Blog

Are virtual credit cards safe for businesses?

February 1, 2024 7:00 PM

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In an era where payments are increasingly digitized, have you thought about how to secure your business transactions? The risks of credit card fraud and online breaches are higher than ever, and safeguarding your financial interactions is vital as you navigate this digital-first landscape. 

While there are many ways to protect your financial data online, virtual credit cards stand out as an effective solution. Their growing popularity is reflected in their global market value, which reached $13.31 billion in 2022. This surge indicates a strong trend among small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) adopting virtual cards not only for enhanced security but also for the added flexibility and control they offer over company expenditures.

Keep reading to learn how this powerful payment tool can help secure your business’s finances. 

Enhanced security features of virtual credit cards 

When it comes to securing business transactions, virtual cards take the lead over traditional credit cards. While physical credit cards remain a standard method for business expenses, they carry inherent risks, such as the potential for physical theft, cloning, and fraud. Virtual cards, on the other hand, offer an added layer of security that physical cards can’t match. 

Virtual cards are solely digital, eliminating the risk of physical loss, theft, and unauthorized copying. Their digital nature enables you to exponentially extend the power of your existing corporate card. Rather than sharing credit card numbers across your organization, you can create as many virtual cards as you need from that one existing card and assign them for specific uses — be it individual transactions, employees, projects, departments, or client accounts. 

Every virtual card has its own distinct credit card number, expiration date, and spending limit, meaning you’ll be diversifying your credit card usage across multiple virtual cards instead of just one physical card. If a virtual credit card number is compromised, the impact is limited and contained because a virtual card is automatically rendered useless after its intended transaction occurs or a custom expiration date is met, unlike a physical card, where a breach can expose your entire credit line.

The safety features of virtual credit cards, combined with the flexibility to tailor spending, also add an extra layer of control over company spending. Thanks to real-time modifications, spending limit capabilities, and the ability to instantly deactivate cards if you detect any suspicious activity, you can better control business budgets and prevent unauthorized or excessive spending. 

This level of oversight goes beyond fraud prevention; it represents a strategic, disciplined approach to financial management, ensuring that company spending aligns seamlessly with your broader financial objectives.

Virtual card benefits for businesses 

Incorporating virtual credit cards as part of your business payment strategy offers a multitude of advantages that span beyond security. 

Fraud prevention and risk mitigation 

Virtual cards are a great tool to prevent fraud and mitigate financial risks in your business. Leveraging unique card numbers and adjusting cards for single or limited use reduces the chances of fraudulent activity. Customizable spending limits and usage parameters further bolster security, allowing you to set precise controls on business expenses and vendor usage. Additionally, with real-time monitoring capabilities, you can quickly detect and respond to unusual activities, ensuring you take swift action against potential fraud. 

Streamlined spend management 

Virtual credit cards enhance spend management by granting you precise control over business expenses. By assigning individual cards to specific projects and departments, your finance team can gain the ability to track and manage budgets in real-time and with greater accuracy. This method streamlines financial oversight and provides valuable insights into spending patterns, aiding in strategic decision-making. With this granular view of expenses, you can better optimize resource allocation and ensure your company's financial resources are used wisely. 

Enhanced reporting capabilities 

With access to detailed transaction data, you can produce in-depth reports, offering a comprehensive view of all expenses. This will equip your finance team with a thorough analysis of spending patterns, helping identify areas of efficiency and potential overspending. Additionally, these detailed reports play a pivotal role in aligning financial activities with the company's broader strategic objectives. By having a transparent view of financial transactions, your finance team makes more informed decisions, ensuring that spending aligns with long-term goals and contributes to overall financial health and success.

Operational efficiency 

Virtual cards' ease of use, management, and deactivation allow your company to quickly adapt to evolving market conditions and internal demands. This agility is particularly valuable in managing unexpected expenses or allocating funds for new projects. The ability to create and distribute virtual cards instantly to employees eliminates delays often associated with traditional credit cards. Moreover, the straightforward management system of virtual cards enables you to adjust spending limits and track expenses in real-time, ensuring that financial resources are used effectively, and business operations keep moving smoothly. 

Seamless integration with financial tools 

You can also integrate virtual cards with your existing financial tools to create a unified financial ecosystem. 

This seamless integration facilitates the automatic flow of transaction data into accounting and financial management systems, reducing manual data entry and human error while streamlining reconciliation. This added visibility will provide you and other business leaders with a comprehensive view of company funds and ensure your team can work within an interoperable environment.  

Potential risks and concerns for businesses 

While virtual cards offer numerous benefits, there are some potential concerns you need to keep in mind. 

