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Everything you want to know about… Virtual (digital-only) prepaid cards for business

Online shopping has been on the rise for some time now, and the pandemic has only increased its popularity. Many consumers have now started to shop online for the first time, and safe digital payment methods are needed even more. One such innovation is prepaid virtual cards. In this blog post, we look in more detail at virtual cards and how they work.

What are virtual (digital) cards?

A virtual, or digital card is an online hosted, digital virtual representation of any plastic card. A digital card, unlike a plastic card, doesn’t require any physical representation. Like a traditional credit, debit, or prepaid card, a virtual card allows users to purchase services or goods online.

An advantage of using virtual cards for your business is that the cardholder can use their card immediately. No need to wait for a traditional card to be sent in the mail. As soon as the card is created and funds loaded, the user will receive an email with instructions on retrieving their new card details.

The benefits of virtual cards

Virtual cards have great applications for business with total versatility to be used for a wide range of purposes. They can be used for purchasing items online, offering incentives to staff and clients, managing expenses, the list goes on.

If your business makes a large number of online payments, for example paying for travel, using a prepaid virtual card is a fantastic way to make sure payments remain secure and expenses are within budget. B4B Payments offer prepaid virtual cards that make business payments simple. Virtual cards can be generated instantly via our online managerial platform – the cardholder can then use it immediately rather than needing to wait for a physical card to be sent through the post.

How does a virtual (digital) card work?

Your virtual prepaid Mastercard® or Visa® is a reloadable, online e-money card consisting of a standard card number, expiry date and CVV number, which you can retrieve at any time by choosing ‘Display Card Image’ from the B4B cardholder dashboard.

You can use your virtual card details to make purchases online or over the phone at millions of businesses and retailers anywhere in the world. You cannot use your virtual card details to make in-person payments in a shop.

Can virtual cards be used in my digital wallet?

Not yet. B4B Payments are currently working to provide clients and cardholders access to prepaid cards using digital wallet devices, such as GooglePay and ApplePay services.

Are virtual cards safe?

Yes. Just like a physical card, you must keep your virtual card details safe and secret. However, with a few clicks, cardholders can suspend their account.

If you’re a B4B cardholder, and have any questions, please contact our customer service team directly.

Virtual cards in the future

With online shopping increasing and the use of cash declining, it seems that the presence of prepaid virtual cards will only continue to grow. It’s easy to see why – the advantages of virtual cards both for online shopping and business payments lie in their security and accessibility.

If your organisation could benefit from increased security when you make payments online, B4B Payments can help with virtual cards for businesses. Our efficient system allows you to set up and close down cards quickly and easily, causing minimal disruption to your operations. For more information about our services please get in touch.

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Closed loop and open loop prepaid cards

There’s no question that prepaid cards are becoming more commonplace, especially as the use of cash declines. Prepaid gift cards are now seen more frequently in stores than the traditional paper gift voucher, and prepaid cards are also a useful way of helping people to budget. In addition, with online shopping on the rise, prepaid cards are very popular in the form of virtual or digital cards.

Closed loop and open loop

There are two main types of prepaid card available – closed loop and open loop. So what’s the difference between the two and what are the benefits? When you think of a gift card for a particular store, what you’re actually thinking of is a closed-loop card. This type of prepaid card is designed to only be used at that store and cannot be accepted for payments elsewhere.

On the other hand, an open-loop card is not tied to a particular store or brand. These cards are usually identified by a Visa or Mastercard logo and can be used anywhere that accepts card payments. Open-loop cards are typically loaded with cash in specific increments and are often used to help with budgeting. This type of card is also frequently sold to travellers as a more convenient and secure way of taking currency abroad, or for making card payments in other countries without incurring hefty fees.

Solutions for businesses

Both closed-loop and open-loop cards have useful applications for businesses. When it comes to employee incentives and rewards, both types of prepaid card are great options. A closed-loop card for a designated store can be a really personal way to reward a particular employee, gifting them something you know they’ll genuinely appreciate.

Alternatively, an open-loop card makes your employees’ rewards work for them – handy if you’re buying cards in bulk or you want to give flexible rewards and incentives. B4B Payments offer prepaid cards that you can adapt to your needs, and which ensure every employee gets a perk they love.

Open-loop cards are also a fantastic solution for business expenses; they eliminate the need for employees to use their own personal finances. Open-loop prepaid cards allow employees to spend money wherever they choose but make it easier to stick to a budget. A prepaid business card from B4B Payments also makes it simple to manage expenses and receipts – you can track all expenses through our secure platform and receive comprehensive reports on expenditure.

