Leveraging B2B Virtual Cards for Financial Gain: Interchange sharing, minimising FX exposure and optimising your balance sheet 

Apr 11, 2024

While the core focus for any business is revenue, nowhere is this more true than in the Travel Industry, where margins typically sit between 5-6%. This means that those in Travel must keep an especially keen eye on their bottom line, and get creative when it comes to unlocking additional revenue, outside of the typical ‘make more sales’.

One way that Travel Businesses can do this is by optimising their payments – an often forgotten but lucrative revenue opportunity. Virtual Cards have emerged as the front-runner here, offering numerous financial benefits for OTAs, including interchange sharing, minimising foreign exchange (FX) fees, and optimising cashflow. 

What are Virtual Cards?

At their core, virtual cards are digital payment instruments that operate similarly to traditional credit or debit cards, but with a few key differences. Instead of a physical plastic card, virtual cards exist solely in digital form. They are typically generated and managed through a secure online platform, often provided by banks or fintech companies such as Pax2pay. While most physical cards have expiry dates spanning years, virtual cards can be created with a lifespan of a single transaction, mere days, or even months – making them ideal for one-time purchases or recurring payments. Once the transaction is complete or the expiration date passes, the virtual card becomes obsolete, adding an extra layer of security. Because of their digital nature, they cannot be used to withdraw cash from an ATM Machine. But aside from this, virtual cards carry the same details as physician cards with a 16-digit card number, CVV code (Card Verification Value), expiration date, and connections to the same payment networks.

Want to learn more about what exactly virtual cards are? Check out our blog.

Let’s delve into how these benefits translate into tangible financial gains for OTAs.

Interchange Sharing: Maximising Revenue Streams

What are interchange fees?

Interchange fees are charges that financial institutions levy on each transaction processed through credit or debit cards. Traditionally, OTAs bear the brunt of these fees, eating into their profit margins. However, with B2B Virtual Cards, OTAs have the opportunity to flip the script.

Interchange sharing:

By partnering with financial institutions or payment providers offering interchange-sharing programs, OTAs can recoup a portion of the interchange fees associated with each transaction made using virtual cards. This revenue-sharing model enables OTAs to bolster their bottom line, effectively turning what was once a cost centre into a new revenue stream.

Minimising FX Fees: Enhancing Cost Efficiency

For OTAs operating on a global scale, navigating foreign exchange (FX) fees can be a costly endeavour. Traditional payment methods often entail hefty FX markups and additional transaction fees, eating into the OTA’s profits with each international booking.

B2B Virtual Cards offer a solution to this dilemma by enabling OTAs to transact in multiple currencies with minimal FX fees. By leveraging virtual cards issued in different currencies, OTAs can bypass costly currency conversion charges and provide customers with transparent pricing. This not only enhances the OTA’s cost efficiency but also improves the overall customer experience, fostering loyalty and repeat business.

Optimising Cashflow: Keeping Funds on the Balance Sheet

Cash flow management is paramount for OTAs, as it directly impacts their ability to make new bookings, invest in growth initiatives, and weather economic downturns. Traditional payment methods, such as wire transfers or cheques, often result in delays in fund availability, tying up crucial capital and hindering operational agility.

B2B Virtual Cards offer a streamlined alternative, allowing OTAs to keep funds on their balance sheet until needed. By eliminating the need for lengthy reconciliation processes and accelerating cash inflows, virtual cards empower OTAs to optimise their cash flow and allocate resources more strategically.

Moreover, certain providers such as Pax2pay, will enable OTAs to create funding accounts in their name, rather than the providers’ name. This means that even when an OTA loads funds into a EUR account for example, ready to fund their EUR virtual card, the funds remain on their balance sheet. 


Leveraging payment solutions like B2B Virtual Cards can spell the difference between success and stagnation. By harnessing interchange-sharing programs, minimising FX fees, and optimising cash flow, OTAs can unlock significant financial benefits while enhancing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

For businesses operating in the travel industry, embracing digital payment technologies will be instrumental in driving growth and staying competitive. OTAs that proactively integrate B2B Virtual Cards into their payment ecosystem stand to reap substantial rewards.