  • Cybersecurity vulnerabilities: 

Although virtual cards are more secure than their physical counterparts, they’re not immune to cyber threats or online fraud. For this reason, make sure business leaders and employees remain vigilant, complete security training, and adhere to best practices against phishing and advanced fraud techniques. 

  • Compliance and regulatory issues: 

As regulatory landscapes shift, you must stay informed and ensure your business practices comply with the latest requirements to avoid legal and financial repercussions. This involves regular updates to compliance policies, possibly consulting with legal and financial experts, and ensuring that the virtual card provider you work with adheres to relevant regulations. This is especially important if your business operates in multiple jurisdictions where regulations vary.

  • Virtual card provider restrictions: 

Some virtual card providers require you to leave your preferred bank and open new lines of credit. This can be a significant drawback, forcing you to abandon your established partnerships and potentially lose out on accrued benefits and rewards programs. That’s why it's essential to carefully evaluate your business needs and select a virtual card provider that offers a seamless onboarding process without requiring you to start from scratch. 

Business use cases for virtual credit cards 

There are many ways you can use virtual cards in your business; let’s go over the most common ones.

Vendor payments 

If you manage multiple vendors in your business, use virtual cards to manage and track payments in real-time. You’ll ensure vendors always get paid on time, further strengthening the relationship while protecting your real account information instead of leaving your card on file across multiple vendor accounts. This is particularly beneficial for companies dealing with a large number of vendors, as it also simplifies the reconciliation process and provides better control over cash flow.

Employee expenses 

Using virtual cards to manage employee expenses eliminates the need to share credit card numbers and saves your employees from acquiring costs they might not be able to afford by using personal funds. While these standard methods work, they’re not optimal for your business or employees. Instead, assign them a virtual card, set a spending limit, and empower them with a way to pay in seconds. You’ll retain spending control and visibility while they can keep the business moving without interruptions and long approval cycles. 

Suppliers and wholesalers 

If you’re using a single credit card to handle supplier and wholesaler payments, you’re putting your credit card line at risk. A more secure approach is to assign individual virtual cards with set limits to each supplier, which confines any fraudulent activity to a single card rather than affecting your entire credit line. If fraud occurs, you can deactivate the compromised virtual card in seconds, a process much simpler and faster than dealing with traditional credit cards. Aside from ensuring business continuity, virtual cards can help you re-negotiate better terms with suppliers thanks to clear and organized spending data. This detailed financial record-keeping lets you demonstrate consistent purchasing patterns and volumes to suppliers, giving you leverage in discussions. 

Multi-location and franchisees 

If your business operates across multiple locations or franchises, virtual credit cards can help you create a unified and compliance-friendly payment environment. Rather than sharing a corporate card across various locations and hoping for the best, create a virtual card for each site and easily delegate spending power. This process will automatically categorize payments as they occur instead of waiting until the end of the month to learn you’re over budget. Not to mention, you’ll significantly streamline the reconciliation process, ensure consistency in spending policies across all branches, and facilitate consolidated financial reporting.

Travel expenses 

For employees traveling for business, virtual cards provide a more convenient and secure way to pay. Employees can request virtual cards directly from their phones instead of waiting through long approval cycles to access a credit card. They can attach notes and attachments to their request, including their desired amount. Finance teams can then approve or deny requests and instantly enable employees to pay for flights, accommodations, and meals. This approach ensures compliance with travel policies and provides a more streamlined process with real-time spending visibility, simplifying the management and monitoring of travel expenses. 

Secure your business transactions with virtual cards 

Digital risks aren't going anywhere; if anything, they will only increase. Hence, equipping your business with virtual credit cards is vital not only to protect against the ever-present threats of fraud and cyber breaches but also to position your business for greater operational efficiency and control.

Contact Extend today to take the next steps in securing and streamlining your financial transactions. 

Presented by

Irais Urias

Content Marketing Manager
Blog

Are virtual credit cards safe for businesses?

Virtual Card Spend
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Share post

In an era where payments are increasingly digitized, have you thought about how to secure your business transactions? The risks of credit card fraud and online breaches are higher than ever, and safeguarding your financial interactions is vital as you navigate this digital-first landscape. 

While there are many ways to protect your financial data online, virtual credit cards stand out as an effective solution. Their growing popularity is reflected in their global market value, which reached $13.31 billion in 2022. This surge indicates a strong trend among small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) adopting virtual cards not only for enhanced security but also for the added flexibility and control they offer over company expenditures.

Keep reading to learn how this powerful payment tool can help secure your business’s finances. 

