Complete Guide to Using Virtual Cards in Singapore

By
Writers@Aspire
Published
June 25, 2022

Your finance team is always backtracking payments when multiple employees use the same credit card for business-related expenses. 

The back and forth between the finance department and employees leads to constant bottlenecks and delays in the spend management process. 

The solution? Use virtual cards.

Virtual cards are revolutionising the way businesses make payments. As per the B2B Digital Payment Tracker report by PYMNTS.com, 55% of CFOs say that they use virtual cards more frequently than they did before the pandemic. 37% of B2B travel buyers use virtual cards more than any other method of payment. 

It's about time you too jump on the virtual card bandwagon. Let’s understand how virtual cards work and how you can incorporate them into your business to enjoy quicker and safer B2B payments. 

What are virtual cards?

A virtual card is a payment card stored on your phone, tablet or computer. It’s an e-card or digital card —as many providers call it —that has a unique 16-digit card number, CVV and expiry date. It is similar to a debit or credit card but doesn’t exist in physical form.

Virtual cards are designed to protect you from the typical vulnerabilities of a physical card and some of them also come with added advantages. A virtual card can be used wherever physical credit is accepted i.e. for online and on-ground payments.

Virtual cards are generally of three types: 

  • Virtual Debit Card
  • Virtual Credit Card 
  • Virtual Prepaid Card

It is to be noted that the type of card depends on your card provider. Some providers offer only virtual debit cards, some offer only virtual prepaid cards in Singapore, while some offer only virtual credit cards.

How Do Virtual Cards Work in Singapore?

Virtual cards in Singapore have revolutionised the e-payment market in Singapore. Feature-laden virtual cards are quickly gaining popularity in the B2B space. 

These cards offer you the convenience of securely transacting across online and on-ground modes for all your business related expenses. Additionally, you can set defined budgets and controls, and even have a separate card for every vendor/department in order to efficiently manage varied business expenses.

Multiple providers provide virtual credit cards in Singapore. These include banks like HSBC, DBS etc. and other digital providers like Revolut, Wise, and Big pay.

Aspire also offers virtual visa cards in Singapore which offer multiple other benefits such as integration with our expense management software, accounting software and other benefits like cashbacks on your Marketing & SaaS subscriptions.

Regardless of which provider you decide to take it from, these virtual cards are safe and extremely convenient for business usage.

So, the next time your employee runs behind you for that physical company card, don't hold back and hand in a virtual card to speed up the work process while ensuring control and security.

Advantages of Virtual cards for your business

Control over employee expenses

Employee expenses are already hard to manage with lost receipts, data-entry errors and lack of visibility. Moreover, employees tend to shadow spend, where they make unauthorised purchases on company funds. Virtual cards solve this problem. 

If you have a budget of $500 for a trip, load the money into the virtual cards. Employees won't be able to spend more than that. Some virtual cards are also integrated with expense management software which provides real time visibility of your employee expenses. 

Efficient Subscription Management

Many businesses use a single credit card to pay for all their subscriptions. This leads to your card details being open to multiple employees which makes it difficult to identify who spent the money. Also, at times, free trials turn into monthly bills which are deducted from your credit card automatically. 

Put a stop to this with virtual cards. Allot virtual cards to each subscription and set spend limits per your budget. With virtual cards, you get a unified view of all your subscriptions and get notifications whenever a payment is due. So, you always control your subscription bills and stop companies from automatically deducting money from your credit cards. 

Easy Expense Approvals 

Expenses generally come for approval to your finance department after the payment is made by the employee. Thus, if the expenditure goes overboard, employees have to explain each purchase for it to get approved, leading to frustration.

To solve this, give your employees a virtual credit card with a pre-approved budget so there’s no scope of the expense getting rejected later.

Aspire goes a step further by allowing you to allot different approvers for different expenses. It decentralises the approval process and distributes the purchasing power across teams, reducing the approval time while putting you in complete control.  

Secure Online Payments

Unauthorised card transactions in Singapore jumped 450% between 2020 and 2021. Your business works with different vendors and suppliers, and giving all of your credit card information is risky. A virtual credit card in Singapore is a safe bet in these circumstances. There are various controls that you can set on virtual cards. These include freezing your card after the transaction or setting a limit to a transaction. 

Cardholder Ownership

With virtual cards, you can provide employees the ownership of expenses. This is especially useful when you are running multiple projects that involve varied costs. You define project owners and allocate them the cards.

