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Virtual Cards: The Hero for Travel Payments

Battling payments fraud one virtual card number at a time. 

Guest post contributed by Corporate Spending Innovations

The hospitality industry has been making headlines over the last decade, and not in ways that hotel managers particularly like. The prevalence of security breaches and credit card fraud have affected over 1,200 hotel chains since 2010 including major multinational names we’ve come to trust. While technology is evolving, so too are the abilities of tech-savvy hackers eager to access confidential payment and personal data.

Travel managers and booking systems are required to obtain a substantial amount of traveler information in order to create a more tailored booking experience. This information naturally includes the storage of credit card details even after the trip is complete. Adhering to security protocols and corporate travel policies may seem like the best way to prevent security issues, but hackers are 10 steps ahead of traditional “best practices” when it comes to accessing credit card details.

Many hotels have recruited cybersecurity firms to enhance data safety, and card holders are regularly encouraged to review their statements in detail for any suspicious charges. For travel managers, reconciling the corporate credit card has always been a common practice and historically revolves around monitoring multiple employees, their respective business expenses, and noncompliant spending. The threat of fraud in the travel payments space is just one more challenge for corporate travelers and travel managers to overcome.

Fraud-Proof Travel Payments

Virtual Cards CSITechnology may be enabling hackers but it has also been empowering travel payments innovation, with virtual credit cards emerging as the hero. When a virtual card number is created it’s done with a very specific and single-use goal in mind. The location where the card will be used and the amount that will be charged are both predetermined and preapproved. If for any reason an unintended person gains access to the number and attempts to use it for any other purpose or amount, the charge would be automatically declined and the card number would instantly become invalid. 

The ability of virtual cards to provide a secure payment alternative that is essentially fraud-proof and fail-safe against data breaches is a huge win for travel managers and hotels. The likelihood that another security breach will happen seems inevitable in today’s world, but that doesn’t mean we can’t protect ourselves and turn the tables on criminal activity. Companies using virtual credit cards for their travel payments are already resting a lot easier knowing they’re in full control of their data.

Travel Policies, Compliance, and Expensing

Virtual credit cards have also proved to be an ideal tool for enforcing company compliance policies on travel spending. Travel managers are able to set limits on approved purchases when the card number is created. They can also restrict and block charges in real-time through online platforms that are accessible on any mobile smart device.

Expense processing and reconciliations don’t have to become anxiety-ridden goose chases either. If there’s a $250 dinner bill that was charged to the room, managers no longer have to wonder if it’s legitimate. They also don’t have to question which employee picked up the bill and for what purpose. It would all have to be approved - or denied - in real-time. Expenses would be automatically tracked by employee, trip, or event with specific accounting data points that streamline reconciliations. No guesswork, no fraud concerns, no rogue employee spending.

Virtual cards give travel managers control, eliminate potential fraud risk, and innately reinforce travel policy compliance. That sounds like a real hero for travel payments to us.


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