Enhanced security features of virtual credit cards 

When it comes to securing business transactions, virtual cards take the lead over traditional credit cards. While physical credit cards remain a standard method for business expenses, they carry inherent risks, such as the potential for physical theft, cloning, and fraud. Virtual cards, on the other hand, offer an added layer of security that physical cards can’t match. 

Virtual cards are solely digital, eliminating the risk of physical loss, theft, and unauthorized copying. Their digital nature enables you to exponentially extend the power of your existing corporate card. Rather than sharing credit card numbers across your organization, you can create as many virtual cards as you need from that one existing card and assign them for specific uses — be it individual transactions, employees, projects, departments, or client accounts. 

Every virtual card has its own distinct credit card number, expiration date, and spending limit, meaning you’ll be diversifying your credit card usage across multiple virtual cards instead of just one physical card. If a virtual credit card number is compromised, the impact is limited and contained because a virtual card is automatically rendered useless after its intended transaction occurs or a custom expiration date is met, unlike a physical card, where a breach can expose your entire credit line.

The safety features of virtual credit cards, combined with the flexibility to tailor spending, also add an extra layer of control over company spending. Thanks to real-time modifications, spending limit capabilities, and the ability to instantly deactivate cards if you detect any suspicious activity, you can better control business budgets and prevent unauthorized or excessive spending. 

This level of oversight goes beyond fraud prevention; it represents a strategic, disciplined approach to financial management, ensuring that company spending aligns seamlessly with your broader financial objectives.

Virtual card benefits for businesses 

Incorporating virtual credit cards as part of your business payment strategy offers a multitude of advantages that span beyond security. 

Fraud prevention and risk mitigation 

Virtual cards are a great tool to prevent fraud and mitigate financial risks in your business. Leveraging unique card numbers and adjusting cards for single or limited use reduces the chances of fraudulent activity. Customizable spending limits and usage parameters further bolster security, allowing you to set precise controls on business expenses and vendor usage. Additionally, with real-time monitoring capabilities, you can quickly detect and respond to unusual activities, ensuring you take swift action against potential fraud. 

Streamlined spend management 

Virtual credit cards enhance spend management by granting you precise control over business expenses. By assigning individual cards to specific projects and departments, your finance team can gain the ability to track and manage budgets in real-time and with greater accuracy. This method streamlines financial oversight and provides valuable insights into spending patterns, aiding in strategic decision-making. With this granular view of expenses, you can better optimize resource allocation and ensure your company's financial resources are used wisely. 

Enhanced reporting capabilities 

With access to detailed transaction data, you can produce in-depth reports, offering a comprehensive view of all expenses. This will equip your finance team with a thorough analysis of spending patterns, helping identify areas of efficiency and potential overspending. Additionally, these detailed reports play a pivotal role in aligning financial activities with the company's broader strategic objectives. By having a transparent view of financial transactions, your finance team makes more informed decisions, ensuring that spending aligns with long-term goals and contributes to overall financial health and success.

Operational efficiency 

Virtual cards' ease of use, management, and deactivation allow your company to quickly adapt to evolving market conditions and internal demands. This agility is particularly valuable in managing unexpected expenses or allocating funds for new projects. The ability to create and distribute virtual cards instantly to employees eliminates delays often associated with traditional credit cards. Moreover, the straightforward management system of virtual cards enables you to adjust spending limits and track expenses in real-time, ensuring that financial resources are used effectively, and business operations keep moving smoothly. 

Seamless integration with financial tools 

You can also integrate virtual cards with your existing financial tools to create a unified financial ecosystem. 

This seamless integration facilitates the automatic flow of transaction data into accounting and financial management systems, reducing manual data entry and human error while streamlining reconciliation. This added visibility will provide you and other business leaders with a comprehensive view of company funds and ensure your team can work within an interoperable environment.  

Potential risks and concerns for businesses 

While virtual cards offer numerous benefits, there are some potential concerns you need to keep in mind. 

  • Cybersecurity vulnerabilities: 

Although virtual cards are more secure than their physical counterparts, they’re not immune to cyber threats or online fraud. For this reason, make sure business leaders and employees remain vigilant, complete security training, and adhere to best practices against phishing and advanced fraud techniques. 

  • Compliance and regulatory issues: 

As regulatory landscapes shift, you must stay informed and ensure your business practices comply with the latest requirements to avoid legal and financial repercussions. This involves regular updates to compliance policies, possibly consulting with legal and financial experts, and ensuring that the virtual card provider you work with adheres to relevant regulations. This is especially important if your business operates in multiple jurisdictions where regulations vary.

