A new partnership between American Express and New York City-based fintech Extend will give small businesses in the U.S. new options when it comes to using and deploying virtual cards. Specifically, U.S. companies with eligible American Express Business Cards will be able to use Extend’s technology to enroll and create virtual cards in as little as five minutes.
American Express EVP for Global Commercial Services Dean Henry highlighted the increased use of virtual cards during the pandemic – and the continued interest companies have in using the technology to facilitate contactless payments. “With today’s announcement, our Business Cards can work even harder for our Card Members through this quick and easy virtual Card option,” Henry explained. “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.”
The statistics on virtual card use by businesses support Henry’s assessment. A study conducted by American Express indicated that 39% of U.S. businesses expect to increase their use of virtual cards over the next 12 months. American Express’s Global Business Spend Indicator noted seven benefits virtual cards offered businesses – not including touchless payment ability. These advantages included fast onboarding, flexibility and ease of use, spending controls due to the use of tokenization, better security and protection against fraud, streamlined expense reporting, automated card issuance, and the ability to earn rewards.
The two companies also noted in their partnership announcement that they planned to offer additional features and expand functionality in the future. Among the new functionalities anticipated is the ability to add American Express virtual cards to mobile wallets to facilitate in-store transactions.
“This market is rapidly growing as businesses realize just how versatile and effective virtual Cards can be,” Extend CEO Andrew Jamison said, “whether it’s managing subscription payments, equipping employees with secure company cards, or developing custom payment solutions with our APIs.”
Founded in 2017, Extend made its Finovate debut two years later at FinovateSpring in San Francisco, California. That same year, the Manhattan-based company raised $11 million in Series A funding in a round led by Point72 Ventures and the FinTech Collective, giving the firm a total capital of $14 million. More recently, the virtual card platform company forged partnerships with Mastercard and TSYS in the fall of 2020, and with City National Bank in January of this year.
American Express joined the Finovate alum club via its 2015 presentation at our developers conference FinDEVr Silicon Valley. At the event, members of the company’s engineering team discussed the evolving role of B2B payments in the e-commerce ecosystem, and how American Express was “bringing commercial payments to the cloud.”
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