One of the companies which offers such a solution is AirPlus. Their virtual credit card product, A.I.D.A., generates single-use MasterCard numbers, which provide full coverage of the MasterCard network and is used predominantly by corporates and travel agencies.Henrik Hellner

One of the reasons for the development of a virtual paying method, in addition to booking corporate travel with MasterCard acceptance, was to facilitate the management of travel expenses within a corporation’s travel administration.

Minimize manual handling

– With a virtual payment method, you have a process that handles your travel expenses in a more effective way by minimizing the manual handling, says Henrik Hellner, Sales and Account Manager, Nordic region.

With central billing, time consuming travel expense reports are not necessary. This saves travellers and finance departments time and therefore money.  It also enhances control and transparency thanks to different parameters which can be set per virtual card number. For example, card usage can be tailored by setting a specific limit or expiry date per card number, making virtual card payments even more secure. It also ensures easier reconciliation processes.

– Expenses can be easily allocated to bookings, cost centers, or projects. We offer various additional data fields to add a lot of extra information to a unique virtual card number. This makes cumbersome manual reconciliation super easy, says Henrik Hellner.

Another reason for developing a virtual payment method was to make the management of credit cards easier for travel agencies. Over the years regulations regarding credit cards have become stricter when it comes to how they are handled, for example since the introduction of PCI DSS, a proprietary information seecurity standard for organizations with branded credit cards. These stringent rules have resulted in complicated, additional administration for the travel agencies where they in turn have had to use their own credit cards to guarantee customer travel bookings.Thomas Parvall

– This has resulted in both risky and time consuming booking processes. However, with the introduction of virtual payment, the travel agencies can now use the digital credit card service and thereby book their customers more securely and effectively, says Thomas Parvall, Account Manager, Sweden, Finland and Baltics.

Extensive billing information

The travel administration at a travel agency has also become a lot easier since each transaction now has extensive billing information, including name, destination, date, amount, etc. Through a Company Account - a centralised payment solution - reconciliation of the travel transactions becomes more effective since the accounting team do not have to trace each transaction to a specific customer.

With a virtual payment method, the security is also enhanced in many ways.

– For example, A.I.D.A. is certified with the highest security standards, and the mobile solution is password-protected and highly encrypted, concludes Thomas Parvall.