  • Virtual card provider restrictions: 

Some virtual card providers require you to leave your preferred bank and open new lines of credit. This can be a significant drawback, forcing you to abandon your established partnerships and potentially lose out on accrued benefits and rewards programs. That’s why it's essential to carefully evaluate your business needs and select a virtual card provider that offers a seamless onboarding process without requiring you to start from scratch. 

Business use cases for virtual credit cards 

There are many ways you can use virtual cards in your business; let’s go over the most common ones.

Vendor payments 

If you manage multiple vendors in your business, use virtual cards to manage and track payments in real-time. You’ll ensure vendors always get paid on time, further strengthening the relationship while protecting your real account information instead of leaving your card on file across multiple vendor accounts. This is particularly beneficial for companies dealing with a large number of vendors, as it also simplifies the reconciliation process and provides better control over cash flow.

Employee expenses 

Using virtual cards to manage employee expenses eliminates the need to share credit card numbers and saves your employees from acquiring costs they might not be able to afford by using personal funds. While these standard methods work, they’re not optimal for your business or employees. Instead, assign them a virtual card, set a spending limit, and empower them with a way to pay in seconds. You’ll retain spending control and visibility while they can keep the business moving without interruptions and long approval cycles. 

Suppliers and wholesalers 

If you’re using a single credit card to handle supplier and wholesaler payments, you’re putting your credit card line at risk. A more secure approach is to assign individual virtual cards with set limits to each supplier, which confines any fraudulent activity to a single card rather than affecting your entire credit line. If fraud occurs, you can deactivate the compromised virtual card in seconds, a process much simpler and faster than dealing with traditional credit cards. Aside from ensuring business continuity, virtual cards can help you re-negotiate better terms with suppliers thanks to clear and organized spending data. This detailed financial record-keeping lets you demonstrate consistent purchasing patterns and volumes to suppliers, giving you leverage in discussions. 

Multi-location and franchisees 

If your business operates across multiple locations or franchises, virtual credit cards can help you create a unified and compliance-friendly payment environment. Rather than sharing a corporate card across various locations and hoping for the best, create a virtual card for each site and easily delegate spending power. This process will automatically categorize payments as they occur instead of waiting until the end of the month to learn you’re over budget. Not to mention, you’ll significantly streamline the reconciliation process, ensure consistency in spending policies across all branches, and facilitate consolidated financial reporting.

Travel expenses 

For employees traveling for business, virtual cards provide a more convenient and secure way to pay. Employees can request virtual cards directly from their phones instead of waiting through long approval cycles to access a credit card. They can attach notes and attachments to their request, including their desired amount. Finance teams can then approve or deny requests and instantly enable employees to pay for flights, accommodations, and meals. This approach ensures compliance with travel policies and provides a more streamlined process with real-time spending visibility, simplifying the management and monitoring of travel expenses. 

Secure your business transactions with virtual cards 

Digital risks aren't going anywhere; if anything, they will only increase. Hence, equipping your business with virtual credit cards is vital not only to protect against the ever-present threats of fraud and cyber breaches but also to position your business for greater operational efficiency and control.

Contact Extend today to take the next steps in securing and streamlining your financial transactions. 

Blog

Are virtual credit cards safe for businesses?

Author
Irais Urias
Content Marketing Manager
Virtual Card Spend
No items found.
Share post

In an era where payments are increasingly digitized, have you thought about how to secure your business transactions? The risks of credit card fraud and online breaches are higher than ever, and safeguarding your financial interactions is vital as you navigate this digital-first landscape. 

While there are many ways to protect your financial data online, virtual credit cards stand out as an effective solution. Their growing popularity is reflected in their global market value, which reached $13.31 billion in 2022. This surge indicates a strong trend among small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) adopting virtual cards not only for enhanced security but also for the added flexibility and control they offer over company expenditures.

Keep reading to learn how this powerful payment tool can help secure your business’s finances. 

Enhanced security features of virtual credit cards 

When it comes to securing business transactions, virtual cards take the lead over traditional credit cards. While physical credit cards remain a standard method for business expenses, they carry inherent risks, such as the potential for physical theft, cloning, and fraud. Virtual cards, on the other hand, offer an added layer of security that physical cards can’t match. 

Virtual cards are solely digital, eliminating the risk of physical loss, theft, and unauthorized copying. Their digital nature enables you to exponentially extend the power of your existing corporate card. Rather than sharing credit card numbers across your organization, you can create as many virtual cards as you need from that one existing card and assign them for specific uses — be it individual transactions, employees, projects, departments, or client accounts. 

