Contributor: Matthew Dragiff
In Part I of my virtual card blog series I described the nature of a virtual card program. In part II, I will describe how corporations can use virtual card programs to help generate revenue.
More and more corporations are seeing the benefits of migrating paper checks to electronic and now specifically to virtual card programs.
Virtual card technology generates single-use unique card numbers with set credit limits based on the company’s payment instructions. This approach safeguards each virtual card against unauthorized use and simplifies reconciliation. A company can earn rebates from check disbursements that are migrated to card payments based on a defined percentage of their total monthly spend.
For example, a corporation with 5000 checks per month at a cost of $1.50 is spending $90,000 per year just to pay invoices by check. By migrating 25% of those 5000 checks with an average check value of $1100 to a virtual card program that has an average rebate of $13.75, a corporation can earn $206,256 year from the rebates – turning the finance department into a revenue generator. Additionally, by migrating 50% of those 5000 checks to ACH at $.50 per payment, a corporation could save approximately $30,000 per year.
One of the most significant barriers to migrating to a virtual card program however is vendor enrollment. Having a vendor enrollment strategy in place is key to the success of a virtual card program whether it is in-house or outsourced. Companies that I have worked with that have migrated to virtual card programs are often surprised at the adoption rate but often pleased as they begin to negate costs and earn revenue.
I often get asked why would vendors accept card payments? Vendors are actually willing to accept card payments (not a majority, but enough to generate significant rebate revenue). Some are already accepting card payments from other customers. Some highly value the relationship that they have with specific customers and will accept card payments to maintain that business. Others may have enough margin built into their prices that they can absorb the merchant fees. Additionally, payers can incent their vendors to accept card payments, perhaps by offering different payment terms or by concentrating more of their spend with a vendor if that vendor will agree to accept card payments.
Are you currently using virtual card programs or thinking of migrating your vendors? I’d like to hear from you.