In modern business, cash and checks have gone the way of the horse and buggy: they’re simply too inefficient. But even their replacements – traditional payment methods like debit and credit cards – are overdue for an upgrade.
Welcome virtual corporate cards.
These digital payment methods offer numerous perks, from faster payments and reconciliation to greater control and security. They’re quicker, safer, and easier to integrate and use for accounting and operational teams alike.
Plus, the industry is on the cusp of an explosion, which could send innovation through the stratosphere. Between 2021 and 2026 alone, virtual card spending is predicted to skyrocket from $1.9 trillion to $6.8 trillion.
Here’s what to know.
First, A Brief Refresher on Corporate Cards
Corporate credit cards are credit cards issued to a business entity – not a person – as the responsible party.
In most other respects, corporate cards are like regular credit cards. They require a credit check to apply, charge a regular interest rate, and even come with reward systems. Corporate cards are also unique in that the business can issue dozens of employee cards on the same account.
Pluto corporate cards come with specific controls to help your business manage spend. Real time tracking, setting limits on the go and quick reconciliations are just a few of the things that Pluto can provide.
But there is more. For companies who need to act quickly and require flexibility in their card issuing, there are virtual cards.
What is a Virtual Corporate Card?
Virtual corporate cards, like regular corporate cards, are linked to the business’ budget. Employees can use these cards to pay for business expenses without using their own personal cards or cash.
But unlike physical cards, virtual credit cards reside solely in the digital realm. These cards are essentially unique, digitally-generated 16-digit card numbers that tie to a specific spending account. (In this case, the business’ account.) Each virtual card contains other essential card details, too, like the following:
- Cardholder’s name
- Company’s billing address
- Card number
- Expiration date
Virtual cards are also unusual in that they can be generated and destroyed in moments. They can be designed to permit one-off charges, expire same-day, or hold only a specific dollar amount. Some virtual cards can even be linked to a particular vendor for one-time or recurring payments, perhaps with weekly or monthly spend limits.
Virtual cards can be accepted anywhere that online payments, and even some in-store payments, are accepted. Due to their ability to generate new numbers on demand, they offer additional security and control for business accounts. Plus, they can’t be lost or stolen like a regular credit card.
Virtual Credit Card vs. Virtual Corporate Card
A virtual corporate card is simply a digital credit card issued to a corporation. For the most part, you can use virtual cards the same way you could use regular cards. However, like corporate cards, these virtual equivalents allow the issuing firm and receiving businesses to set particular spend and monitoring controls.
Because virtual credit cards are 100% digital and able to generate new 16-digit numbers on demand, they’re optimized for safety and flexibility. They also make it easier to reconcile books and otherwise manage spending.
Why Use Pluto Virtual Corporate Cards?
Pluto virtual cards offer tons of perks and use cases. With more control and yet unparalleled flexibility, your business can remain nimble as you grow.
At the same time, department heads can keep an eye on expenses, spending, and accounting practices.
Flexible Setup and Spending
Modern companies need to be nimble, able to make purchases on the fly and reconcile their books in minutes, not days. Virtual cards let your business do so –without breaking their budgets.
Virtual cards provide unprecedented levels of flexibility to businesses of all sizes. After signing up, cards can be generated and issued to individuals with just a few clicks.
They also permit companies to limit available vendors, set a specific spending limit, expiration dates, and even the specific department budget the card should link to.
One of the biggest perks of Pluto's cards is that you can create as many as you need in a matter of seconds.
The times when an employee had to wait several days for the approvals and the card details to arrive are over.
For example - at 9:00, we had a team discussion about additional performance marketing activities.hile we were on the call, the department head created 3 virtual corporate card numbers for us to use.
It took him roughly 2 minutes to create them. All that without missing a beat on the call itself.
Right after we finished the call, we could start setting up ads.
Once you’ve generated a card – either for your team or by employee request – you can quickly personalize them for added constraint.
These controls are admittedly extensive, allowing your business to:
- Lock cards to a particular merchant or vendor
- Ensure cards can only pay to specific accounts
- Generate cards with set one-time, monthly, or recurring expenditure limits
- Institute purchase approval practices for individual cards, persons, or teams
Companies can use these various limits to prevent overspending, surprise fees, and unnecessary surcharges. Plus, with specific cards linked to individual employees or vendors, compartmentalized spend management becomes even easier. For many businesses, this is a welcome alternative to issuing high-limit cards to every employee that requires one.
In the example above, you can see one of the popular uses of Pluto virtual cards - employee benefits.
When a new employee joins, how much time does it usually take your HR department to get wellness or children's educational benefits to that employee?
With Pluto, it’ll take you leess than 2 minutes.
Another perk of virtual cards is that they can be generated for and linked to a single individual or team.
That makes purchase tracking easier, which increases personal and departmental accountability.
By using built-in accountability and analysis tools, your business can better track how and when money is spent at every level.
Streamlined Accounts Payable
Virtual corporate cards simplify the role of the finance team. Pluto can integrate with your accounting software, making it easy to sync your chart of accounts, automate mapping your GL accounts, and bulk verify & export your expenses so you can close your books 10x faster.
From there, settlements can happen immediately rather than taking days or weeks. This eliminates the slow, potentially error-riddled manual accounting process with a faster, cheaper, and more efficient digital alternative.
Pluto's virtual cards can help greatly reduce your overall card risk profile. Their increased security is due to their unique design, including their:
- Digital nature, which precludes them from being physically stolen.
- Set spending limits to prevent overcharging.
- Ability to block vendors and retailers from storing personal or card information long-term, helping to prevent fraud
- Ability to include one-time or vendor-specific expenditures and other spending controls, limiting financial hemorrhaging
- Auto-lock features to freeze cards instantly
- Ability to delete and regenerate virtual cards in seconds rather than days
Pluto's virtual cards feed their data directly into a centralized interface, allowing all data to show up in real-time reports, simplifying the analytical process. The spend management systems also offer real-time notifications.
Together, these features offer companies greater real-time visibility over their expenditures. This level of transparency can inculcate a healthier spending culture within a company beyond merely increasing accountability.
Plus, real-time reporting means that accounting teams and department heads can immediately respond to budget requests, verify receipts, and manage card limits.
Pluto expense management dashboard allows you to see everything and makes spend control a breeze.
Virtual credit cards provide an easy approval system to allow finance teams to take advantage of automatic reconciliations whenever possible.
Accounting teams can set codes for recurring transactions and tag controls to identify transactions before posting them to the general ledger. Each card can be linked to a specific employee to link specific transactions to each employee.
With the right card and accounting integrations, it’s possible to automate the bulk of manual data entry and reconciliation out of the gate. Plus, you’ll increase the accuracy of your data and insights.
Efficient Vendor Payment and Management
You can also use virtual cards to simplify vendor management.
You can link specific cards to particular vendors, allowing you to track which teams use them regularly and how their prices change over time.
By setting limits and expiration dates to your specifications, you can prevent teams from “forgetting” about upcoming auto-renewals.
Pluto virtual corporate card offers a wide range of perks and benefits!
Instead of giving you Starbucks gift cards, we formed partnerships with some of the most critical services for the day-to-day operations of your business.
Reduce the Risk of Fraud
When multiple employees and vendors share a high-limit physical card, you run the risk of operational problems and fraud.
The more people who can access a single 16-digit number, the more likely unauthorized expenses can slip through the cracks.
Virtual credit cards don’t come with the same fraud and data loss risks that physical cards do.
- They’re impervious to hacks that come with swiping physical cards at in-person terminals.
- You can create cards for a particular purchase, vendor or project.
- You can easily link cards to specific employees and/or vendors, offering full control while minimizing risk.
Virtual Corporate Card Use Cases
Due to their innate flexibility and unprecedented control, virtual credit card programs offer multiple potential use cases. There are too many to go over here – but we’ll address a few of the most common or impactful.
