What are ghost cards and how they work?
As companies grow in size, tracking and managing employee expenses can become more difficult. Expense report automation is one way that companies can save money and keep better track of their expenses. According to J.P. Morgan, the average cost to process electronic expense reports is $18 while the average cost to process paper-based expense reports is $43.
One way that larger companies can save money and track their expenses automatically is by adopting ghost cards. These are virtual card numbers that can be assigned by the department. The employees in each department can then use the numbers to make ghost card payments for the company, and the ghost card payments are charged back to the departments. This allows companies to automatically track the spending that occurs by each department.
Why businesses use ghost cards?
Businesses use ghost debit cards or ghost credit cards so that they can track the spending that is happening at their companies across different departments automatically. The cards allow ghost card payments data to be uploaded automatically into the accounting software, helping to prevent manual data entry mistakes and to quickly flag misuse.
Ghost credit or debit card numbers may also be assigned to specific high-volume suppliers. The suppliers can charge items to the numbers instead of having to submit invoices for processing for every small purchase. This can help to reduce the transaction costs that would otherwise be involved.
What are virtual cards and how they work?
Virtual debit and credit cards are randomly generated card numbers that represent a company’s credit card or debit card account. They may be generated for single purchases and will not work after the purchases are made.
Virtual card numbers are useless to thieves or employees who steal them and try to use them to make other purchases. They expire immediately upon a single use, and businesses can limit them to the amount of a single purchase from a specific vendor.
Who uses virtual cards and why?
Both individuals and companies use virtual debit or credit cards to securely make purchases online or over the phone. Businesses can benefit from virtual credit or debit cards because the cards can be instantly generated and used to make single purchases from specific merchants in exact amounts.
Once the numbers are used, they immediately expire. If a vendor tries to charge a different amount to the card, it won’t work. Hackers who are able to steal the numbers will not be able to use them because the numbers will not allow them to gain access to the companies’ information or to their bank or credit accounts.
Ghost Cards vs Virtual Cards
There are a few differences between ghost cards vs virtual cards. Ghost credit card numbers and ghost debit card numbers are used by larger companies that have multiple departments and those that do a substantial amount of business with specific suppliers. The individual ghost credit card numbers or ghost debit card numbers are assigned to individual departments or suppliers so that the employees or suppliers can charge purchases to the cards that can be tracked by the departments or suppliers.
Virtual credit cards are generated for single purchases from specific vendors. The numbers can be generated and used almost immediately. Once they are used, they will no longer work. Both types of cards are used to make payments remotely over the internet or phone.
Ghost Cards vs. Corporate Cards
Ghost credit card numbers differ from corporate cards in a couple of ways. Corporate cards are company credit cards that may be given to employees to make purchases. Corporate cards may not allow companies to control and limit the spending, and the employees may be able to charge purchases from any merchants rather than be restricted to the company’s preferred vendors.
Ghost credit card numbers and ghost debit card numbers let employers restrict the spending that can happen with the cards. Unlike corporate cards, ghost credit and debit cards are not made out of plastic and are simply randomly generated numbers that are linked to the company’s credit card account or debit account.
Ghost Card vs P Cards
When comparing a ghost card vs pcard, there are a couple of important differences. While both are randomly generated credit card numbers and CVV codes, a ghost card vs pcard is used for different purposes.
Ghost credit card numbers and ghost debit card numbers are used by larger companies that need to track expenses by the department or to give them to specific suppliers with which they complete a high volume of transactions. P-cards are given to specific employees to make purchases over time for a set duration.
Do you use ghost cards once or for recurring ghost card payments?
Ghost debit card numbers and ghost credit card numbers are assigned to individual departments or to specific suppliers. When they are assigned to departments, all of the employees of the departments are able to use the numbers to make needed ghost card payments for the company on a recurring basis.
When ghost debit or credit cards are assigned to individual suppliers, the suppliers can charge ghost card payments to the cards when the company needs to make small purchases without having to generate invoices and go through the traditional purchase approval processes.
Ghost Cards vs Virtual Cards vs Credit Cards
Using ghost cards vs virtual cards can be better choices than using credit cards to make payments. Ghost cards vs virtual cards may be used for different purposes, but both offer more security and fraud prevention than business credit cards.
Ghost and virtual cards can be generated with a virtual API or a ghost card API instantly. The numbers are linked to the underlying accounts but can’t be used to withdraw money or to make unauthorized purchases. Credit cards do not allow companies to implement the same types of strict controls and may be used anywhere. They are also likelier to be targeted for fraud.
How ghost and virtual cards can help to save time on receipts
A ghost card API can be integrated with your proprietary programs and your accounting software. This allows transaction information to be uploaded automatically. Employees can take photographs of the receipts when they make purchases, and the receipts will be uploaded together with the purchase information.
The ability to upload pictures of receipts can help you to get rid of paper receipts. Your accounts payable department will no longer have to try to track down receipts and employees who have forgotten to turn them in.
The ability to use ghost and virtual debit or credit cards to make payments helps both employers and employees. While employers can enjoy better expense tracking and reduced costs, employees also derive benefits.
Employees will be able to use the cards to make payments rather than having to use their own money and to wait for reimbursement. They also will not have to wait for requisition forms to be processed and can spend their time at work doing the tasks that are more important.
What features should you look for in a ghost card or virtual card?
Whether you are looking for a p-card, a ghost credit or debit card, or a virtual credit or debit card, there are several features that you should look for. You will want to find cards that give you the ability to implement tight controls on the spending that can be completed with the cards, including limiting where and when purchases can be made and how much can be spent.
You should also have the ability to generate the card numbers instantly and have them available for use within minutes. The cards should come with a powerful virtual card API or ghost card API that can be integrated with your existing software.
Where can I get a ghost card, p-card, or virtual card?
Banks and private card issuers may offer different types of virtual debit or credit cards to their customers. To find the best deals, it is important to research different companies that offer these cards and compare the features that they offer, the costs, and whether they charge annual fees and interest.
Reading credit card and debit card articles can help. You can also read reviews that have been written by other businesses so that you can get a clearer picture of how the cards might work in practice.
The spending controls from Bento for Business
Bento for Business offers a variety of virtual, ghost, and pcard solutions for businesses of all sizes. The cards offer businesses expansive controls and expense management tools. You can restrict when the cards can be used, where they can be used, and how much can be spent.
For example, if your company wants to make a single purchase of an office photocopier, you can generate a virtual debit card number in the exact purchase amount and give the number to your office manager. Your office manager can then make the purchase from the specific supplier that you have chosen. If the office manager or supplier try to charge other things, the attempts will be declined.
Why Bento for Business is a good choice for businesses
Bento for Business is recognized as a leader in the business payments industry by its customers and by national publications such as Forbes. The company offers affordable business and virtual debit card solutions to businesses of all sizes with packages that are scalable.
Your business can order 10 cards for $29 per month, and there are larger packages available at affordable prices. The cards are not credit cards and so will not require credit checks. Two cards are free per year. Bento offers businesses the ability to try the cards for free for 60 days so that they can decide whether the cards are a good solution for them. To learn more, call 866.220.8455.