Prepaid cards in the future

It seems clear that the use of prepaid cards, both closed loop and open loop, is likely to continue rising. If you’re looking for a smart solution to rewards, expenses, and business payments, the flexible payment solutions from B4B Payments could be the answer. Our products allow you to track and manage expenditure, whilst giving freedom and flexibility to employees. If you’re interested in streamlining payments and incentives with prepaid cards and would like more information, get in touch

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B4B Payments celebrates European expansion with Fintech Hub LT association

Following a successful year in 2020 and its continuing expansion into Europe, B4B Payments is proud to announce further development with its recent Lithuania launch.

In November 2020, UAB B4B Payments Europe was issued with an electronic money institution licence by the Bank of Lithuania. This allows the company to offer services for processing payments throughout the European Union. Receiving this status goes some way to securing the company’s presence in the market, regardless of the UK’s exit from the EU.

B4B Payments is proud to announce that it has become a member of the Fintech association Fintech Hub LT. The association boasts nearly 50 licensed Fintech companies and aims to foster favourable conditions for Fintech activities, strengthen compliance. The head of Fintech Hub LT noted: “We are thrilled to see the rapid growth of our association and companies like B4B Payments joining us. We will continue to create value for the fintech sector, encourage AML and regulatory compliance, and ensure better conditions for licensed fintechs.”

Launching its services in Lithuania means B4B Payments can now supply businesses of all sizes in the country with its range of payment processing solutions, including prepaid cards and virtual cards to use for business payments, expenses, and employee incentives.

This development represents a significant step towards B4B Payments, increasing its presence in the Baltic region, as well as continuing to build on its expansion throughout Europe as a whole. B4B Payments’ CEO Paul Swinton said: “We’re very excited to be expanding with a permanent office in the EU market and at the same time improving the service we offer to our current clients by improving the coverage of B4B’s services.”

The launch in Lithuania and the Fintech Hub LT association’s membership shows that the company is continuing to go from strength to strength. This follows a highly productive year in 2020. During this time, B4B became a principal member of Mastercard. In addition, the company acquired electronic money institution status in the UK, expanded into the USA market and continued its expansion into Europe. This growth has included welcoming a new General Manager for Europe to the business, Vladimiras Kolesovas.

B4B Payments are thought leaders in Fintech and the corporate prepaid payments industry, with a presence in the industry for 14 years. Backed by an international team, the company is committed to supplying businesses of all sizes with innovative solutions for payments, intended to streamline and eliminate antiquated finance and accounting processes.

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Why clinical research organisations are key to recruiting trial patients

Developing new drugs costs billions of pounds in research and development. Around half of the total cost is spent on clinical trials; they are essential in bringing any new drug to market. Recruiting trial patients and retaining them for the duration of any clinical trial presents a significant challenge for pharmaceutical businesses and creates a critical bottleneck in drug development.

The initial challenge is finding enough patients to generate the high-quality data that regulators require to give a new drug approval, and doctors want to see before they start writing prescriptions. The next challenge is ensuring that enough patients see the trial through to the end.

A growing number of pharmaceutical companies are turning to clinical research organisations (CROs) to help them overcome these barriers and manage the clinical trial process.

Contract research organisations

Contract research organisations (CRO) have benefited greatly from the pressures facing the pharmaceutical industry today. In particular, pharmaceutical companies need to maintain a steady flow of new blockbuster drugs as their existing products become available as generics. While the CRO industry’s growth rate has noticeably slowed since the mid-90s, it retains a growth rate that any other business in the pharmaceutical industry would be envious of.

As the largest pharmaceutical market globally, the US accounts for most of the global CRO market. The US CRO market is worth around $4.2 billion, compared to Europe’s $2.6 billion. However, the growth rate in the European market has outstripped that of the US for some time. Most analysts agree that this growth rate is attributable to Eastern Europe, which is an attractive investment target for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Clinical research organisations

Competition in the European clinical research market has continued to increase in tandem with the growth rate. As competition heats up, CROs are increasingly looking for ways to expand their services and entry into new markets.

But while many of them have operated commercial services in developing regions, their experience doesn’t necessarily extend to actively participating in running clinical trials. As a result, there are significant benefits to partnering with CROs who have international and regional experience.

Going global

CROs that operate internationally rapidly gain experience with different regulatory frameworks and types of products. This experience is invaluable to pharmaceutical companies. By partnering with international CROs that can operate in multiple regions, pharma businesses can streamline their clinical trial processes. As these CROs grow and gain experience, their value increases, as does the range of benefits they offer to their partners.

