What is the difference between single-use virtual cards and other delivery methods?

  • Updated

These are the main advantages of single-use virtual cards over other payment delivery methods:


1. Faster

Single-use virtual cards can be processed immediately, 24/7—even on holidays or weekends*. (Exact timing of delivery of the virtual card depends on the payment method. Learn more about payment delivery timelines). 



Vendor must have a point-of-sale system in order to process the payment.


2. Easier to reconcile

Single-use cards are sent with full remittance data - amount, payor and invoice details. All the information appears in the same email as the payment. This makes reconciliation faster and easier for you. You can automate reconciliation, for greater efficiency.


3. More secure

Single-use cards are more secure than other payment methods, because:

  • You don’t need to share any banking information with your customers. You only fill out your details once- when you sign up. 
  • Each card is for a specific amount, with a 30-day expiration date and processed only for that amount. Single-use cards are MasterCards issued by JPMorgan Chase and adhere to strict security regulations and measures.


This table shows you all the key differences to consider:



Single-use virtual card


ACH bank transfer

Instant payment via debit card


Instantly available*


5-7 business days

Plus time spent reconciling.

Up to 3 business days

Depending on the funding source.

Up to 30 minutes*

Depending on the enabled issuers.


Full remittance data 

Can be tracked at every step of the payment process.


Only see customer name & amount 

Cannot track payment during delivery.

Only see customer name & amount 

Cannot track payment during delivery.

Limited remittance data

Settled in a one off transaction with sender name, address DOB and primary account number or reference number.


No change to existing process

Vendor receives the money through its existing merchant acquirer which offers extra services (reconciliation, sync with accounting platform, customer support, etc).

Manual processing & reconciliation needed

Manual processing & reconciliation needed

Limit of $10,000 per transaction


Highly secure for vendor

No need to expose bank account details. For payor: one time usage card containing the exact invoice amount.

PCI compliant

Lost checks & check fraud

Vendor bank details exposed

Vendor’s bank details are  exposed to the payor.

Card details or bank details exposed

Vendor’s card or bank details are exposed to the payor.


No additional cost

Vendor pays card processing fees (depending on the vendor’s agreement with the card processor).


Melio mails a check to your vendor’s address. $1.50 fee, the first 2 every month are free.


Free but...

Reconciliation costs.


Fee per debit card transaction.

*Delivery time is a result of the type of payment method used. This means that you should consider the processing time of the payment method and the processing time of the delivery method.

For example: Let's say the customer pays a bill from their bank account and the vendor signs up for a single-use virtual card. The payment will take 3 full days to process the ACH bank transfer and then will be delivered to the vendor as a single-use card immediately.


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