. Cardholders earn an unlimited flat rate of 1% cash back when you buy, and another 1% when you pay off your balance.
Although the Citi Double Cash Card does not have an annual fee, it does charge a 3% fee for foreign transactions, so this card is best for businesses with minimal international travel.
Additionally, if your card is lost or stolen, Citi will replace your card within 24 hours and provide you with emergency cash in the interim.
7. American Express Business Platinum Card®
American Express provides virtual credit cards exclusively to corporate card customers through American Express Go for optimized expense management. Designed for major business expenses, the Amex Business Platinum Card earns you an extra 120,000 reward points after you spend $15,000 within the first three months.
If you have a multitude of costly business expenses planned, this card will quickly earn points that you can use to cover card charges or pay with points at checkout (select merchants). The card earns five points per dollar spent for flights and prepaid hotels as well, so you can save on future travel expenses.
You can also earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent on purchases of $5,000 or more in specific business categories, like:
- Cloud services
- Electronic goods
- Construction materials
- Hardware supplies
The “Pay Over Time” feature enables you to finance eligible purchases of $100 or more over a long payment period. This allows for greater cash flow flexibility.
You can find even more savings with over $1,000 in annual statement credits for purchases made with partners like Adobe, Indeed, Dell Technologies, and any wireless cellular provider.
Power your entire partner payouts operations
Streamline Your Business Payments With a Virtual Credit Card
When deciding between virtual credit cards, don’t limit your options to business credit cards. Personal consumer cards can also be used for business expenses, and in some cases, the virtual card option gives you more advantages, flexibility, and range than a physical counterpart.
If you’re not sure which virtual credit card to go with, consider how you would use the card. For example, organizations with employees who travel often would benefit most from a travel rewards card to save on flights and hotels.
If your business regularly makes large purchases, pick a card that earns extra points or cash back for bigger transactions. You can even use multiple credit cards to cover any gaps in your card benefits, so you can easily issue virtual card numbers to employees based on what they need.
It will save your business time, money, expenses, and is a win-win for all parties involved!