Incentivising patients

Businesses like B4B have an important role to play in helping pharmaceutical businesses to streamline their spending and offer rewards and incentives to trial patients when operating internationally. Trial patients need incentivising to sign up for clinical trials and see them through until the end. B4B supplies prepaid cards that businesses can use to distribute funds and cover their expenses. The easier it is for drug companies to get money to trial patients and other businesses, the smoother their clinical trial processes will be.

Pharmaceutical businesses need to work with a range of other businesses and organisations to keep their clinical trials running smoothly. CROs are already playing a vital role in trial patient recruitment and retention; they are likely to become even more important in the future.


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B4B: UK E-money Institution & Mastercard Principal Membership

Payment solutions experts, B4B Payments (B4B), celebrate approval to become an E-money institution and the launch of a new branch office in Vilnius, Lithuania. This follows on from the launch of the Boston branch in August 2020, the launch of its products in the USA and is another step completed in the strategic goal of B4B to widen their company reach on a global scale.


On Friday 28th August, the FCA authorised B4B to operate as an E-money Institution (EMI). The following week, B4B joined Mastercard as a principal member. This change in status will allow the company to issue their own cards and offer even more innovative prepaid business cards and payment solutions throughout Europe.

As an EMI, B4B Payments will take responsibility for and be able to issue electronic money in the form of prepaid cards for its business clients, which can then be used to make payments to third parties. This removes another supplier from its supply chain bringing faster decision making and an improved approach to product enhancements.

The Vilnius branch will cover all of B4B Payment’s customers in Europe, helping to Brexit-proof the company and the company is on track to receive a second EMI licence in Lithuania.

Dual authorisation as an E-money institution allows B4B Payments to provide their financial payment solutions to all territories in Europe. No matter what exit deal the UK secures with the EU, this approval will allow B4B Payments to continue to provide their high-quality services to businesses throughout Europe.

Paul Swinton, B4B Payments co-founder and CEO said: “This is undoubtedly an exciting time for us. We are taking the next step in our global expansion plan and have just been approved to become an E-money institution in one country and a second will shortly follow. We have also continued our long-established relationship with Mastercard by becoming a principal member. As we migrate all our European cardholders away from Wirecard Card Solutions onto our own licence we will ensure there is no impact to cardholders or our business customers. We are delighted to grow our company with our clients and look forward to offering more enhancements to our corporate payment solutions moving forward”

For over 14 years, B4B Payments have been leading the Fintech and prepaid solutions market, working with a global team to offer consistently innovative and flexible payment solutions that can help businesses manage their corporate expenses efficiently and easily.

Paul added, “I’d like to thank the hard work of the B4B Payments team who managed to make this all possible and our colleagues at Mastercard who have acted quickly and decisively to ensure that thousands of customers of Wirecard will not be further impacted. The passion of our company has enabled the first stages of our international expansion to be a huge success and I can’t wait to continue to share news of our success with our customers as we move forward.”

Opening a Lithuanian office is further proof of the forward-thinking nature of B4B Payments, who endeavour to bring the best payment processing solutions consistently to the market.

Edoardo Volta, Head of Fintech, UK & Ireland, Mastercard commented “We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with B4B Payments as they continue to innovate in the commercial space. Our worldwide acceptance network and solid experience in the Fintech space will ensure we are able to support their global ambitions and future success.”

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Notice of New Terms & Conditions

This change affects both B4B and Bread4Scrap clients and cardholders. The following communication was sent on 15th September 2020.

Dear Client/Cardholder,

This is a notice to advise that your current terms and conditions showing Wirecard Card Solutions Ltd (WDCS) as the issuer of E-money will be replaced by the attached new set of terms within the next 60 days.

This change has come about because WDCS has determined that it is going to bring about an orderly wind down of its business. All cardholders and e-money accounts will be transferred to B4B Payments to allow operations to continue as normal.

B4B Payments as the trading name of Payment Card Solutions (UK) Ltd and is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority as an Electronic Money Institution (register number 930619) and is a Principal Member of Mastercard International Inc.

B4B Payments has been operating your cards and card program since its inception as a program manager of WDCS and to date has carried out all operational activities in respect of the program, so this change should have little to no effect on day to day operations.

The only significant difference is that B4B Payments will be additionally responsible for the safeguarding of cardholder funds whereas WDCS performed this function previously. Like WDCS, B4B Payments uses the segregation method to ensure all client funds are held in credit institutions in the EU. The safeguarding policy is available upon request.

It should be noted that if you do not wish to continue the use of your card or the e-money services currently being provided by B4B Payments under the new terms then B4B Payments will allow you to redeem your e-money and waive the normal redemption fee. 

