Ghost cards are a modern tool that can benefit mid- to large-sized businesses in multiple ways. This page is a comprehensive hub that includes everything that businesses need to know about ghost cards and topics that are related to them.

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This page is divided into a number of subject categories, including the following:

Payment, purchasing, and card processing statistics

Payment, purchasing, and card processing statistics

Online payments have greatly increased and continue to do so. Digital payments are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.6 percent through 2022.

Online payments have grown four times as fast as retail purchases. An increasing number of businesses are turning to ghost and virtual cards to provide them with a secure payment method when they are making purchases remotely.

Ghost Card

A ghost card is not a plastic or physical card and is instead a set of credit card numbers and a CVV code. Here is an overview of what a ghost card is so that you can gain some insight into how these cards work.

Define ghost card

The ghost card definition refers to a randomly generated card number that can be assigned to individual departments within a company or to individual suppliers. Ghost cards that are assigned to departments allow any workers who are employed within them to charge items for the company to the department’s ghost card.

Suppliers who receive ghost cards can charge high-volume purchases to the cards instead of having to invoice every individual purchase. Whether the numbers are assigned to departments or to suppliers, they can help the company to track their expenditures more effectively.

Who uses ghost cards and why do they use them?

Mid- to large companies might use a ghost card solution for several reasons. The cards can allow them to track expenses vertically or horizontally. They can track the spending of each department in their organizations as well as the expenses involved with high-volume, low-value purchases from individual suppliers.

A ghost card program can also allow businesses to automate accounts payable processes. The transaction data can flow electronically into the different expense categories, and detailed expense reports can be generated in minutes. To learn more, read the following articles about what you need to know about a ghost card program.

What is a ghost card?

What is a ghost card?

What is a ghost card? A ghost card is a modern payments solution for larger businesses. It is a randomly generated set of 16 digits and a CVV code that represent an underlying physical account but that do not provide direct access to it.

How does a ghost card work?

A ghost card can be assigned to each individual department in your company. All of the employees in the department can use the numbers of their departments to make purchases on behalf of the company. The purchases are charged back to the department and then routed through the physical account to complete the transactions.

The ghost numbers can be fully integrated with a business’s bookkeeping and accounting software so that AP processes can be automated. Ghost cards differ from standard business credit cards in several ways. They are virtual cards that can be used to make remote purchases and offer controls that are much more robust. Ghost numbers cannot be used to make in-person purchases.

How long does a ghost card last?

As a business owner, you can decide how long that you want a ghost card to last. You can turn a card that you give to a supplier on at the time that you are placing a large order and back off again as soon as the purchase order is fulfilled. You can choose to turn it back on when you need to place a new order or generate and assign a new number at that time.

How do you use a ghost card?

Organizations can use a horizontal or vertical approach to how a ghost card is used. In a horizontal approach, a ghost number is assigned to a department, and many employees are allowed to use the number to charge items back to the department.

In a vertical approach to how a ghost card is used, a ghost number can be assigned to a high-volume supplier. The supplier knows to charge all of the items for the company to that account, which allows accounting departments to track the purchases by that particular supplier.

Ghost card payments

Ghost card payments

Ghost card payments are virtual payments that are made with ghost numbers for goods or services. The payments are made by charging services or goods to an assigned ghost number. The transaction is routed back to the originating department and then to the physical account for the completion of the transaction.

Who benefits from making payments with ghost cards?

Employees, businesses, and accounts payable departments all benefit from payments that are made with ghost cards. Employees can benefit from the convenience of this type of payment system.

Employers can benefit from greater transparency and the ability to track and monitor expenses company-wide. Accounting professionals can benefit because many processes can be automated, reducing errors caused by manual entry and enhanced insight into how the company is performing financially.

Where are ghost card payments accepted?

Since a ghost card may be branded as a Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express, a payment from a ghost card should be accepted by suppliers and vendors who accept these major types of cards. The payments must be made remotely, however. Employees can’t use ghost numbers to make in-person purchases. Learn more about ghost card payments by reading our in-depth article on ghost cards.

Ghost credit card

Ghost credit card

A ghost credit card is a randomly generated credit card number that represents an underlying physical credit account with a high credit limit. When employees use a ghost credit card to make authorized purchases, the transactions are routed through the ghost number to the credit line and are added to its balance. A ghost credit card API can be used to generate cards that can be used within a few minutes.

Companies might use a ghost credit card to have greater security when they make purchases online or over the phone. Since they can set the numbers to immediately disappear after the completion of a transaction, the ghost numbers will not work if they are stolen by an unscrupulous supplier or an online hacker.

How much control do I have when using a ghost card?

A ghost card offers extensive controls. Business owners can restrict the purchases by category and time. They can also limit the amounts that can be spent by a department or supplier by the day or week. Ghost numbers can be set to expire immediately or to be used over a time that is determined by the business.

What are the benefits of owning a ghost credit card?

Using a ghost card can help businesses to prevent fraud and to have better insight into the expenditures that are occurring within their companies. They can also let accounting professionals identify expense categories that are ballooning so that action can be taken to rein them in.

Ghost cards vs. virtual cards

Ghost cards vs. virtual cards

To understand a ghost card, it is a good idea to review how a ghost card compares to other types of virtual card payments. It is also good to contrast the cards with business debit, credit, and prepaid cards.

