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What is virtual payment?

Virtual cards work in exactly the same way as a normal credit or debit card, the difference is, that they only exist digitally; there is no physical plastic card which carries the number.

A unique Virtual Card is created for every new transaction that a company makes. This Virtual Card is then linked back to a single, central account for banking purposes.

Every Virtual Card is designated for a single use. It is only valid for a certain merchant category, specific date range and either a set amount or set spend range. For example, a 16-digit Virtual Card number ending in 9712 with CVV 336 is valid for a spend of between £300 and £380 on a hotel between the 10th-14th of September. If these criteria are not met then the Virtual Card payment will not be authorised.

Virtual cards work like any other traditional payment card, but provide a more secure, efficient, and risk-free method of making payments because the credit card number doesn’t have to be stored. The merchant/hotel processes a virtual credit card as a card-not-present transaction.

How are virtual credit cards used in the travel industry?

Virtual credit cards can be used for any type of transaction but they are becoming increasingly popular in the travel category. They are frequently used by corporate travel managers,Travel Management Companies (TMCs), and both online and traditional travel agencies to book travel.

In the case of business travel, this may include employees who do not have corporate cards such as infrequent travelers, contract workers, new or short-term employees, and interns.

Why are more and more virtual credit cards being used for hotel payments?

Virtual credit cards can be generated and used at the time of the hotel reservation to enable smooth payments:

1. Shorter payment cycle

• A reduction in credit control processes and improved cash flow for our hotel partner.

2. Seamless process

• Virtual cards can be processed like any card-not present card.
• The hotel merchant does not need a copy of a card or any other documentation. The card number is all that is required.
• Payment instructions usually describe the details for each payment (for example, Room & Tax only and number of nights). Incidental charges should be charged directly to the guest.

3. More secure

• Controls applied to these accounts usually limit the amounts and validity as well as the number of authorizations allowed, reducing the level of disputed and fraudulent transactions.

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What if virtual credit cards are not supported or accepted as a form of payment?

Paying with a virtual credit card is no different from paying with traditional card. A unique 16 digit number, expiry date and CVC code are provided. The properties typically have the ability to manually enter the card number into their terminal/system (as they do with reservations made via telephone).

If your property uses a centralized account system arranging methods of communicating card details such as email, batch process, or direct connection are also available.

Can the card be used for guarantee/deposit?

Yes, within the validity of the card (dates and value) hotels can apply multiple charges to the same virtual card, for example, the deposit and balance. If pre-authorisation is performed at any time on the virtual card, the authorisation code must be used again on the subsequent payment processing. Once a virtual card has been authorised it should not be authorised again as this will result in a double authorisation and payment may be declined. Please note: Pre-authorisation must not take place on the same day as the full amount will be charged as this can cause a payment failure.

How does the payment process work?

Your property will receive the card number at the time of booking. The card will be valid from the time of reservation until 48 Hours after check out. A payment authorisation communication will be sent to the hotel outlining any additional authorised charges for the booking (e.g. Internet access, food and beverage). On guest check out the hotel may take payment from the card up to the authorised amount and submit the invoice as per the instructions on the payment authorisation communication. If any unauthorised charges have been applied, payment will be disputed with the card provider.

What details are contained on the payment authorisation sent via fax?

As soon as the reservation is confirmed, a secure email or fax is sent to the hotel. This fax contains the following details:

• Hotel name
• Arrival dates
• Room type
• Total cost
• Total nights
• Hotel confirmation number
• Clients Details: name, phone number, fax number, client contact
• Cancellation policy
• Billing address
• Payment restrictions
• Credit card number and expiry date
• Other instructions, terms and conditions