Amex adds virtual cards to its business travel platform

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American Express is adding virtual account numbers to its business travel account service, saying it will provide businesses with more visibility and control of employee travel expenses.

The virtual account feature works with existing booking processes of Travel Management Companies through support from virtual services provider Conferma.

“We understand that corporate travel is a major expense for many companies and can be a time consuming and difficult process to manage,” said Gint Balodis, vice president of global product management for Amex's Global Commercial Payments unit.

Amex's update "further centralizes control into one account, making the process of purchasing, tracking and reconciling travel expenses easier than in the past,” Balodis said in a July 12 press release.

The use of virtual cards has gained some momentum in the industry this year, being cited as an option for security purposes as well as reducing plastic card use or streamlining back-office and accounting operations.

The business travel account will allow businesses to set usage dates and pre-authorize spending limits at the time of booking, which Amex says helps support company travel policies.

It also enables more types of business travelers, including large groups or non-employees who do not have corporate cards.

The American Express Work payments reconciliation platform also improves under the new account with a simplified process aided by improved data files that capture employee identification numbers. The enhanced business travel account is available to businesses in the U.S., Australia and U.K.

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