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Posted July 30, 2015

virtual cards corporate payments

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How are companies using virtual cards to become more agile, more efficient, and more effective? What does the future of corporate payments, travel, and globalization look like from our point of view? PYMNTS.com, a leader in sharing what’s new and what’s next in corporate payments, recently sat down with one of WEX’s very own to talk about where the industry is heading and how companies are thriving with virtual payment cards, commonly referred to as V-Cards in the industry.

In “To Go Where No V-Card Has Gone Before,” PYMNTS.com got a chance to speak with Jim Pratt, SVP and General Manager of Virtual Payments, about how companies are using V-Cards and benefitting from their use. Below are the highlights of the interview.

What Are Some of the Benefits of a Successful Virtual Payments Strategy?

There are many factors that go into a successful virtual payments strategy, and many benefits that arise for online travel agencies (OTAs), retail travel agents, wholesalers, tour operators, and tour management companies.

Highlighted in the interview were efficiency, security, a seamless experience for both suppliers and end-users, and controls that protect the OTAs from additional charges from hotels.

For companies like Expedia, which processes 50 million transactions across 20 websites annually, the benefits are endless:

  • Ability to settle in multiple currencies (30% of transactions are on international travel), preventing foreign exchange or cross-border fees.
  • Avoiding charges that are intended to be charged to the traveler’s bill, and not the OTA (e.g. in-room fees), by limiting window for use and allowing for pre-authorization.
  • Rapid elasticity on a single global platform allows for providers to handle highly variable volumes.
  • Unique account numbers for each transaction (no recycling) prevents tracking and reconciliation nightmares.

The Continued Diversification and Globalization of Payments

As leisure and business travel continue to increase in emerging markets, WEX already commands a major portion of the $69 billion online hotel travel market, and is positioned for exponential growth.

“[WEX] payments solutions are being used by many other travel companies, regardless of the geography or market segment they compete in. This includes retail travel agents, wholesalers, tour operators and tour management companies that are also leveraging our virtual credit card platform.”

When it comes to plans for better serving customers in markets that have the highest opportunity for travel growth (Asia Pacific, South America, and Europe), Pratt highlighted WEX’s commitment to localizing global travel:

“We have local teams across the globe in 10 locations, enabling us to have local knowledge of the travel industry in each market. We are leaders in this space and have the technology and expertise to bring security and a seamless experience to travel companies around the world.”

We welcome you to read the full interview with Jim Pratt, including his insights on the acquisition of Evolution1 in 2014 and support for other industries by clicking here.

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Corporate Payments Insights