Improve Cybersecurity with Virtual Card Numbers

By September 8, 2017Cybersecurity

It is no secret that technology has changed the world of business with paper-based payment transactions almost obsolete. With more companies and consumers relying on computer networks to send, receive, and process payments, sensitive personal and financial information is being increasingly stored online. While advancements in tech help to streamline processes and raise profits, among many other benefits, these advantages come at a cost: as the use of electronic data in business transactions has skyrocketed, so have the rates of cybercrime.

Cybersecurity has become a hot button issue in tech. The number of successful security breaches rises sharply every year, with the business industry sector consistently being the most vulnerable. According to the latest report from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), 2017 has already racked up a record-breaking 791 breaches by the mid-year point, revealing a 29 percent increase from this time last year. The exposure of credit and debit card data is a contributing factor to these numbers, with a rise of three percentage points from 2016.

These breaches in data security leave individual consumers in a dangerous position, exposing them to the risk of privacy violation and identity theft. In turn, companies without the proper cybersecurity measures in place can be held liable for the data breaches they fail to prevent, opening them up to costly lawsuits and a tarnished, often irreparable reputation. The smartest businesses take these risks seriously and invest in cybersecurity––by securing their networks, using protective firewalls, and encrypting sensitive information. What smart consumers can do is specifically choose to work with companies that provide them with an extra level of data protection. One cybersecurity measure that significantly protects both small businesses and their customers is the use of virtual payments.

Because identity thieves have been migrating online, consumers can be at risk of having their credit and debit card information stolen when paying for goods over the internet. A virtual payment method mitigates this risk for electronic purchases by providing a single-use virtual card number that is generated for a specific purchase, does not exist in plastic format, and can only be used one time. This makes virtual cards much more secure than traditional plastic cards, especially for card-not-present transactions made online. Here are some of the cybersecurity advantages to using a virtual card number.

Using virtual payments provides identity security

Because virtual card numbers are unique to every one-time transaction, the numbers cannot be traced back to the original account or sensitive information about the customer associated with it. This reduces the risk of data compromise by ensuring that no banking information needs to exchanged between the buyer and seller.

Single-use virtual card numbers offer precise transaction control

Virtual payments are highly customizable. Setting transaction controls like the exact dollar amount the card can be used for, what vendor it will go towards, and the expiration date of the card guarantees that the transaction will have minimal errors and a greatly reduced risk of fraud. Single-use cards are authorized for one specific transaction and the number cannot be reused once the payment is processed.

Virtual card transactions are processed just like plastic credit cards

A virtual card number contains the same information as a plastic card, like the standard 16-digit card number, a CVV number, and an expiration date. They also typically have familiar brand names, like MasterCard and Visa, which means they are sent through the same secure network as all major credit card transactions. They can be used online as well as over the phone or in-store. But unlike physical cards they cannot be lost, misplaced, or stolen.

Virtual payments help companies save on handling costs

Virtual card payments are less expensive than checks and traditional credit card transactions. Because they are digital, there are no handling costs associated with issuing or maintaining the physical, plastic cards. Suppliers also benefit from receiving money faster with the speed of virtual payments, increasing cash flow and reducing days sales outstanding (DSO).

Behalf’s one-time MasterCard is a problem solver for companies looking for a secure way to pay for business purchases, or for vendors looking to provide their consumers with a safer payment process. Our virtual MasterCard feature allows customers to conveniently use their Behalf credit line to fund purchases across the MasterCard network. It is simple to create an order to a MasterCard-accepting business and Behalf will generate a unique, single-use card number in seconds for use at checkout. Since a Behalf MasterCard number can only be used once, it’s the most secure way to pay.

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