The MacNair Travel Leadership Blog

How Travel Managers Eliminate Fraud With Virtual Payment Cards

Posted by Mike MacNair on Mar 31, 2016 12:00:00 PM

How Travel Managers Eliminate Fraud With Virtual Payment CardsVirtual payment cards (VPC’s) are revolutionizing corporate travel. It’s no longer necessary to risk the company credit card falling into the wrong hands, nor do employees have to put business travel expenses on their own cards and wait weeks for reimbursement.

Instead, Travel Managers can issue travelers virtual credit cards for individual payments. These one-time use numbers and convenient pre-pay options offer increased security when making online payments for travel expenses like hotels, airlines and car rentals. Imagine your top road warriors, it’s not unlikely that their names and the preferred credit card along with the credit card number, CSV code and billing address has been shared hundreds or thousands of times via the Internet.

Credit card fraud is on the rise. In fact, in 2015, more than one billion credit card accounts were compromised. Maybe yours was among them. And even though you’re not liable for the charges, rectifying the fraud can cause considerable lost productivity.

That’s where virtual payment cards can help. Also known as vCards or eCards; these cards mask the true identity of the card so it can’t be traced to a specific person. That means, less risk.


Virtual payment systems is one of the biggest trends in business travel this year which we discuss in our White Paper, 2016 Trends in Corporate Travel Management for the SME Marketplace.

Travel Managers Solve Their Payment Challenges With Virtual Payment Cards

Because vCards offer virtual account numbers for one-time use, they’re an easy way to book hotels, airfare and car rentals online. They’re discarded after use, which means you reduce liabilities, by issuing large numbers of credit cards or having employees write down the information in order to book.

In fact, just like you write a check for a specific amount, eCards can be pre-paid with a specific amount needed to pay the bill. That makes it easier to control T&E expenses before your employee even leaves for the trip.

Let’s look at one of the most popular applications of virtual credit cards and that’s with hotel bookings. The traditional way of booking a hotel has been cumbersome and rife with the opportunity for credit card fraud. In many cases, travel managers fax the credit card information to the hotel in question and wait for a response. In the meantime, this sensitive information sits on the fax machine waiting to be picked up.

eCards eliminate this step by providing a disposable, one time use only number with the exact dollar amount needed right on the card. You can even assign an expiration date. The effect is similar to a check but with the convenience of online pay.

It’s simple, efficient and allows for a streamlined process of payment and check-in.

Additionally, it automates the reconciliation of statements making it far more efficient to track travel costs and reduce or eliminate noncompliant travel fees. You gain better data, which means you can ultimately see where the largest gaps are in your T&E budget.

eCards are simple to use. There is no major change in your booking process. Your TMC can simply acquire and share the virtual account numbers as needed and set to your parameters.

In today’s climate, credit card fraud is prevalent and it’s not limited to online charges. One business traveler said he received an email from Citi citing suspicious activity. When he looked at the charges, they were in-store purchases in Maryland, while he was in Germany. He hadn’t lost his card; it was still in his wallet. However, people can now make physical credit cards and apply your account information to it. (Source

When your organization uses virtual payment cards, any type of credit card fraud is far less likely to occur.

TMC’s keep abreast of the latest changes and the most up-to-date solutions to eliminate fraud. Find out more about the 2016 Trends in Corporate Travel Management by downloading our white paper.

2016 Trends in Corporate Travel Management for the SME Marketplace




Topics: Travel Management