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CARDS & PAYMENTS | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Citi launches Virtual Card Accounts in 6 Asian markets

Including Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea.

Citi announced that its Citi Commercial Card business has launched its award-winning Citi Virtual Card Accounts (VCA) solution in six markets in Asia: India, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, extending its local-currency issuance capabilities in the region and supporting its growing success in capturing global payment flows in the Business-to-Business travel space.

VCA is a global, electronic payment solution offering unparalleled security, control, and efficiency using single-use commercial card account numbers. With the additional issuance capabilities in Indian Rupee, Malaysia Ringgit, Korean Won, Singaporean Dollar, Taiwan Dollar, and Thai Baht to its industry-leading footprint, Citi clients can now leverage VCA for supplier payments in more than 30 unique currencies and in more than 40 countries. Citi also has broadened its cross-border payment capabilities by enabling U.S. dollar virtual card issuance for clients based in Singapore or Hong Kong, as well as issuance in Korean Won for
vendor payments outside South Korea.

"We are extremely pleased to expand Citi’s innovative Virtual Card solution in the Asia Pacific region, where we continue to see strong demand for payment solutions to meet the needs of multinational organizations,” said Manish Kohli, Global Head of Commercial Cards.

“This sophisticated payment method will help clients operating in these countries move from traditional payment instruments to more efficient electronic ones. For our current multinational client base, Citi’s ability to offer globally consistent card-based solutions, such as VCA, is a unique benefit”.

Expanding Citi’s award winning virtual card solution into these markets will help fuel Citi’s continued growth in the B2B travel space, where VCA’s real-time capabilities are well-suited to meet the payment needs of online travel agents, payment aggregators and other travel-industry participants.

In Korea, one client is already putting this Citi’s virtual card solution to work. HANATOUR, the country’s largest travel company, is leveraging VCA to support its strategy of integrating directly into the inventory systems of the world’s leading hotel chains to gain real-time access to hotel rates and availability.

VCA’s real-time payment capabilities and robust enhanced data is helping HANATOUR maximize the benefits of direct connectivity with hotel partners to help consolidate its position as Korea’s top inbound-outbound travel agency.

“Citi’s Virtual Card Account solution enables us to make real-time payments in the currency of our choice – Korean Won – to hotels and other partners across the world, and will provide more robust data with each transaction to help further automate payment reconciliation and other time-intensive back-end processes. At the same time, we needed to ensure that we implemented a secure payment solution to protect both HANATOUR and our clients. Citi’s VCA provides all of these benefits,” said Sang-Yoon Park, General Manager of HANATOUR Service Inc.

“Citi’s solution, which we have integrated into our core reservation system, will allow us to continue to grow our business and market-leading position in Korea by allowing us to settle with hotel partners more quickly and, as a result, to secure better rates for our customers.”

More broadly, the rollout of virtual-card capabilities in these additional markets forms part of Citi’s strategy to support its clients by continuously expanding its Commercial Cards business globally, and builds on VCA’s existing regional presence in Australia and Hong Kong. Citi plans to roll out VCA in additional markets in Asia, the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, and in Latin America in the near term.

Deven Somaya, Regional Product Head, Wholesale Cards, Asia Pacific, Treasury and Trade Solutions, added: “The Virtual Card Accounts solution is exactly the type of innovative product that organizations within the region have been waiting for. With its flexible and robust transaction controls and enhanced data-capture capabilities, we definitely see this product as a real gamechanger throughout the region.”  

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