How Ghost Cards Compliment Fleet Card Usage
In an industry that demands immediate cash flow and fast payment, fleet managers are looking to virtual cards (also known as ghost cards) to enhance fleet card usage and expedite payment with enhanced security and protection on the road. The trend in this context is leading corporate card companies and other payment leaders to integrate virtual card technology into their services sometime even partnering to offer a more seamless process. Virtual cards help eliminate checks entirely in the B2B payment process. Collaborations with a reputable card company can enable suppliers that wouldn’t normally be able to accept card payments from their corporate clients. In combination, virtual cards enhance the relationship between vendors and open up cash-flow while fleet cards will provide visibility and control over driver expenses.
Advantages of Virtual Cards
B2B Payments have been migrating to electronic for more than 20 years but a NACHA-released survey from 2017 shows that ACH payments are the most common form of digital payments to date, accounting for 32% of payment overall and expected to expand to 45% by 2020. However, digital cards are quickly becoming a preferred payment device for multiple reasons, but primarily for the ease of use on both supplier and customer side.
“Virtual cards are the true proxy for payment. Cards use existing infrastructure, and process through major credit card networks. Cards are easier to implement than ACH interaction, with no need to exchange bank account information. They are also an excellent way to facilitate payments from a wide range of payers. One-time use makes cards very secure and less susceptible to fraud. They are simple to track and easy to reconcile.” — Noventis COO Blair Jeffery
Payment leader EFS established virtual cards for use in vendor payment and continue to see the advantages, claiming that virtual payments are the most streamlined and secure method of making a vendor payment.
EFS virtual cards can make highly secure invoice payments to any vendor who accepts Mastercard using the safety of virtual credit cards and accounts with their unique computer generated numbers used to settle a specific vendor payment transaction for a specific dollar amount. Designed as a more secure alternative to ACH and check payments, virtual cards are essentially card-less credit card payments that allow you to simplify your vendor payments. Trucking companies benefit most from the four biggest advantages of virtual vendor payments:
- Make highly-secured invoice payments to any vendor who accepts Mastercard
- Tighten financial controls and improve back-office efficiencies
- Maximize cost savings and enhance visibility
- Streamline your payables process
Additionally, as P2P payments are on the rise and mobile apps are taking over, the industry is already seeing enhancements to virtual card processes in the form of mobile bank apps.
In 2018, U.S. Bank’s Voyager Network will be launching an app that will allow drivers to generate virtual single-use accounts to pay for fuel and maintenance if their fleet managers grant them access to do so. — Marie LeMoine, U.S. Bank, Senior Vice President.
LeMoine goes on to say, “These virtual card accounts will have the same pre-established purchasing limits as drivers would have on their U.S. Bank card.” Fleet managers will have the same access and control they do with their fleet cards but without the physical cards, which means tighter security.
Ghost cards can also be used in other ways helping to manage expenses with more than one employee. Ghost card numbers can be assigned to multiple employees for approved purchases when tracking is critical or when entire departments are using the card on the same category of spending. This approach can simplify the invoicing and accounts payable. With a single virtual card number assigned to a client, campaign or category, the number of invoices is reduced, and expense and reporting processes are simplified.
You can also set limits on a virtual card. Each card can have a transaction and cycle limits that can be set to control how many payments occur in a certain time period whether along with the maximum approved amount. This kind of control is invaluable especially in an industry like trucking where employees are mobile and expense reporting can be dubious.
In a world where budgets and schedules are always tight, every dollar counts toward giving a fleet the edge. Virtual cards and fleet cards can work in combination to provide fleets maximum control, visibility and profitability necessary to sustain and even grow the fleet. Powerful fleet card solutions in tandem with robust virtual card technology can respond to the changing dynamics of a growing business and strengthen the supply chain in ways that no other tool can.