Every virtual card has its own distinct credit card number, expiration date, and spending limit, meaning you’ll be diversifying your credit card usage across multiple virtual cards instead of just one physical card. If a virtual credit card number is compromised, the impact is limited and contained because a virtual card is automatically rendered useless after its intended transaction occurs or a custom expiration date is met, unlike a physical card, where a breach can expose your entire credit line.

The safety features of virtual credit cards, combined with the flexibility to tailor spending, also add an extra layer of control over company spending. Thanks to real-time modifications, spending limit capabilities, and the ability to instantly deactivate cards if you detect any suspicious activity, you can better control business budgets and prevent unauthorized or excessive spending. 

This level of oversight goes beyond fraud prevention; it represents a strategic, disciplined approach to financial management, ensuring that company spending aligns seamlessly with your broader financial objectives.

Virtual card benefits for businesses 

Incorporating virtual credit cards as part of your business payment strategy offers a multitude of advantages that span beyond security. 

Fraud prevention and risk mitigation 

Virtual cards are a great tool to prevent fraud and mitigate financial risks in your business. Leveraging unique card numbers and adjusting cards for single or limited use reduces the chances of fraudulent activity. Customizable spending limits and usage parameters further bolster security, allowing you to set precise controls on business expenses and vendor usage. Additionally, with real-time monitoring capabilities, you can quickly detect and respond to unusual activities, ensuring you take swift action against potential fraud. 

Streamlined spend management 

Virtual credit cards enhance spend management by granting you precise control over business expenses. By assigning individual cards to specific projects and departments, your finance team can gain the ability to track and manage budgets in real-time and with greater accuracy. This method streamlines financial oversight and provides valuable insights into spending patterns, aiding in strategic decision-making. With this granular view of expenses, you can better optimize resource allocation and ensure your company's financial resources are used wisely. 

Enhanced reporting capabilities 

With access to detailed transaction data, you can produce in-depth reports, offering a comprehensive view of all expenses. This will equip your finance team with a thorough analysis of spending patterns, helping identify areas of efficiency and potential overspending. Additionally, these detailed reports play a pivotal role in aligning financial activities with the company's broader strategic objectives. By having a transparent view of financial transactions, your finance team makes more informed decisions, ensuring that spending aligns with long-term goals and contributes to overall financial health and success.

Operational efficiency 

Virtual cards' ease of use, management, and deactivation allow your company to quickly adapt to evolving market conditions and internal demands. This agility is particularly valuable in managing unexpected expenses or allocating funds for new projects. The ability to create and distribute virtual cards instantly to employees eliminates delays often associated with traditional credit cards. Moreover, the straightforward management system of virtual cards enables you to adjust spending limits and track expenses in real-time, ensuring that financial resources are used effectively, and business operations keep moving smoothly. 

Seamless integration with financial tools 

You can also integrate virtual cards with your existing financial tools to create a unified financial ecosystem. 

This seamless integration facilitates the automatic flow of transaction data into accounting and financial management systems, reducing manual data entry and human error while streamlining reconciliation. This added visibility will provide you and other business leaders with a comprehensive view of company funds and ensure your team can work within an interoperable environment.  

Potential risks and concerns for businesses 

While virtual cards offer numerous benefits, there are some potential concerns you need to keep in mind. 

  • Cybersecurity vulnerabilities: 

Although virtual cards are more secure than their physical counterparts, they’re not immune to cyber threats or online fraud. For this reason, make sure business leaders and employees remain vigilant, complete security training, and adhere to best practices against phishing and advanced fraud techniques. 

  • Compliance and regulatory issues: 

As regulatory landscapes shift, you must stay informed and ensure your business practices comply with the latest requirements to avoid legal and financial repercussions. This involves regular updates to compliance policies, possibly consulting with legal and financial experts, and ensuring that the virtual card provider you work with adheres to relevant regulations. This is especially important if your business operates in multiple jurisdictions where regulations vary.

  • Virtual card provider restrictions: 

Some virtual card providers require you to leave your preferred bank and open new lines of credit. This can be a significant drawback, forcing you to abandon your established partnerships and potentially lose out on accrued benefits and rewards programs. That’s why it's essential to carefully evaluate your business needs and select a virtual card provider that offers a seamless onboarding process without requiring you to start from scratch. 

Business use cases for virtual credit cards 

There are many ways you can use virtual cards in your business; let’s go over the most common ones.

Vendor payments 

If you manage multiple vendors in your business, use virtual cards to manage and track payments in real-time. You’ll ensure vendors always get paid on time, further strengthening the relationship while protecting your real account information instead of leaving your card on file across multiple vendor accounts. This is particularly beneficial for companies dealing with a large number of vendors, as it also simplifies the reconciliation process and provides better control over cash flow.

