Virtual credit cards offer a multitude of benefits, from lower processing costs to faster vendor payments, and better internal accountability. However, just like your business has unique financial needs, today’s virtual cards are not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Although any virtual card will reduce costs, it’s important to pick the option that optimizes your greatest needs. Compared to physical cards, virtual credit cards help to save more on business expenses, while providing added security and convenience for employee spending.
In this article, we’ll examine the key benefits of virtual cards, the best virtual credit card providers, and the top use cases for business virtual credit cards right now.
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 a business with a variety of advantages. Here are some of the top benefits of virtual cards:
Greater Financial Control
Features like maximum payment limits, automatic expiration dates, and vendor (or category) restrictions give you more control over expenses and business spending. This is especially important for e-commerce companies and small startups that may lack the resources.
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
Here’s a short list of the best virtual credit card providers on the market and who to look at for a new card today:
1. Tipalti Card
The Tipalti Card (available in the US) is a secure and flexible credit and debit card solution that is available in both physical and virtual cards. Companies can achieve full control over card spend with robust control measures and automatic reconciliation that streamlines their financial operations. These cards integrate with one of the most comprehensive global financial automation platforms, offering cash back for every dollar spent.
Tipalti Card provides finance leaders with an effective mechanism to oversee and regulate spending, bolster profitability, and cut down on costs. The system provides unrivaled visibility and control, allowing finance teams to manage all types of expenditures in one place (like in-store, online purchases, subscriptions, etc.). This ensures a smooth reconciliation process, with top-tier ERP integration.
Distinct advantages exclusively found in card-based payments include:
Manage all of your purchases in one place, whether it’s using a Tipalti Card, ACH, wires, PayPal, or checks. Create cards on-demand, and immediately assign the right controls and approvals.
Automatic reconciliation significantly reduces the burden of the finance team. No more chasing cardholders or sifting through receipts and bank accounts. All the data for expenses is right there.
The Tipalti cashback program means every dollar of card payment earns a cash rebate. The more transactions an employee makes, the more cash they earn back.
The Tipalti Card easily integrates with the Expense Management feature to allow employees to manage their Tipalti Card transactions and out-of-pocket expenses in a single spot.
Additional Benefits of the Tipalti Card
- Control spend
- Reduce fraud
- Improve visibility
- Centralize expenses
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.
Intergiro is designed to help a business make payments around the globe, using a physical or virtual corporate credit card. The payment solution enables a company to transact in multiple currencies (in-person or online payments), giving access to real-time data, secure encryption, and fraud protection.
- Easily control spend and keep finances organized with a card program that includes features like:
- Freeze or cancel cards anytime, from anywhere
- Unlimited cards as your team grows
- Custom expiry dates and card details to set spending limits
- User access to virtual corporate card managed via permissions
Integiro accepts a variety of payment methods, including American Express, Visa, and Mastercard.
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.
Airbase provides virtual corporate cards that can be used for single-use or recurring payments. The platform is SOC 2 Type II and SOC 1 Type II compliant, meaning every single transaction conducted through Airbase is secure and meets the highest industry standards.
The Airbase cards offer unlimited cash back, across all categories of spend, with no promotional periods. When team members generate virtual cards for one-time or recurring payments, a full audit trail is created, and transactions are automatically synced to the general ledger. This eliminates the hassle of reconciliation and helps to reduce overspending.
Airbase also provides spend management features, automated payment scheduling, and in-depth reporting.
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.
Virtual Business Credit Card Use Cases
A virtual credit card is used as a digital payment method, that’s issued via an app or website, from a financial institution. Organizations use virtual cards in a number of ways, including paying suppliers, enabling employees, and ensuring stronger controls. Here are some of the more common industry and business types that use virtual cards:
A health insurance company might use a virtual credit card to pay primary care claims. This circumvents the use of checks and all the issues that come with them.
An online travel agent (OTA) uses virtual cards to tie each booking to a unique account number. This makes it easier to reconcile multiple trips with payments and customers at the end of each month.
Developers, DBAs, security, and other roles in IT use virtual cards to purchase software licenses, subscriptions, and other tech tools. This allows for more secure transactions and better management of IT expenses.
General Use Cases
Companies (like those in construction and development) use virtual credit cards to pay freelancers and independent contractors for project-related expenses. That’s because they can add expiration dates and spending limits that align with project timelines.
Virtual cards are often used for online purchases. They are typically safer than physical cards and can be assigned for one-time use, curbing the opportunities for misuse or fraud.
Virtual cards are the perfect solution for recurring payments. Subscriptions, office supplies, or anything a business needs to purchase on a monthly or quarterly basis can be facilitated with virtual credit cards.
A business will use virtual cards to streamline accounts payable processes, reducing the time needed for invoice management and payment processing. This helps to drive efficiencies, helping a business nurture supplier relationships and take advantage of early payment discounts.
A company provides a virtual credit card to team members to make specific business purchases. This can be for specific roles or responsibilities, like salespeople, marketing, or office administration.
Virtual card usage can also be broken down by business type and size. Here are a few ways in which different companies use virtual corporate credit cards:
A small business uses virtual cards as an easy way to provide employees with the freedom to spend but still maintain control.
An entrepreneur typically uses virtual cards as a safe way to make one-time or recurring purchases without having to worry about fraud.
A corporation that seeks to streamline payments and optimize the reconciliation process, will typically use virtual cards. This gives them a better way to manage cash flow when paying vendors and suppliers.
Streamline Your Business Payments With a Virtual Credit Card
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.
Ready to get started with your own virtual credit card? Tipalti Card is an employee-friendly solution that simplifies the issuance, control, visibility, and reconciliation of your expenses.
If your business regularly makes large purchases, pick a card that earns extra points or cash back for bigger transactions. You can also 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.
What types of payment methods can you offer customers today? Download our guide, Comparing the Top Global Payment Methods, today.