Credit Cards - Virtual
Some Online Travel Agent (OTA) websites settle payment with accommodation providers by using a 'virtual credit card'. There are a few virtual card payment systems. Two of the main ones are the Barclaycard Tracker system and AIDA which stands for AirPlus Integrated Data and Acceptance.
Payment is made before or after the guest stay; dependant on the agreement Hotels / Resorts have with the OTA.
The card number is a virtual Visa or MasterCard number issued by the card company and is subject to all applicable credit card scheme rules in the same way as any other Corporate Credit Card and can, therefore, be treated in the same way as any other Visa or MasterCard branded corporate credit card for guarantee and payment. The main differences between these and other cards are that this is not a physical card; therefore the TMC cannot produce a copy and not all cards have a cvv2 number as the transaction should always be treated as 'cardholder not present'.
The payments are just as secure; if not more secure than regular corporate card transactions as there are no faxed copies of front and back. "No show" charges can be processed as per the agreements between the hotel and the OTA.
Pre-authorisation and completion remains the same as with a physical credit card. It remains essential that the hotel forwards to the TMC a detailed invoice for the amount debited.
The short video below is courtesy of Booking.com explaining how hotels charge the virtual credit cards they issue: