Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA Merrill) has launched an enhanced virtual card capability that uses application programming interface (API) to enable commercial purchasing clients to connect directly to the bank’s virtual card system. This streamlined and dynamic virtual card solution, known as BofA Merrill Virtual Payables, also leverages new capabilities to create single-use account numbers in real time.
Using API, a purchasing client can also initiate payments via batch file delivery from its accounts payable/enterprise resource planning system or via the user interface.
“We are excited to present to our clients, and the market, continued enhancements and innovations with our card payment methods,” said Hubert J.P. Jolly, global head of financing and channels for Global Transaction Services (GTS) at BofA Merrill. “We are proud to be the first issuer in North America to generate single-use virtual card accounts directly from our processor, resulting in the ultimate combination of flexibility and control.
The enhanced Virtual Payables streamlines the payment process for both buyers and their suppliers. Each transaction has a unique card account number tied to it, improving reconciliation for both parties. For suppliers, there’s no need to store a card number on file as all card account information and payment details are provided via email and secure URL. The enhanced capability also benefits clients who want to integrate a virtual card solution into their travel booking process.
While Virtual Payables is offered globally, these specific enhancements are currently available for the North America market only.
“Our North American marketplace is mature, yet benefits from continued product innovation,” said Jennifer Petty, global head of Card and Comprehensive Payables for BofA Merrill GTS. “This improved Virtual Payables offering will greatly benefit our clients, their suppliers and the market. We will look to bring enhanced capabilities throughout our global footprint as the market evolves.”
In addition to continued technology innovation, the enhanced Virtual Payables offering includes robust supplier enablement support services for buying clients. For the life of a program, BofA Merrill’s supplier enablement experts work to maximize card adoption and retain suppliers on Virtual Payables.
The Virtual Payables solution is easily bundled with an ACH network solution, Paymode-X Connect. This combined service, referred to as Comprehensive Payables, typically can automate 60-65 percent of an organization’s non-payroll accounts payable check payments.