It should be further noted that for operational reasons the balances of cards maybe transferred to B4B Payments within the next 60 days, but this does not affect your rights under the current terms.

If you no longer wish to continue under these new terms, then please contact your account manager or customer services to arrange the redemption of your e-money.

As always, we appreciate you choosing B4B as your prepaid payments partner.

Regards,
Paul Swinton, CEO B4B Payments & Bread4Scrap

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B4B Payments Announces Strategic Expansion into U.S. Market

B4B Payments announces new collaboration with Visa in the U.S.

Digital payments company, B4B Payments, today announced a strategic collaboration with Visa in the United States. B4B Payments will leverage Visa’s proven scale, security and reach to grow in the U.S. market. The B4B payments program will be delivered on Visa Debit Cards and supported by Visa DPS for issuer processing services.

The move will see B4B Payments’ technology aiming to help companies facing challenges with outdated payment methods in the United States. Due to open its first U.S. office in Boston, Massachusetts in August 2020, this announcement marks a significant leap forward in capability for B4B Payments.

“Now is the right time for us to unleash our platform into the U.S. market and help companies free up their time from the sometimes-antiquated expense management processes in the same way we have in Europe. We are looking forward to achieving similar levels of success by collaborating with Visa to take our product forward.”

Paul Swinton Founder and CEO of B4B Payments

B4B Payments’ technology helps to streamline the payment process for organisations who had previously found difficulty managing issues that can be associated with traditional payment methods, such as employee expenses or third-party payments. The platform is entirely digital and can be used in conjunction with the B4B app to enable updates on the go, featuring automatic notifications of funds received, reminders for receipt input and freeing up the business to spend more time on other tasks. The technology allows for increased visibility and control over the expense payments that a company makes to its staff and suppliers. B4B Payments is particularly useful for agile digital companies without the resources to employ full-time administrative staff, or who employ gig economy workers and contractors, because payments can be tracked and made as needed without needing a central interface.

Kieran Draper, Head of B4B Payments (USA) Inc, comments, “We’re delighted to be able to announce the company’s expansion into the U.S. market, which has been a corporate ambition of ours for some time, and to transform the sometimes challenging process of business payments alongside a global brand like Visa is a great privilege.”

Our platform assists U.S. businesses facing challenges with purchasing and payments, in a world where the gig economy is growing massively. We hope to provide these businesses with a swift, secure and easy-to-use platform that gives them more time and effort to focus on their trade, rather than their administration.”

“We have successfully worked with fintech organizations across the globe to provide a clear path towards getting to market faster and more efficiently, leveraging Visa’s scale, security, reach and strong network of partners. By working with B4B payments on their expansion to the U.S., we are continuing our support for fintechs, with the goal of accelerating the growth of the payments industry and creating better ways to help move money everywhere.”

Terry Angelos, SVP and Global Head of Fintech, Visa

B4B Payments announces this exciting news off the back of an excellent 2019, which saw the company win Best Prepaid Product of the Year at the 2019 European Card & Payments Awards. With over 1,000 customers in Europe alone and several award wins under their belt, this expansion into North America represents a significant milestone for the company.

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The benefits of a branded prepaid business card

To brand or not to brand?

Wait… Is that even a question? Brand! Brand everything!

Often when somebody goes on a company trip, they’ll travel out with a business credit card in order to cover their expenses. This has been the typical method of corporate expense management and keeping your spending on trips under control. However, the use of the branded prepaid business card is on the rise. Here are a few reasons that these cards are beneficial for both the brand, the business, and its users.

A high level of management control

Using business credit cards can often be a struggle, as too many cards being in circulation can be difficult to track. Using a management control platform such as B4B Payments means that you can keep track of all of your corporate expense cards, generate spending reports, and load cards individually or in bulk. This makes the amount of control you have over your corporate expenses far more secure and is a big step towards accurate real-time tracking of company finances and spending.

Personalisation can boost your brand

The improvement of your brand is always a big benefit to any company, and prepaid business cards are not exempt from this idea. When your employees go to a conference and need to cover for their expenses, they can reach down into a wallet and show off your company’s brand whilst paying for anything they get when away. This is a quick and easy way to get your brand seen by more people, often industry professionals, whilst putting minimal effort into getting this exposure. With a colourful and vibrant company expenses card, your business can stand out from the crowd.

Control your expenditure

Everyone’s heard the nightmare stories. Employees often go on long trips to conferences or retreats and may overspend far beyond what the company initially anticipated. With a credit card, it is much harder to stay within these limits compared to a debit card. Using a prepaid business card, there is no credit involved. Your company’s representatives are limited by the amount that is paid onto the card, and therefore can’t overspend and leave your business in financial trouble. Peace of mind is valuable in business, and that is exactly what this card can offer you.

