Why Virtual Credit Cards are Ideal for Event Management

If trade shows have a season, this would be it. We’re juggling the planning and logistics for nearly a dozen upcoming shows right now, which means we’re also contributing heavily to the $565 billion that Frost and Sullivan estimates that marketers spend on event marketing each year – 20% of their total spend.

Managing those expenses can be daunting: floor space, booth expenses and fixtures, furniture, electrical, banners, refreshments, shiny new collateral and promotional giveaways, not to mention travel and entertainment costs. At every touch point there is a payment being made – along with an opportunity for fraudulent charges.

As a marketer, your eye is usually following the myriad of tasks and not the paper trail that goes with them. Chances are good that the credit card you have on file may be charged for goods and services you did not authorize, and you’ll never know it – unless you’re using virtual credit cards.

4 Reasons Why Virtual Cards are Ideal for Event Managers

Virtual credit cards are ideal for marketing expenditures because of their ability to protect your business against unauthorized charges. A single-use virtual credit card number is generated for the exact amount of the invoice. The details of that virtual credit card – account number, expiration date, security code – are then used to pay invoices online, just as you would with a traditional plastic card.

Virtual credit card payments are easy to use and bring four valuable benefits to your company:

  1. Security – Unlike a static plastic credit card number, a single-use virtual card account number becomes invalid once the intended transaction is completed – which means there’s no risk of a stored credit card number on file being compromised, or used repeatedly without approval.
  1. Control – Since the virtual card is issued for a specific dollar amount, any charges exceeding that amount will be denied. We had contracted for $572 in electrical charges, however the vendor attempted to run our credit card for $850, an overcharge that would have gone completely unnoticed if I had used my plastic corporate card number. Instead, when that charge declined, the vendor had no choice but to return to me to explain the overage – which in this case was not authorized.
  1. Mobility – Although virtual credit cards are most often generated online through a web portal, mobile technology is available that allows the generation of a virtual card payment – with the same level of security and controls outlined above. As most marketers have experienced, events are full of surprises, which usually come with a price tag attached. Through a mobile app, I’m able to immediately generate a virtual credit card number for authorized charges.
  1. Expense Tracking – Most of us dread that day when accounting hands over a monthly credit card statement and requests that each line item be allocated to the appropriate event. When one single credit card number is used for all of your purchases, expense reporting can be a nightmare. Since a unique credit card number is used for each virtual card payment, you’ll know exactly what your costs are for each event, making expense tracking and reporting much easier.

While not all vendors accept credit cards, the majority do. When MasterCard® is a payment option, the use of virtual card payments has been invaluable to our marketing team. Now when we close the financials to an event, I can confidently attest to the accuracy of charges and know that every dollar we spent was approved.