Employee expenses 

Using virtual cards to manage employee expenses eliminates the need to share credit card numbers and saves your employees from acquiring costs they might not be able to afford by using personal funds. While these standard methods work, they’re not optimal for your business or employees. Instead, assign them a virtual card, set a spending limit, and empower them with a way to pay in seconds. You’ll retain spending control and visibility while they can keep the business moving without interruptions and long approval cycles. 

Suppliers and wholesalers 

If you’re using a single credit card to handle supplier and wholesaler payments, you’re putting your credit card line at risk. A more secure approach is to assign individual virtual cards with set limits to each supplier, which confines any fraudulent activity to a single card rather than affecting your entire credit line. If fraud occurs, you can deactivate the compromised virtual card in seconds, a process much simpler and faster than dealing with traditional credit cards. Aside from ensuring business continuity, virtual cards can help you re-negotiate better terms with suppliers thanks to clear and organized spending data. This detailed financial record-keeping lets you demonstrate consistent purchasing patterns and volumes to suppliers, giving you leverage in discussions. 

Multi-location and franchisees 

If your business operates across multiple locations or franchises, virtual credit cards can help you create a unified and compliance-friendly payment environment. Rather than sharing a corporate card across various locations and hoping for the best, create a virtual card for each site and easily delegate spending power. This process will automatically categorize payments as they occur instead of waiting until the end of the month to learn you’re over budget. Not to mention, you’ll significantly streamline the reconciliation process, ensure consistency in spending policies across all branches, and facilitate consolidated financial reporting.

Travel expenses 

For employees traveling for business, virtual cards provide a more convenient and secure way to pay. Employees can request virtual cards directly from their phones instead of waiting through long approval cycles to access a credit card. They can attach notes and attachments to their request, including their desired amount. Finance teams can then approve or deny requests and instantly enable employees to pay for flights, accommodations, and meals. This approach ensures compliance with travel policies and provides a more streamlined process with real-time spending visibility, simplifying the management and monitoring of travel expenses. 

Secure your business transactions with virtual cards 

Digital risks aren't going anywhere; if anything, they will only increase. Hence, equipping your business with virtual credit cards is vital not only to protect against the ever-present threats of fraud and cyber breaches but also to position your business for greater operational efficiency and control.

Contact Extend today to take the next steps in securing and streamlining your financial transactions. 

About the author

Irais Urias

Content Marketing Manager

Irais is the Content Marketing Manager at Extend. An ambitious and performance-driven professional, Irais brings over five years of experience in journalism, content marketing, social media, and communications. Before Extend, she was the Marketing Communications Specialist at DATAMARK, where she led content marketing and social media campaigns, further deepening her skills in strategic storytelling and augmenting brand affinity. She earned a B.S. in Multimedia Journalism with a minor in Marketing from The University of Texas at El Paso.

Frequently asked questions about the safety of virtual credit cards

What are the risks of virtual credit cards?

While virtual credit cards offer enhanced security, they are not immune to risks. For this reason, it's critical to remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding your financial transactions. Regular training sessions on identifying and avoiding phishing scams, secure handling of financial information, and best practices in digital security can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access or misuse of card details. 

Are virtual credit cards secure?

Virtual cards were created with security in mind, as they mask your real account information and reduce fraud risks. They provide unique numbers for each card or transaction, custom spending limits, and expiration dates, which add layers of security not typically available with physical cards. Not to mention, you can quickly deactivate any given virtual card directly from your phone, rendering it useless in a matter of seconds. 

What are the disadvantages of virtual cards?

Virtual cards are widely accepted online, and you can also pay by phone, an app, or in person, where contactless payments are accepted; however, they’re not universally accepted everywhere just yet. Certain providers, particularly in industries like hospitality or car rentals, may still require a physical card at the time of payment. The digital payments landscape is rapidly evolving, though, meaning it's only a matter of time before virtual cards gain broader acceptance everywhere. 

Do virtual credit cards have CVV?

Yes, like traditional credit cards, each virtual card is assigned a unique card verification value (CVV). This CVV is an essential security feature for verifying transactions, significantly enhancing the safety of your online purchases. Whenever you make a purchase with a virtual credit card, you'll need to provide this CVV. This requirement ensures that you, as the cardholder, have the correct and complete card details, adding an extra layer of protection against unauthorized use and potential online fraud.

Are virtual cards safer than physical cards?

Virtual cards are more secure than physical cards due to their advanced features. They provide unique card numbers for each card or transaction and allow you to set custom spending limits and expiration dates, enhancing control over payments. Additionally, the ability to instantly deactivate a virtual card in case of suspected misuse offers a level of security and flexibility that physical cards can't match. These features make virtual cards safer and more adaptable for managing business transactions.

