Amex Partners with Extend to Offer Small Businesses Virtual Cards

There’s no question that the payments landscape has evolved greatly in just the past few years. In addition to the growing popularity of mobile and contactless payments, another technology that started to catch on is virtual cards. These uniquely generated cards can be used for one-time purchases, subscriptions, or just about anything else. Now, American Express is making virtual cards more readily available to small business owners in the United States.

This week, Amex announced that it was partnering with Extend to enable virtual card capabilities for their business card customers. While many third-party virtual card features come at the expense of earning credit card rewards, Amex small business card customers who use Extend will still be able to enjoy the benefits and rewards that their cards offer. American Express also notes that it’s working to introduce additional capabilities, such as allowing business card customers to add virtual cards to mobile wallets for in-store purchases.

By creating virtual cards, small business owners can better track spending on specific projects by using different card numbers for certain purchases. Additionally, virtual cards can be created for employees but controlled by putting spending limits on them. These tokenized card numbers also bring another layer of security to payments as they reduce the risk of actual card details becoming compromised. As a result of such benefits, according to American Express’s survey data, 39% of U.S. businesses expect to increase their use of virtual cards in the next year.

In a press releasing announcing the partnership, Amex’s EVP of Global Commercial Services Dean Henry said, “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. With today’s announcement, our Business Cards can work even harder for our Card Members through this quick and easy virtual Card option.” He continued, “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.”

Elaborating on the benefits of virtual cards, Extend CEO Andrew Jamison stated, “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. 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.”

Although virtual cards may not be on every small business owner’s radar, there are definitely compelling reasons to jump on board. Luckily, Amex’s partnership with Extend will make that process much easier. Plus, the ability to still earn cashback or points from virtual cards purchases is a significant win for business owners. Looking forward, it will also be interesting to see what other capabilities and features the duo are able to introduce to further help small business owners better manage their money.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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