How to choose the right virtual debit card for your business

5 minutes
FinanceBusiness tips
How to choose the right virtual debit card for your business
In this article

If you’ve ever had to chase accounts for the one office debit card to purchase supplies, then you know how inconvenient it can be.

This is where virtual payment cards are changing the game for businesses. Gaining popularity over the past few years, virtual debit and credit cards eliminate the physical element from your purchases altogether. 

Created and used entirely online, they operate exactly the same way as their physical counterparts. Upon sign-up, you receive a randomly-generated 16-digit number that acts as your card details, complete with a card verification number and expiry date. 

This virtual debit card can then be used anywhere your physical card would be, with the big benefit that there’s no physical card to lose. You get all the security of a regular card with the flexibility of the virtual world. 

Virtual debit cards are changing how businesses do banking. So, it’s important to find the one that’s best suited to your business’ needs.

Here’s what you should look for, and how to choose the right virtual debit card for your business.

Choose the type of payment card

As well as the typical everyday payment card there are a few variations on what a virtual debit card can offer you, so it’s important to think about how you’ll be using your debit card before you settle on one.

You’ve got the standard virtual debit card, which works the same way as your traditional debit card. You can use this for everyday transactions, recurring payments—essentially, anywhere you would typically use your normal debit card.

Single-payment virtual debit cards can be created for a specific amount and set to expire once that amount has been used. Think of it like a gift card, but used to pay your suppliers.

Is it easy to open your account?

One of the many game-changing aspects of virtual debit cards is that you don’t need to go to a bank branch to open one. You can do it entirely online, and better still, you don’t have to wait 4-5 business days to receive it. When looking into virtual cards, make sure you can open your account completely online. This also makes the application process much quicker. 

Once you’ve opened your account, confirm how long it is until you can start using your card. As your virtual debit card is on a 16-digit string of numbers, in theory, once you have this you can start using your card immediately.

At least, it should be this easy. If there are any more steps involved with creating your virtual debit card, consider looking into another supplier.

Exchange rates and fees 

With the increasing connectedness of the modern world, it’s highly likely that you’ll be using your virtual debit card for international transactions. If you’re making a high volume of such transactions, it’s beneficial to familiarise yourself with your new debit card’s fees and international exchange rates.

Check that the supplier clearly and transparently outlines any fees incurred on foreign transactions. Do they offer a fair rate, or use the interbank FX rate?

It pays to check these things beforehand, so you’re not slugged with exorbitant and surprise fees each time you use your card internationally, with some providers charging in excess of 3% per transaction.

Monthly and other fees

While we come to expect fees associated with banking, many virtual card providers are bucking the trend and offering competitive fees on their products—or even removing them altogether.

So when comparing virtual debit cards, read the full Product Disclosure Statement to check if there are any fees involved. Some suppliers may charge a monthly service fee to use your virtual debit card. Some might even charge a fee for opening an account with them.

If so, are they worth it?

Ease of reconciliation

Virtual debit cards exist purely online, so it makes sense that they’re more efficient than regular cards. 

This online nature makes it easy to sync and manage your accounting for each card. You won’t need to keep track of hundreds of receipts anymore, all the information for your payments is stored online. 

A good virtual debit card will have the ability to sync automatically to your accounting software, with all your information being ported directly across. No double-handling, no waiting 2-3 days to see the latest transaction appear in your account. This allows you to manage your spending in real-time, with up-to-date card statements available at the click of a button.

So if efficiency and ease-of-use is your thing, make sure your virtual debit card supplier offers this feature.

Airwallex helps you bring your business into the virtual world

Airwallex Multi-Currency Cards are designed to make your business payments easy.

With our virtual debit card option, you can open your business account completely online, and once your account is live you can create new virtual debit cards instantly. There are no card fees, ever, and you get access to our competitive interbank exchange rate, where you’ll only ever pay a minimal 0.3% or 0.6% fee on top of your foreign exchanges. 

You get full control over your cards, too. Set them for single-use, so once any transaction is made the card is rendered void, or give them an expiry date that suits your needs. You can set budget limits, so you and your teams know exactly how much you’re spending on each card. 

Your card can also be linked to specific cost codes, so your spend is always tracked. This code is then automatically logged, so you get instant, real-time spend tracking for your budgets. You can save even more time by integrating your Borderless Card with your Xero accounting software for easy monthly reconciliation, with transactions syncing hourly.

So when choosing the right virtual debit card for your business, Airwallex makes it easy. Get in touch with us today to book a demo and see how we help you take the hassle out of your business banking.

Related article: The benefits of virtual debit & credit cards

Our products and services in Australia are provided by Airwallex Pty Ltd ABN 37 609 653 312 who holds AFSL 487221. Any information provided is for general information purposes only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the information in light of your own objectives, financial situation or needs. Please read and consider the Product Disclosure Statement available on our website  before using our service.

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