Digital agencies need to be able to make payments on behalf of their clients. This can be done using virtual cards, which allows the agency to keep track of spending and ensures that funds are used for the intended purpose.
With Pluto, you can create virtual cards for every PPC campaign or bigger project and keep track of your agency's spending in one place.
Not only does this allow you to scale the clients' performance marketing efforts, but the spend control dashboard shows you exactly how much was spent. You can go as far as naming and tagging your virtual cards, so you can see how much was spent per PPC channel on individual clients.
Catering, lights, music, production, venues, drivers so many things that even organizers have to keep in the air! If you are an event organizer, chances are you understand how important it is to keep your spending in one place. That way when the time comes to file taxes or show ROI, everything is itemized and accounted for.
With a virtual card, all your charges will be automatically filed under the right categories. You can also set limits on how much can be spent per vendor, so you don't have to worry about overspending.
And if you have a team working on the event with you, you can give them each their own virtual Pluto card (or physical) with their own spending limits. That way, you can see at a glance who is spending what and where.
When you are a startup, your want to fully focus on your product and leave the rest to someone else. With a virtual card, you don't have to worry about setting up a corporate credit line or dealing with complex expense reports.
Just set up your team with Pluto virtual cards and let them manage their own expenses. You can see what they are spending in real-time and track progress against your budget.
Also, when you are at your early phase, there is no time for lengthy approvals. SaaS, ads, tools, plugins - virtual card can service them all.
You business is digital and so should be your payment tools. With a virtual card, you can make payments online without ever having to worry about the security of your information.
Worried about that Alibaba supplier? Create a virtual card with a limit just for that vendor and you're good to go. Put a spending limit on it, and you limited any potential risks as well.
- Need your team to buy TikTok ads? -> Done. TikTok Ads Virtual Card
- Need to pay an Upwork freelancer? -> Done. Upwork Specific Virtual Card
You see where we are going with this. Create as many virtual cards as you need for as many occasions as you need.
Consultants are on the road most of the time, and when they are not - they are seated in the client premises, helping to grow the business.
Employee travel is one of the most commonly-cited reasons for individuals requiring their own corporate cards. Travel expenses may include hotel rooms, a food allowance, or additional budgeting to purchase essential materials while they’re away from home, so to speak.
However, even in your own teams, it’s possible for employees to get carried away. An expensive dinner, unexpected expenses, and hotel room upgrades may all be well within your budget. But if you want to prevent excessive spending on your dime, virtual card controls hand you that power.
Any company that have a vehicle fleet knows that a lot of time can go into fuel cards management.
Pluto can provide both virtual and physical corporate cards which makes it a perfect solution for efficient fleet management.
You can issue fuel cards to the drivers as needed, and scale up and down depending on the current business situation.
In addition to that you see the fuel expenses real-time and can set limits and approvals where required.
- Virtual corporate credit cards pave the way for the future while addressing a multitude of modern business pain points.
- They hand companies greater control over their spending, simplify accounting across the board, and even help protect employees.
- Plus, with so many nuances and use cases, it’s incredibly easy to personalize virtual cards to meet your unique needs.
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The Pluto Visa Spend cards are issued by the Celtic Bank under the Stripe Issuing Spend Card Program. By applying for a product including a card account, using a card or otherwise you agree to the terms and conditions of Pluto and the Issuing Bank terms available at https://stripe.com/legal/celtic-spend-card.
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The product and services mentioned on this webpage belong to Pluto Technologies Ltd (Pluto), a company incorporated under the laws of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai holding commercial license number CL5294. Pluto is a financial technology provider and not a bank. Pluto provides certain facilities for the utilization of payment services through Nymcard Payment Services LLC under the applicable payment network and Bank Identification Number Sponsorship of Mashreq Bank PSC. This is pursuant to the license by Visa® Inc and is available for the residents of UAE subject to Terms and Conditions of use