What are the benefits of ghost cards compared to other virtual payment alternatives?

Virtual cards are single-use numbers that can be generated by businesses and used once. these numbers may be limited to the exact transaction amount and the specific merchant from which the purchase is being made. A ghost card is a number that may be assigned to departments for horizontal uses by many employees or to suppliers for large volume purchases of lower-value items.

Procurement or purchasing cards can also be virtual and generated with a card API. These cards are assigned to individual employees to make purchases or payments over a set period of time. When comparing a ghost card vs. procurement card, purchasing cards may work well for smaller companies to track and monitor expenses at the individual employee level.

Comparison with business debit cards, business credit cards, and business prepaid cards

A ghost card vs. business debit card has several differences. Business debit cards may be distributed to individual employees to make authorized purchases and may be used in person or remotely. A ghost card is assigned to an individual department for use by a large number of employees and cannot be used to make in-person purchases.

Similarly, a ghost card vs. business credit card is a type of virtual card while a credit card may be plastic. A ghost card may offer more robust controls and better transparency in the spending at a company.

Business prepaid cards are cards that companies can purchase and choose how much to make available on the cards. The card balances serve as the spending limits, and the cards can be used to make in-person purchases as well as purchases online.

Ghost card API

Ghost card API

A ghost card API is an application programming interface. An API is a set of protocols that can tell different parts of an application how to communicate with each other to complete different tasks. A ghost card API can be integrated by a developer into a business’s proprietary applications and used to generate a ghost card as needed.

Businesses use APIs so that they can generate a ghost card whenever they need one. The API can also help businesses to automate processes and to create custom workflows so that expense management and controls are simpler.

Purchasing and procurement cards

Purchasing and procurement cards are the same types of cards. They are charge cards for companies that the businesses can give to their employees to make authorized purchases for goods or services that the businesses need.

Also called p-cards, these types of cards come with extensive controls that allow businesses to place restrictions on the allowed purchase categories, allowed vendors, times when they can be used, and amounts that can be spent. Businesses use p-cards to monitor spending by individual employees and to prevent unauthorized purchases.

P-cards can be plastic or virtual. When they are virtual cards, they can be generated with an application on your smartphone or tablet and be ready for use in a few minutes. When they are plastic, they can be distributed to employees to make in-person purchases that you have authorized.

A ghost card can help prevent fraud

A ghost card can help prevent fraud

A ghost card can help to prevent fraud within your organization. Using fraud prevention measures is crucial for the success of businesses. Without preventive measures, businesses can fall victim to fraud that leads to substantial losses.

Business fraud happens more than you might think

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is an organization of certified fraud examiners who investigate business fraud cases around the world. According to the ACFE, the projected total fraud losses based on the world’s GDP could be as high as $79.6 trillion. The organization reports that it is difficult to calculate the actual losses caused by fraud, but it based its projections on the reported average losses of 5 percent by each company that it studied.

How a ghost card can help to prevent fraud

A ghost card can help to prevent fraud because of the expense management controls that the cards have in place. Businesses can restrict the types of purchases that can be made on the cards to set categories. They can also restrict their uses by merchant category codes so that they can only be used to buy authorized items from preferred vendors. The numbers disappear once they have been used, and the transaction information automatically flows into the accounting software so that it cannot be altered.

Spending limits can be set on the cards, and they offer more security than traditional business credit cards do when shopping online. If someone manages to steal the ghost number, it won’t work. By contrast, if someone steals a credit card number, the thief can run up the balance before the fraud is detected.

Where can I get a ghost card?

Where can I get a ghost card?

You might be wondering, “Where can I get a ghost card?” You can get a ghost card from different financial institutions and card suppliers that offer them to their business clients. To buy a ghost card, you can research different ghost card services online.

When you are evaluating ghost card services, you should check the expense management features that each offers. You should also compare the costs and whether you will be given an API to integrate with your applications or if you will request the card issuer to generate the numbers for you. You should be able to remotely view your cards at any time and to turn the numbers off whenever you want.

Ghost card pros and cons

Ghost card pros and cons include several things. The cards allow employers to have more control over the spending that happens at their companies and to gain a better understanding of their expenses on a macro level. Employees can benefit from being able to make purchases without going through a lengthy approval process or spending their own money.

When comparing the advantages and disadvantages of ghost cards, the advantages outweigh the negatives. One potential disadvantage, which might be viewed as an advantage in some cases, is that you cannot use a ghost card in person at stores since they are simply random numbers. Another disadvantage is that a refund cannot be paid to a ghost card because the number disappears.

Why should a businesses consider ghost cards?

Why might businesses consider ghost cards?

A ghost card program may be an attractive option to companies because of their flexibility and customizability. The extensive controls allow companies to prevent unauthorized purchases and to automate processes across the company.

The cards can be customized according to the needs of an organization and its expectations. They can be easily generated from an interface on your smartphone, computer, or tablet. You can also generate them through an API.

A ghost card represents cutting-edge financial technology. If they are used correctly, they can make big differences in your accounts payable processes. Bento for Business offers ghost cards that offer extensive expense management features. Businesses are able to try them out with a free 60-day trial. To learn more about a ghost card, call 866.220.8455.