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

  • Updated

There are three main differences between single-use virtual cards and other delivery methods:

 

1. Faster

Single-use virtual cards can be processed immediately, 24/7, as long as you have a point-of-sale terminal. 

ACH bank transfers take 3 days to be delivered and are not processed on weekends or holidays. Checks need to be delivered physically and therefore depend on the delivery time of the carrier, which means they can take days to arrive.

 

2. Easier to reconcile

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

 

With ACH payments, remittance data is sent separately from the payment. Additionally, remittance data is partial and must be completed manually.

 

3. More secure

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

  • You don’t need to share any banking information with your customers. You only fill out your details once when you sign up.

  • Each single-use virtual card is for a specific amount, with a 30-day expiration date, and processed only for that amount. This makes them more secure.

  • Single-use virtual cards are MasterCards issued by JPMorgan Chase and adhere to strict security regulations and measures.

 

Here are more differences to consider:

 

Single-use virtual card

Check

ACH transfer

Instant payment via debit card

Speed

Instantly available*

immediately available 24/7.

5-7 business days

+ time spent reconciling.

Up to 3 business days

depending on the funding source.

Up to 30 minutes*

depending on the enabled issuers.

Control

Full remittance data

&

single-use virtual card payments can be tracked at every step of the payment process.

 

Only sees customer name & amount

& cannot track payment during delivery.

Only sees 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.

Convenience

No change to existing process

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

Manual processing & reconciliation needed

Manual processing & reconciliation needed

Limit of $10,000 per transaction

Security

Highly secure

for vendor: no need to expose bank account details; and for payor: one time usage card containing the exact invoice amount.

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.

Cost

No additional cost

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

$1.50 

$1.50 fee per check, the first 2 every month are free.

 

Free but...

reconciliation costs.

1%

per debit transaction.

*Delivery time is a result of the type of payment method used to send transfers. 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 payor pays a bill from their bank account (ACH) 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.

 

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