What is a single-use virtual card?

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What is it?

A single-use virtual card (SUVC) is a virtual credit card that has become a common delivery method for Account Payable solutions like Melio.

Why use a single-use virtual card?

  • Fast - Can be processed immediately after the payment is processed.
  • Secure - Bank account details are not shared. Also, the card is specific for a single invoice and the exact amount.
  • Efficient - Processing is automatic 24/7 and independent of banking working hours.
  • Easier to reconcile - Cards are sent with full remittance data - amount, payor, and invoice details.
  • Convenient- Process single-use cards with your existing solution. (Standard card processing fees still apply.)

Learn more about the differences between single-use virtual cards and other delivery methods.

Melio’s single-use virtual card

Melio’s single-use virtual card is issued by J.P. Morgan. It has some specific characteristics:

  • A unique 16-digit digital card number.
  • A 3-digit CVV code.
  • Each card is issued for a specified amount to pay a single supplier invoice.
  • It can only be used once.
  • It expires 30 days after the payment is processed.
  • No physical card is involved, and no card numbers are stored.
  • It can be authorized and settled just like any other card through the existing machine you’re using to process credit card payments.
  • It has a known settlement timeframe. 

How does Melio’s single-use virtual card work?

Let’s use an example: John is a wedding planner who wants to pay Amanda, his florist. Amanda signed up to receive her payments via Melio’s single-use virtual card:

  1. John schedules a bill to pay.
  2. He pays with his preferred method, ACH in this case.
  3. When his payment is processed, a single-use virtual card is automatically issued by J.P. Morgan. Melio then sends the card number to Amanda along with the remittance information.
  4. Amanda gets a payment notification email with the single-use virtual card number. She enters the details into her card processing system just like a physical card or a card-not-present transaction.

IMPORTANT: To process the single-use virtual card the vendor must have a point-of-sale terminal.


This is what the email with Melio’s single-use virtual card looks like:


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