How Do Virtual Account Numbers Simplify B2B Payments?

The B2B payment landscape has changed significantly in recent years as new technologies have disrupted and improved upon traditional methods. From mobile applications to cryptocurrencies there is no shortage of innovative solutions being developed to improve the efficiency and security of financial transactions.

Virtual account numbers, or VANs, are another industry development that promises benefits for businesses operating in a wide range of industries. They are already growing rapidly in popularity and the rate of adoption shows no sign of slowing. For businesses that want to stay abreast of the latest developments in the B2B payment space, understanding how virtual account numbers could help your clients and customers is essential.

What are VANs?

Virtual account numbers are essentially 16-digit single-use digital card numbers that are automatically generated at the time of a new booking or payment transaction. They enable customers to purchase a product or service without using their “real” account number. In addition, because they are single-use, as soon as the relevant transaction has been processed, the virtual account number is no longer valid.

There is a multitude of benefits to using VANs. From a security point of view, single-use numbers are less susceptible to fraud and enable businesses to set limits relating to timing and price, giving them greater control over corporate expenditure. They are also hugely efficient, providing integration with booking tools and coming with an automated audit trail, reducing the need for time-consuming manual processes.

The travel industry

The travel industry was one of the first to adopt virtual account numbers as a method of payment and it is easy to see why. Travel payments are often one-off events, as opposed to repeat purchases, and so a single-use VAN works perfectly.

What’s more, the added security provided by VANs helps to tackle fraud in the travel sector. Because the unique 16-digit number is only authorised for use with a single transaction, it eliminates fraudulent “card not present” transactions, which represent a significant issue for online commerce. With 40 percent of the travel industry citing fraud as their number one concern, it is hardly surprising that VANs have become increasingly popular in this sector.

Businesses will also be pleased to find out that virtual account numbers make the processing of travel events much more efficient. With a traditional credit or debit card, audits are often required to make sure that transactions fit within the company’s travel policy and bookings must be manually matched to transactions by corporate travel managers. With virtual account numbers, the reconciliation process is automated, reducing paperwork, errors and cost.

The world of B2B payments has undergone huge developments in recent years, but better awareness of virtual account numbers is needed if the solution is to continue its upward trend. Travel payment solutions from eNett use VANs to deliver a more secure, reliable and efficient way to conduct transactions. This has helped travel agencies and managers to remove friction from the payments process and, ultimately, provided businesses with a better way to pay.