Virtual card: manage all company expenses with a single virtual corporate card

Kirstie Lau4 minutes
Finance
Virtual card: manage all company expenses with a single virtual corporate card
In this article

Many companies set up corporate cards for handling business and employee expenses. In recent years, virtual cards have emerged as a new type of payment card, particularly for business-to-business (B2B) transactions. Virtual cards offer enhanced security, convenience, and transparency compared to physical cards and facilitate seamless management of corporate accounts.  

What is a virtual card?

The emerging virtual cards is a digital payment tool issued by financial institutions or card issuers. They possess similar functionality to physical cards, with a unique virtual card number, expiration date, and Card Verification Value (CVV). They are intangible and exist solely in the digital world.

Types of virtual cards: virtual credit cards, prepaid cards and debit cards

Virtual cards can be categorized into three types: credit cards, prepaid cards, and debit cards.

Credit card holders can make purchases within a designated credit limit and settle the payments later.  As for prepaid cards and debit cards, they share similar characteristics with no credit limit. Prepaid cards require preloading funds onto the card before use, while debit cards are linked to a bank account. The transaction amount is deducted from the card balance or the balance of the linked account, and the transaction cannot be completed if there are insufficient funds.

What are the differences between virtual cards and physical cards?

The main difference between virtual and physical cards is that virtual cards exist digitally and have no physical form. Once you add a virtual card to your mobile device, you can use it for online transactions through computers or smartphones, as well as contactless payments at physical merchants.

The characteristics of virtual cards: digitized and secure

Virtual cards are more advantageous in terms of convenience and security over physical cards, especially for corporate cards for business uses. They can help businesses procure goods and services more securely, facilitate employee business travels, and seize global business opportunities.

1. Convenient and expeditious: set up the card and use it instantly anytime

Applying for corporate cards can be challenging even for large scale multinational corporations. The procedures and processes are complex and time consuming, and the production and mailing of physical cards typically take around 7-10 working days, with the risk of loss during transit. 

By opting for Virtual Cards, businesses can set up new cards for employees within minutes online and activate them instantly for online transactions. This allows companies to swiftly handle their operations and seize opportunities.

2. Highly secure: reducing the risk of loss and theft

Physical cards have the name of the cardholder, card numbers, expiration dates, and CVV printed on the card itself. If the card is lost or stolen, it can lead to potential financial or reputational loss. In contrast, virtual cards, being solely digital, eliminate the risk of loss. Even if the virtual card number is compromised, the card can be easily deactivated with a single click. Some virtual cards can even be set for one-time use, rendering them invalid after a transaction is completed. On the contrary, if physical cards are lost or the card information is stolen, the cardholder must contact the issuing institution to deactivate the card and wait for reissuance.

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How do I use the virtual Airwallex Borderless Card to manage all the business expenses?

The virtual Airwallex Borderless Card improves the overall business efficiency.  As a well-rounded virtual card, it enhances transparency in procurement and business expenses, simplifies financial reimbursement processes, and centralizes expense management. 

The virtual Airwallex Borderless Card

The Airwallex Borderless Card is a multi-currency credit card designed for global businesses supporting over 140 currencies. There is no card issuance fee, and it can be used online immediately upon activation. This virtual card is available in two types: corporate card and employee card.

Company card is used for corporate and team expenses, such as purchasing consumables, advertising expenses, software subscriptions, and vendor services.

Employee card is used for individual employee expenses, such as business travels, social events, employee benefits, and allowances.

Set up Apple Pay and Google Pay for mobile payments

You can easily add the Borderless Card to your mobile device and make mobile payments using Apple Pay and Google Pay at any Visa-accepted location. Employees can easily make payments at any physical merchants.

Zero international transaction fees

With the Airwallex Borderless Card, you can make payments worldwide without any international transaction fees. There are no hidden charges, and the funds are directly credited from your Airwallex multi-currency Global Account, eliminating unnecessary fees for foreign exchange. 

Empowering employees for direct payments

Employees may incur expenses for oversea business trips and other operation purposes, such as booking accommodations or hosting client dinners. In most cases, the traditional process usually involves pre-approvals and reimbursement requests, or the employees may use their personal credit cards for upfront payments. 

This not only adds complexity to the application and reimbursement processes, but also raises concerns about the potential leakage of the employees' personal credit card information. With a virtual corporate card, employees can make business decisions and payments for the company more quickly and precisely. They can truly focus their time and energy on the work and eliminate the need for using their personal credit card for expenses.

Setting limits for employee payments

Companies can easily address their concerns over wrongful transactions by setting limitations on the employee cards. You can prevent excessive spending by setting transaction limits daily, monthly, or per employee for each transaction. Businesses can also set expiration dates for virtual cards.  The cards will automatically render invalid after a certain period, or they can be configured for single use and the card will automatically cancel once the transaction is completed.

These options not only reduce the likelihood of unauthorized expenses but also provide flexibility in managing business operations. They offer significant benefits in terms of budget management and employee work efficiency.

Streamlining account reconciliation with our synchronized systems

It can be challenging for businesses to control budgets, monitor, track, and reconcile expenses without systematic categorization and tracking records of independent employee expenditures. This becomes especially difficult when multiple employees and projects share the same credit card.   With the delays in procurement and responsiveness to customer demands, it can ultimately impact workflow.

The Airwallex Borderless Card allows businesses to manage all corporate transactions in a single platform. Managers, finance teams, and cardholders can access detailed transaction records, modify spending limits, and cancel cards any time through our web portal. Airwallex's virtual card features automated synchronization which updates every hour with the accounting software Xero. This eliminates manual data entry, keeps accounting records up to date, and ensures control and transparency for each transaction.

The emergence of virtual credit cards undeniably facilitates corporate procurement and business expenses, simplifies management across multiple departments or projects, and helps businesses adapt to the ever changing market.

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Kirstie Lau
Senior Associate, Growth Marketing

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