How to Combat Mail and Check Fraud with PEX Virtual Vendor Cards


“The check is in the mail.”

Famously, one of the big lies in business, it’s now one of the biggest risks. According to the Federal Reserve “Reports of check fraud have almost doubled from 2021 to 2022, 680,000 cases in 2022, and 350,000 in 2021.” Similarly, 2021 saw roughly 300,000 complaints of mail theft, more than double the complaints in 2020.

Criminals are on the lookout for checks – any checks, not just blanks. They know how to change names and amounts to drain funds from your bank account. And even in cases where you’re not financially liable for the fraud, you’ll still lose time and productivity proving fraud and recovering the funds.

PEX Virtual Vendor Cards: The Simplest, Best, and Most Secure Alternative to Writing Checks

Despite the popularity of checks to make B2B payments, checks are not necessary to pay vendors. Countries like Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands went checkless decades ago. Even here in the United States, check usage is trending down. 

In the growing roster of alternatives, PEX Virtual Vendor Cards stand out. They combine the simplicity and convenience of charge cards with innovations that make them more secure. Additionally, vendor cards make paying bills easier to manage, record, and audit.

No Fees, No Limits, and 1% Cash Back

Like physical cards, PEX Virtual Vendor Cards have account numbers, expiration dates, and security codes. However, because there’s no physical card to get lost or stolen, they are more secure than standard cards. You can create as many as you need at no cost.

When you use virtual cards to pay an invoice, vendors receive funds immediately. (Automated Clearing House [ACH] payments can take up to three days to clear) and there are no transaction limits (beyond the ones you set) or fees. Better still, your business earns 1% cashback on qualifying purchases.

More Efficient than Checks or Credit Cards

Using PEX Virtual Vendor Cards doesn’t require radical changes to your workflow. If you can write a check or pay bills online, you can create a virtual vendor card and enable it for payments.

Provisioning a card for a vendor only takes about as long as writing one check. And once you set it up, payments become easier to schedule, verify, and record. Here’s the workflow.

Step 1: Log Into the PEX Portal

It’s as simple and intuitive as logging into your bank account. And just like your bank account, the dashboard links to everything you need to manage your account, including cards. Click on the “Cards” tab and…

Step 2: Create a PEX Virtual Vendor Card

In the “Cards” tab, you can create a PEX Virtual Vendor Card. You order one like any PEX debit or charge card. You just check a box and the Virtual column, and the card is immediately ready to use.

Step 3: Set Spending Rules for the Virtual Vendor Card

Will you be using this card for recurring payments, like a subscription? Set a rule to pay the cost once a month. Or is this a single payment you wish to make on a specific date and time? If it is, set that rule.

It only takes a few seconds to set unique spending rules for a PEX Virtual Vendor Card. In addition to credit limits, you can limit the number of transactions, when transactions can take place, the size of each transaction, the merchant category, and more.

Important note: Setting rules will make the card difficult to use if the account is compromised. When a charge is declined, you receive an alert. If it proves to be an attempt at fraud, canceling and replacing the card won’t affect other vendors. You only have to replace one card-on-file account with the one vendor whose card was compromised. And it only takes a few seconds.

Step 4: Tag the Card with an Accounting Code

This step may be the most time-saving of all. PEX integrates with accounting software. Add an accounting code to the card. The transaction will instantly appear on your dashboard when the virtual vendor card pays a bill already allocated to the correct budget. You can review it and upload it to your accounting system with one click, complete with invoices and notes.

Customers report that this simple step saves them hours and hours of manual data entry. And that’s something that ACH and other alternatives to checks can’t match.

Step 5: Make the Virtual Card Your Card on File with the Vendor

Now, simply provide the vendor with the card information for their files. You can do this through the account settings for online vendors. For other vendors, you may have to contact their accounts receivable department and ask them to change the number.

Step 6: Use the Virtual Vendor Card for Payments

Again, you set the rules. You can log in to your PEX account and schedule the card funding and set up recurring funding. However, the payments themselves are done either when the vendor initiates the billing or the admin uses online to make a payment.

With complete control over payments, you can avoid being overcharged by vendors or charged for unauthorized subscriptions. PEX Virtual Vendor Card customers who have trouble canceling subscriptions will often simply deactivate the card.

Migrate to a More Secure Payment Method Without Upending Your Workflow

While checks have long been the dominant form of B2B payments, they can be highly susceptible to fraud with few benefits to outweigh the risk. It has even been reported in a 2021 Payments Fraud and Control Survey Report that 66% of finance professionals have reported fraud activity due to using checks as their form of payment. PEX Virtual Vendor Cards, however, allow your business to securely pay bills and manage subscriptions while earning a 1% rebate. To learn about the advantages of vendor cards for security, accounting, auditing, and more, click here for a free demo.

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Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Bancorp Bank, N.A. (“Bank”). Bank is not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).