Virtual Corporate Cards: Why Your Business Needs Them
Virtual cards empower your team to spend their budget, while keeping you in control. You can use virtual cards to manage subscriptions, perks, and one-off expenses.
If you’ve ever been overcharged by a vendor, burned by an extra zero on your Google Ad bid, or if you get a steady stream of Slacks asking for your corporate card—you need virtual cards.
Traditional card programs offered by banks limit the use of virtual credit cards to their “premium” clients, if they offer them at all.
What are virtual corporate cards?
Virtual cards are just like the physical cards in your wallet. Each virtual card has a unique 16 digit number, CVV, and expiration date. You can use them anywhere Visa or Mastercard are accepted. You can create as many as you want—instantly.
Virtual cards are great for online purchases today. Thanks to the rise of “touchless” payments, like Apple Pay, virtual cards are easy to use in the real world too.
Why should I use virtual cards at my business?
Virtual corporate cards make it easy to spend money to run your business—and control it at the same time. Your employees can create cards instantly to make online purchases or through a mobile wallet.
Virtual cards are a great way to pay for subscriptions, manage employee perks, and protect against fraud.
Virtual cards give you control over recurring payments
Virtual corporate cards give you the ability to create a card for every vendor and subscription. This can protect you from accidental over-charges and eliminate busywork.
Prevent accidental overspend on Google Ads
Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook all want you to spend more money on ads. If you use their platforms, you know how easy it is to blow your budget with the wrong bid settings.
At Lola.com, we maintain an advertising budget and create virtual cards for every vendor with a recurring monthly limit. Any charge that would take us over-budget is declined before it happens. These ad platforms respond by suspending your ads until the amount due is paid.
This simple combination of budgets and virtual cards protects you from dramatic mistakes.
Avoid unwanted charges if you forget to cancel a subscription
Monthly software subscriptions and auto-renewals are easy to forget about. You can create virtual cards that expire, and guarantee you don’t get overcharged 13 months later.
Maintain service when there’s employee turnover
Some software subscriptions are essential—like your CRM or AWS accounts. With traditional corporate card programs, when the original cardholder leaves the company, you can expect alarming emails saying billing has failed and your account will be suspended.
With virtual cards, you can simply change ownership of cards without having to update billing info for every application. It’s one less piece of admin to worry about.
Virtual cards make it easy to manage perks
Almost every non-healthcare employee perk requires your employees to spend their own money, file an expense report, and wait for a reimbursement.
This high-friction process results in unused benefits and disputes if your policies are unclear. With virtual cards, you can make perks easy to use and easy to administer by creating a specific card for each one.
Allocate “lunch money” for remote culture events
With remote teams, it’s hard to celebrate milestones. At Lola.com, we recreate team lunches for special occasions using virtual cards. Our team can create a one-time event budget and allocate virtual cards with $25 limits to every employee. Within the hour, everyone has a card they can use on GrubHub, or even their Apple mobile wallet to buy lunch on us.
Make it easy for employees to use perks like education stipends
You can create virtual cards and restrict their use to specific expense categories. Our system maps every vendor to a category and validates if the category has been pre-approved before the transaction clears.
This means you can give every employee a virtual card with their education stipend—and ensure it’s used for the right reasons without expense reports.
Virtual cards protect against fraud
Virtual cards are a great way to allocate budget to temporary or contracted employees, and protect against intentional overcharges.
Easily enable and disable cards for your team of contractors
Contractors are essential to your operations and often need to spend as your employees do. Yet it’s hard to justify giving them a corporate card when their work can terminate at any point, leaving you open to fraudulent spending.
Agile companies need to mobilize contractors to meet unexpected demand at the drop of a hat. Virtual cards enable you to immediately issue virtual cards to your team of contractors, and disable them just as fast.
Protect yourself against sneaky charges by bad vendors
Virtual cards help to protect against vendor overcharges and vendor fraud. With virtual cards, you can assign a unique card number for each approved vendor and set transaction limits to ensure payments never go above the expected amount. So, if a vendor tries to sneak additional services into your monthly bill and it goes above the usual $1,000, the payment will automatically be declined.
The Lola virtual card keeps you on budget
Most virtual cards give you basic control over spend with card-specific limits. At Lola.com, we take it a step further.
Today, your employees spend their budgets by using the company corporate card, getting an invoice, or by spending their own money and filing for reimbursements.
No matter how they pay, it can take weeks or months to turn that expense data into something useful. You have to fix incorrect expense reports, chase after receipts, and decrypt those mysterious vendor names on your monthly statements.
If your company shares corporate cards (62% do), you have to figure out who spent what since every transaction is in one cardholder’s name. It ends up being more work than the traditional expense report and reimbursement process.
Meanwhile, your budget owners have no idea if they are over or under budget until weeks or months after the budget period ends.
What’s the point of a budget if you can’t actually enforce it?
With Lola.com, every virtual card is connected to a finance-allocated budget. Whenever a card is used, our software checks for two things:
- Is there enough budget?
- Is this an approved merchant?
Every transaction is verified before it clears—so you are guaranteed to stay on budget and in accordance with your company card policy. We update budget-to-actual reports instantly too, giving your department leaders the power to manage their budgets in real-time.
Lola virtual cards automate expense reporting
Lola.com maps virtual card expenses to expense categories and budgets in real-time. Our software validates transactions against budgets and policies before they clear.
This does two things:
- eliminates busywork by automating expense reports
- gives you real-time visibility into spend against budgets
By using virtual cards for all employee spend, you get the added benefit of eliminating reimbursements.
Throw in our one-click QuickBooks integration that syncs expenses to your general ledger—and you’re eliminating days of admin every month-end.
Virtual cards empower your teams to own their budgets.
With virtual cards and Lola.com’s real-time budgets, your budget owners finally have the tools they need to own their budgets.
Your finance team can update forecasts and maintain top-line program budgets. Your budget owners can allocate those budgets whenever they need. Sub-budgets enable CMOs to move their Advertising budget into Content. Virtual cards enable individuals to allocate budgets further by vendor.
When you empower your teams to own their budgets, without sacrificing financial controls, you’re running an agile operation.