Data security is a serious and ongoing issue. Major cybersecurity breaches like the one that hit Equifax in 2017 can affect over 100 million people. But even small-scale data breaches can expose names, addresses, email addresses, and credit card information, which can be devastating for a small or medium-sized business. Once personal data is stolen, employees become vulnerable to phishing emails that can swiftly compromise an entire company.
How can you move quickly to protect your company’s financial integrity? A virtual credit card solution is a good defense against emerging dangers and additionally offers users control, convenience, and security. A virtual payment system produces single-use credit cards with a 15-digit card number that work the same way plastic credit cards do.
For instance, when booking a hotel for a business trip, the travel manager can authorize a single-use virtual card payment for a specific set of dates and a pre-determined amount, usually the room rate plus taxes and incidentals. Travel management companies connect the card to the traveler's itinerary and transmit the virtual payment directly to the hotel. After the hotel charges that card number once, it can’t be charged again.
4 ways virtual credit cards help secure your payments:
1. Set the category type
When a virtual credit card is generated, it can be only authorized for a single merchant category, such as hotel, train or airline. It can’t be used to pay for services or products in any other merchant category.
2. Use within a certain date range
Virtual payments are only valid within specific days. For example, if it's being used by an employee for a hotel stay, those dates would be between check-in and check-out. If you’re allowing a one-time purchase, you can arrange it to only be valid for a single day. Use of a virtual credit card on any date outside the defined parameters is simply not possible.
3. Determine the value
You can set a maximum value on a virtual credit card. If a hotel rate is $200 per night for two nights plus expenses, the virtual credit card may be capped at $500.
4. Add authorization
You may choose to add a layer of authorization by a manager or senior employee for spending above a certain dollar amount. To move the approval process along swiftly, that authorization can be viewed, approved and completed on both mobile and desktop interfaces.
"With a virtual payment, you get a unique credit card number with each reservation, making the transaction virtually bulletproof."
If you're concerned about the possibility of getting caught in a data breach, you’ll appreciate the protections that virtual payments provide. Travel Leaders Group has partnered with Conferma to provide virtual payment systems to our clients that are accepted by travel merchants in 197 countries and are held within a reservation from initial booking to final transaction.
For travel managers, using virtual payments can simplify reconciliation tasks, encourage travelers to use the online tool over manual bookings, and reduce internal fraud. Find out more about financial responsibility and risk management, read Visibility Requirements for Properly Managing Corporate Travel.
Ready to speak with a corporate travel expert about how you can better manage your business travel expenses? Get in touch with us to schedule a free consultation that can help lower costs and improve employee productivity.