When they incur the costs, the software notifies them to submit receipts or other documents for verification as may be required, they can then upload it from their mobile for approvals. They can check the card/account balance anytime and deep dive into the transaction history if required.

By doing so, employees feel more empowered and also responsible for the expenses at the same time.

Speedy Availability 

A credit or debit card takes upto 2-3 weeks to arrive while a virtual card is faster to generate and can also be generated instantly depending on your provider. You apply for the card via the issuer’s app and depending on the provider, you may receive it via email, or in-app itself, ready for use..

Global Coverage 

Virtual credit cards in Singapore offer payments in different currencies. If your business has vendors and merchants overseas can use this feature. Before getting a card, make sure the issuer has your desired currencies.

Integration with accounting software

Some providers offer accounting software integration with a free virtual credit or debit card i.e your card transactions sync with your accounting software to automate the bookkeeping process. It categorises your expenses and automates general ledger mapping, saving you hours of tedious financial tasks. 

Things to consider while getting a virtual card for your business

Efficient Integrations to Ease Accounting 

Virtual card providers may offer accounting software and third-party integrations. Make sure the provider has your preferred integrations for easy accounting and mapping. For instance, Aspire offers integration with Xero and Quickbook among others, so you automate mundane paperwork and speed up your bookkeeping process. 

Active Customer Support

Virtual cards are still new in the market, and you might face difficulty using them. So, active customer support is a must-have feature for virtual cards. Search online about their customer support reviews to get a heads up. 

Easy to Issue 

Virtual cards are easier and quicker to issue than physical cards. However, you should check availability as some providers limit it to a certain number. Go for providers who let you entirely create an account online and issue unlimited cards without any fees. 

Real-time Spend Tracking

The purpose of getting a virtual card is to control your expenditure. Ensure your card lets you set spending limits and notify you when they reach a threshold. Moreover, some card service lets you generate different cards for different vendors, so you control where your money is going.

E-Security

Virtual cards can't be stolen, but they are not 100% secure. Make sure the provider is trustworthy and follows required safety protocols.

How and where to get a virtual card in Singapore?

Singapore’s e-payment market is flourishing. Getting a virtual debit/credit card or virtual prepaid card in Singapore is easier than ever. You can get it from banks, neobanks and other payment service providers. Apply for them via your issuer’s app and receive the card right away. 

Below are top providers to get virtual cards in Singapore: 

DBS Virtual Credit Cards

DBS only offers virtual cards to its corporate clients, which they issue in the company's name. The chief benefit of this card is added security and management of employee travel expenses into one consolidated account. 

Aspire

Aspire offers virtual visa cards to its members for secure payments and real-time spend tracking. The card is integrated with our expense management software and offers real-time spend visibility and report analysis. 

Use it for multiple currencies with four times lower exchange rates than banks. The virtual visa card is equipped with accounting software integrations like Quickbooks and Xero to ease your bookkeeping process.

Anyone with a registered business can get a virtual card with credit line. The best part is that Aspire offers unlimited virtual visa cards. 

HSBC

HSBC offers the virtual card facility to existing customers who've signed up for the HSBC app. The virtual card also lets you set spend limits and facilitate faster payments to the suppliers. It also provides real-time reports and insights to manage expenses.

Wise 

Wise offers free virtual debit cards to all its users. It is to be noted that you must order a physical card first to get a free virtual card. Although, you don't have to wait for the physical card to arrive. Wise provides a virtual card that you can use for shopping as soon as you place an order for a physical card. One user can hold upto three virtual cards.

Revolut

Revolut offers virtual cards which you can create within the software. As soon as you generate a card, it will appear in the app, and you can spend money from it. You need only the card number and not CVV to make transactions. Revolut offers upto 20 virtual cards. 

Switch to a Secure Mode of Payment with Aspire 

Ease your online transactions with Aspire Corporate cards. Combine it with our expense management software, and you have a fully automated system for business expense management. 

It reduces paperwork and puts you in control of expenditure. Distribute unlimited virtual cards among your team members without worrying about fund misuse. Say goodbye to high exchange fees on global payments. That's not it — you get exciting cashbacks on SaaS and marketing spend. Open an Aspire account now.

Download this article as an e-book: Complete Guide to Using Virtual Cards in Singapore

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