5 Things Every Travel Manager Needs to Know About Virtual Cards

A virtual credit card helps solve many pain points travel managers face in procuring business travel.  Virtual credit cards may soon become a normal form of payment within the travel industry, so it is important to understand the basics.

  • WHO: Who should be using a virtual credit card?
  • WHAT: What is a virtual credit card and how does it apply to the travel industry?
  • WHEN: When should a virtual credit card be used?
  • WHERE: Where do virtual credit card numbers come from?
  • WHY: Why should travel managers use virtual credits to procure travel?

Who can benefit from a virtual credit card?
Technically any company can benefit from a virtual credit card for a number of reasons, but for the sake of this post, I want to focus on travel managers.  Corporate travel managers, travel management companies and the travelers all see benefits from using virtual credit cards. The payment process and reconciliation process are in synch because booking and payment data are tied to a specific transaction.  Virtual cards allow for travel managers to customize data fields, which provides the ability to track and reconcile travel information any way needed.

What is a virtual credit card number?
A virtual credit card number is a sixteen digit number that is generated to settle a specific transaction.  The single-use number is used in a similar way as a plastic credit card number is used except there is not physical card involved.  Instead, the number is generated electronically and typically issued for an exact amount, which reduces the chances of credit card fraud and eliminates noncompliant travel charges.

When should a travel manager use a virtual credit card?
Virtual credit cards can be used to procure any travel reservation from hotel, air and car.  But the most popular use is eliminating the manual process of the hotel direct billing process.  Credit card authorization forms are being automated to the hotel eliminating the need for the travel manager to fax each individual form to each hotel for each reservation.   Virtual card providers like CSI globalVCard offer the technology of a mobile app to partner with the virtual card allowing for a seamless check-in process when the antiquated fax confirmation failed.

Where do the virtual credit card numbers come from?
Licensed issuers generate the numbers from their Bank Identification Numbers, known as BINs.  BIN is a term from the credit card industry that refers to a six-digit number that is assigned to banks for electronic routing of transactions.  You can learn more about BINs here.

Why should companies implement a virtual credit card solution?
There are a number of reasons why businesses should adopt a virtual card solution:  increased security, spending controls, automation and a simpler way to reconcile corporate travel expenses.  Watch this video to learn how travel managers benefit from using a virtual credit card.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4NQwnaQNCQ

Combine a virtual card system with a mobile app and you have powerful spending control!
When it comes to business travel, the CSI globalVCard travel solution combines the virtual card system with an innovative mobile app to provide powerful spending control through an automated process while ensuring compliance and reducing fraud.  For more information about virtual cards in business to business payments read “What is a virtual card?”