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How to Strengthen Your Company’s Virtual Card Program

Virtual card programs are like gardens. They must be tended to. If your staff can’t do it, find a provider who can.

Your company’s suppliers and vendors must get paid, so it might as well be with an accounts payable process that is as simple, productive, and as financially attractive as possible for both parties. Enter virtual credit cards — an alternative to check and wire payments that can help your company earn a portion of revenue on each processed transaction. Virtual cards also reduce the number of checks your accounts payable department writes per month, all while turning the department into a revenue generator. With a virtual card program, you can greatly reduce employee time spent manually signing, printing, and mailing checks.

Success in a virtual card program lies in the proportion of your vendors that accept these card payments. But what does it mean if you’re unable to capture new vendors with your current virtual card program? Maybe your current provider is no longer enrolling on your behalf or your staff is unable to sign up new vendors due to a heavy workload. You may want to consider a complementary virtual card program from a provider who does all the vendor enrollment for you — throughout the life of your program. Complementary virtual card programs, such as Commerce Bank’s CommercePayments™ AP Card solution, work alongside a company’s primary virtual card program to capture revenue being left on the table. Consider the following benefits:

  • Capture smaller or new vendors. It’s common for a primary card program to capture a business’s largest vendors, thus with a complimentary program, you’re widening your scope with the number of vendors you can pay using a virtual card. More vendors on a card program mean more revenue share from making those payments.
  • Gain additional resources who continuously enroll vendors in your card program. Some providers will enroll vendors on their clients’ behalf for the first year before requiring the client to do the enrollment themselves. An underequipped AP staff may not have the capacity to enroll vendors, leading to their primary program card program stagnating. Essentially, if they are not actively enrolling new vendors, their primary card program dies.
  • Monetize the smaller end of your vendor list. Your virtual card provider may reach a threshold where they refuse to enroll smaller vendors, as they don’t anticipate earning that much revenue off them. Think of a complementary program as a way to “collect the crumbs.”

“Over the last year, more than ever, business owners have realized people can’t be on-site all the time to write checks,” says Andrew Fleck, ‎vice president, and Texas regional sales manager of commercial payments for ‎Commerce Bank. “Companies are looking for more streamlined ways to pay their suppliers. No matter what, a company still has to keep the lights on and keep the revenue that is generated from items it purchases going in a timely manner. As a regional bank, Commerce has realized the opportunity in virtual card payments and has developed a product that we, and our customers, believe is world-class.”

Working with a complimentary virtual card provider shouldn’t disrupt the relationship it has with its primary virtual card program provider. “From a payments perspective, we have looked under the hood,” Fleck says. “It’s great if a client has a current program that is working well. Our job is to take a look at what the primary provider wasn’t able to pick up and see if an alternative form of payment can generate revenue for their business. Commerce Bank has the infrastructure in place to do this and can call suppliers on our customers’ behalf. Our approach is to continuously look at suppliers and review those opportunities in an ongoing way.”

If you are in the market to learn more about a complimentary virtual card program for your business, look for a provider that will provide the following:

  • Enroll vendors for you, saving your AP staff time.
  • Pursue your smaller vendors, as those add up and may even outpace your primary program.
  • Step in when your primary program has stagnated or if you are having difficulties enrolling new vendors.

To learn more about Commerce Bank’s CommercePayments™ AP Card solution, visit https://solutions.commercebank.com/virtualcard

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