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TORONTO — American Express Canada has launched American Express vPayment, a digital payment solution that replaces plastic cards with virtual account numbers that businesses can use to pay for and reconcile a range of corporate expenses.
The digital payment solution “offers the convenience of traditional card payments with the added benefit of transaction-level controls, improved reconciliation and lower fraud risk”, says the company.
American Express vPayment assigns a specific-use account number to each transaction, and users are able to set a payment amount, date range, and other transaction details. During expense reconciliation, a transaction is matched to its associated virtual account number.
According to a new Canadian Financial Executives Research Foundation (CFERF) survey sponsored by American Express Canada, nearly half (44%) of Canadian finance executives surveyed said having spend visibility on a timely basis is an ongoing challenge.
The survey also found that 69% of those surveyed said their current vendor payment processes work, but could use some improvements. A further 13% of Canadian finance executives surveyed found their current vendor payment process extremely outdated.
“At American Express, we’re committed to evolving and refining our product offerings to meet our customers’ changing needs while solving key pain points and challenges that might be standing in the way of growth,” said Paul Roman, Vice President and General Manager of Commercial Payments at American Express Canada. “In an increasingly digital world, it’s more important than ever for businesses to adopt new technologies that improve day-to-day processes so they can focus on maintaining a competitive edge.”
He adds that American Express vPayment was designed to help a wide range of companies, noting it’s ideal for businesses who are looking for a more efficient way to reconcile payments and eliminate accounting discrepancies. It’s also well suited for procurement and accounts payable departments within organizations looking to streamline payment processes, and can simplify travel bookings for organizations by providing an easy way to pay for hotels and other travel expenses, especially for contract employees or infrequent travellers.
The company also expects to see pickup among corporate meeting and event planners.
According to the survey, 72% of respondents said new payments processes would help with increasing employee efficiency, while 44% said they also had the potential to reduce reconciliation errors.
Roman says American Express vPayment helps businesses improve control and cash flow management while reducing errors and the risk of fraud by giving organizations the ability to set the exact value a supplier is able to charge, as well as a specific date or date range within which they want the transaction to occur.
He adds that suppliers spend less time waiting and get paid faster with streamlined receipt of payments. Because virtual account numbers can be processed using the same point-of-sale equipment as traditional credit cards, there is no additional technology required for suppliers already accepting American Express.
“The benefits of adopting digital payments go way beyond improvements to invoicing and reconciliation,” said Roman. “American Express vPayment can help businesses cut costs by saving time associated with manual payments, and improve cash flow management by maximizing payment arrangements.”
Here’s how American Express vPayment works:
1. A specific-use virtual account number is generated with pre-authorized controls for each transaction and sent to the supplier.
2. The virtual account number and charges are verified against the pre-authorized controls set by the company.
3. The payment is verified. If the amount or date is incorrect, the transaction will be declined.
4. The program administrator receives one data file with detailed transaction-level information.
For more information on American Express vPayment, including a video on how the system works, see business.americanexpress.com/ca/payment-solutions/vpayment.