If you’re interested in a prepaid personalised business card in order to control your corporate expenses and get your brand out there, get in touch with B4B Payments. Our team of experts will help to explain all of the available options to you and find you a bespoke way forward.

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B4B Payments chooses LHV Banking Services to fuel growth

LHV, the financial and payment services provider, is pleased to announce award-winning corporate prepaid payments solution provider, B4B Payments (‘B4B’), has become the latest FinTech customer of its London branch. 

Since the launch of its London office in 2018, LHV has now quadrupled its client base to 120.  Customers are predominantly financial institutions and FinTechs, who have been drawn to LHV’s value proposition, its ‘one stop shop’ offering that covers large scale banking service requirements, and its partnership model whereby LHV works closely with clients to develop custom made solutions that satisfy their individual requirements. 

FCA authorised B4B will gain access to LHV’s full service offering including state of the art payment infrastructure and real time Euro and Sterling payments capability via Single Euro Payment Area (‘SEPA’) Instant and Faster Payments schemes respectively. In addition, B4B will benefit from access to LHV’s Application Programming Interface ‘LHV Connect’, which offers a wide range of services, including GBP and EUR safeguarding accounts, Virtual IBANs, currency exchange, liquidity services and where appropriate financing.

B4B Payments, veteran prepaid payment provider in Europe, is going global, expanding operations in North America and opening its first US offices in Boston. The platform enables organisations of any size to manage expenses, simplify payroll, reimbursements, and offer employee rewards and incentives.

As a leader in Fintech and prepaid business payments for over 14 years and voted the Best Prepaid Product of the Year in 2019, B4B Payments continues to offer innovative, flexible, and time-saving solutions that streamline and eliminate antiquated finance and accounting processes.

Andres Kitter, Head of LHV’s UK Operations, said, “Our decision to establish a presence in London post the 2016 Brexit referendum was to increase our presence in what remains one of the leading financial and fintech sectors in the world and in the process attract customers of the calibre of B4B.  The company has been operating for fifteen years, which shows significant experience and market resilience and we are delighted that two profitable organisations are partnering for continued growth.

“In a little over two years, we have not only quadrupled customer numbers in our London office to 120 but also significantly diversified our client base so that the companies we serve range from payment service providers to FX brokers and from startups to established financial institutions and unicorns. All our clients are subjected to comprehensive onboarding procedures and due diligence and encouragingly we have a growing pipeline of potential customers currently undergoing this process.  I am therefore confident that the momentum behind our London operations will be maintained going forward.” 

 B4B CEO and co-founder, Paul Swinton said, “We looked at a number of providers to provide safeguarding and virtual IBAN capabilities. LHV came out on top due to their flexibility, functionality and value proposition. We migrated our clients easily onto the platform and we are very happy with the service to date. LHV will also be able to support us when we establish our European operation later this month with a one stop solution.”

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Next Steps South West provides support with prepaid Higher Education Travel Cards

Next Steps South West (NSSW) is an organisation, part of the Uni Connect programme, funded by the Office for Students.  Their aim is to increase progression into higher education by inspiring young people, working with teachers and parents to overcome barriers.

NSSW use personalised, prepaid cards for their Higher Education Travel Card scheme to enable students to attend university and college open days.

B4B Payments provides forward-thinking payment processing solutions, enabling any size organisation to manage its expenses, simplify its payroll and offer rewards and incentives using prepaid cards. With over 1,000 customers and growing all of the time, B4B Payments was voted the Best Prepaid Product of the Year in 2019.

Taylor, a student at Eggbuckland Community College in Plymouth, was the subject of multiple interventions from NSSW, who offered one-to-one support, motivational talks and workshops to help him become the first member of his family to attend university.

With the help of B4B Payment’s prepaid cards, NSSW was able to cover the cost to help Taylor travel to attend a UCAS exhibition and open days at the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth. Following the support of NSSW, Taylor was able to earn multiple university offers to become an undergraduate student in September 2020.

With B4B Payment’s online portal, customers can easily load their cards with funds in a matter of minutes, track their expenditure and monitor access to their funds, giving organisations like NSSW, complete control over their finances. Annie Winsland, Central Team Leader at NSSW expressed her gratitude for B4B Payment’s prepaid cards: “The whole process has been simple and straightforward. Nothing is too much trouble for B4B staff and their swift response to any matter that may arise and the ability to tailor cards to suit our needs is a definite win for us.”