How long does a virtual credit card last?

The lifespan of a virtual credit card is highly flexible, as you can tailor its validity date to your specific needs. Moreover, you can set it up as a single-use card, ensuring it expires immediately after use, which is ideal for one-time purchases. Alternatively, you can configure the virtual card with auto-refill capabilities for recurring expenses and set it to last for several months or as long as needed. 

What are the benefits of virtual cards for businesses?

Virtual cards offer numerous benefits for businesses, including enhanced security, improved spend management, and operational efficiency. They allow for precise control over expenses, easy integration with financial systems, and real-time tracking of transactions, which can streamline financial processes and reduce the risk of fraud.

Blog

Are virtual credit cards safe for businesses?

Presented by

Irais Urias

Content Marketing Manager

In an era where payments are increasingly digitized, have you thought about how to secure your business transactions? The risks of credit card fraud and online breaches are higher than ever, and safeguarding your financial interactions is vital as you navigate this digital-first landscape. 

While there are many ways to protect your financial data online, virtual credit cards stand out as an effective solution. Their growing popularity is reflected in their global market value, which reached $13.31 billion in 2022. This surge indicates a strong trend among small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) adopting virtual cards not only for enhanced security but also for the added flexibility and control they offer over company expenditures.

Keep reading to learn how this powerful payment tool can help secure your business’s finances. 

Enhanced security features of virtual credit cards 

When it comes to securing business transactions, virtual cards take the lead over traditional credit cards. While physical credit cards remain a standard method for business expenses, they carry inherent risks, such as the potential for physical theft, cloning, and fraud. Virtual cards, on the other hand, offer an added layer of security that physical cards can’t match. 

Virtual cards are solely digital, eliminating the risk of physical loss, theft, and unauthorized copying. Their digital nature enables you to exponentially extend the power of your existing corporate card. Rather than sharing credit card numbers across your organization, you can create as many virtual cards as you need from that one existing card and assign them for specific uses — be it individual transactions, employees, projects, departments, or client accounts. 

Every virtual card has its own distinct credit card number, expiration date, and spending limit, meaning you’ll be diversifying your credit card usage across multiple virtual cards instead of just one physical card. If a virtual credit card number is compromised, the impact is limited and contained because a virtual card is automatically rendered useless after its intended transaction occurs or a custom expiration date is met, unlike a physical card, where a breach can expose your entire credit line.

The safety features of virtual credit cards, combined with the flexibility to tailor spending, also add an extra layer of control over company spending. Thanks to real-time modifications, spending limit capabilities, and the ability to instantly deactivate cards if you detect any suspicious activity, you can better control business budgets and prevent unauthorized or excessive spending. 

This level of oversight goes beyond fraud prevention; it represents a strategic, disciplined approach to financial management, ensuring that company spending aligns seamlessly with your broader financial objectives.

Virtual card benefits for businesses 

Incorporating virtual credit cards as part of your business payment strategy offers a multitude of advantages that span beyond security. 

Fraud prevention and risk mitigation 

Virtual cards are a great tool to prevent fraud and mitigate financial risks in your business. Leveraging unique card numbers and adjusting cards for single or limited use reduces the chances of fraudulent activity. Customizable spending limits and usage parameters further bolster security, allowing you to set precise controls on business expenses and vendor usage. Additionally, with real-time monitoring capabilities, you can quickly detect and respond to unusual activities, ensuring you take swift action against potential fraud. 

Streamlined spend management 

Virtual credit cards enhance spend management by granting you precise control over business expenses. By assigning individual cards to specific projects and departments, your finance team can gain the ability to track and manage budgets in real-time and with greater accuracy. This method streamlines financial oversight and provides valuable insights into spending patterns, aiding in strategic decision-making. With this granular view of expenses, you can better optimize resource allocation and ensure your company's financial resources are used wisely. 

Enhanced reporting capabilities 

With access to detailed transaction data, you can produce in-depth reports, offering a comprehensive view of all expenses. This will equip your finance team with a thorough analysis of spending patterns, helping identify areas of efficiency and potential overspending. Additionally, these detailed reports play a pivotal role in aligning financial activities with the company's broader strategic objectives. By having a transparent view of financial transactions, your finance team makes more informed decisions, ensuring that spending aligns with long-term goals and contributes to overall financial health and success.

