Last week, American Express announced a new partnership with Extend to enable virtual payments for American Express business card members. Using the Extend app or desktop platform, American Express business cardholders can enroll and create virtual cards, also called tokens. This will expand the number of virtual payment options available for small and mid-sized businesses in the U.S.
“We have seen more and more businesses ramp up their use of virtual Cards since the start of the pandemic as they looked to digitize their payments processes and increase their use of touchless payments,” said Dean Henry, Executive Vice President, Global Commercial Services, American Express, in a September 22, 2021 news release.
“With today’s announcement, our Business Cards can work even harder for our Card Members through this quick and easy virtual Card option. This gives our Card Members enhanced flexibility and control across their day-to-day business spending, including for B2B purchases and enabling their employees to pay for expenses,” Henry added.
Benefits for businesses
According to American Express’s Global Business Spend Indicator, 39% of U.S. businesses plan to expand their use of virtual cards over the next year. The partnership with Extend will provide the following benefits for American Express business cardholders:
- Fast onboarding takes as little as five minutes and with no added costs.
- Flexible, easy-to-use virtual cards allow companies to track different projects or expense types. Businesses can also create virtual cards for their employees, contractors and vendors using the Extend platform.
- With Extend’s control options, businesses can set spending limits, expiration dates, recurring payments, category restrictions and more.
- Token technology available through virtual payments adds an extra layer of security.
- Using the Extend platform, businesses can categorize expenses and tag virtual cards and transactions with general ledger codes to automate reconciliation, integration with expense and reporting software and reduce time spent completing expense reports and requests for reimbursement.
“Virtual Cards can help solve timely needs for many businesses, from finding a reliable and enhanced way to control expenses to automating payment processes or capturing enriched data,” said Andrew Jamison, CEO, Extend. “This market is rapidly growing as businesses realize just how versatile and effective virtual Cards can be—whether it’s managing subscription payments, equipping employees with secure company cards, or developing custom payment solutions with our APIs.”
Though not yet available, American Express and Extend will add more features and functionality in the future, including the ability to add American Express virtual payment cards to mobile wallets for in-store purchases.
Though American Express and Extend are not the first payment solutions providers to offer virtual card options, this partnership will undoubtedly be attractive to small and mid-sized businesses who have not yet embraced virtual payments or who are unhappy with their current virtual payment options. We expect to see more of this type of partnership, with businesses needing more flexibility and security for their customers while streamlining their own internal operations.