Operational efficiency 

Virtual cards' ease of use, management, and deactivation allow your company to quickly adapt to evolving market conditions and internal demands. This agility is particularly valuable in managing unexpected expenses or allocating funds for new projects. The ability to create and distribute virtual cards instantly to employees eliminates delays often associated with traditional credit cards. Moreover, the straightforward management system of virtual cards enables you to adjust spending limits and track expenses in real-time, ensuring that financial resources are used effectively, and business operations keep moving smoothly. 

Seamless integration with financial tools 

You can also integrate virtual cards with your existing financial tools to create a unified financial ecosystem. 

This seamless integration facilitates the automatic flow of transaction data into accounting and financial management systems, reducing manual data entry and human error while streamlining reconciliation. This added visibility will provide you and other business leaders with a comprehensive view of company funds and ensure your team can work within an interoperable environment.  

Potential risks and concerns for businesses 

While virtual cards offer numerous benefits, there are some potential concerns you need to keep in mind. 

  • Cybersecurity vulnerabilities: 

Although virtual cards are more secure than their physical counterparts, they’re not immune to cyber threats or online fraud. For this reason, make sure business leaders and employees remain vigilant, complete security training, and adhere to best practices against phishing and advanced fraud techniques. 

  • Compliance and regulatory issues: 

As regulatory landscapes shift, you must stay informed and ensure your business practices comply with the latest requirements to avoid legal and financial repercussions. This involves regular updates to compliance policies, possibly consulting with legal and financial experts, and ensuring that the virtual card provider you work with adheres to relevant regulations. This is especially important if your business operates in multiple jurisdictions where regulations vary.

  • Virtual card provider restrictions: 

Some virtual card providers require you to leave your preferred bank and open new lines of credit. This can be a significant drawback, forcing you to abandon your established partnerships and potentially lose out on accrued benefits and rewards programs. That’s why it's essential to carefully evaluate your business needs and select a virtual card provider that offers a seamless onboarding process without requiring you to start from scratch. 

Business use cases for virtual credit cards 

There are many ways you can use virtual cards in your business; let’s go over the most common ones.

Vendor payments 

If you manage multiple vendors in your business, use virtual cards to manage and track payments in real-time. You’ll ensure vendors always get paid on time, further strengthening the relationship while protecting your real account information instead of leaving your card on file across multiple vendor accounts. This is particularly beneficial for companies dealing with a large number of vendors, as it also simplifies the reconciliation process and provides better control over cash flow.

Employee expenses 

Using virtual cards to manage employee expenses eliminates the need to share credit card numbers and saves your employees from acquiring costs they might not be able to afford by using personal funds. While these standard methods work, they’re not optimal for your business or employees. Instead, assign them a virtual card, set a spending limit, and empower them with a way to pay in seconds. You’ll retain spending control and visibility while they can keep the business moving without interruptions and long approval cycles. 

Suppliers and wholesalers 

If you’re using a single credit card to handle supplier and wholesaler payments, you’re putting your credit card line at risk. A more secure approach is to assign individual virtual cards with set limits to each supplier, which confines any fraudulent activity to a single card rather than affecting your entire credit line. If fraud occurs, you can deactivate the compromised virtual card in seconds, a process much simpler and faster than dealing with traditional credit cards. Aside from ensuring business continuity, virtual cards can help you re-negotiate better terms with suppliers thanks to clear and organized spending data. This detailed financial record-keeping lets you demonstrate consistent purchasing patterns and volumes to suppliers, giving you leverage in discussions. 

Multi-location and franchisees 

If your business operates across multiple locations or franchises, virtual credit cards can help you create a unified and compliance-friendly payment environment. Rather than sharing a corporate card across various locations and hoping for the best, create a virtual card for each site and easily delegate spending power. This process will automatically categorize payments as they occur instead of waiting until the end of the month to learn you’re over budget. Not to mention, you’ll significantly streamline the reconciliation process, ensure consistency in spending policies across all branches, and facilitate consolidated financial reporting.

Travel expenses 

For employees traveling for business, virtual cards provide a more convenient and secure way to pay. Employees can request virtual cards directly from their phones instead of waiting through long approval cycles to access a credit card. They can attach notes and attachments to their request, including their desired amount. Finance teams can then approve or deny requests and instantly enable employees to pay for flights, accommodations, and meals. This approach ensures compliance with travel policies and provides a more streamlined process with real-time spending visibility, simplifying the management and monitoring of travel expenses. 

Secure your business transactions with virtual cards 

Digital risks aren't going anywhere; if anything, they will only increase. Hence, equipping your business with virtual credit cards is vital not only to protect against the ever-present threats of fraud and cyber breaches but also to position your business for greater operational efficiency and control.

Contact Extend today to take the next steps in securing and streamlining your financial transactions. 

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