Optal’s Virtual Account Numbers (VANs) eliminate some of the biggest frustrations in B2B payments, increasing choice and reducing risk with an alternative payment solution. Insurers, online marketplaces and global media agencies are using Optal VANs to streamline payments and replace cheques, paying their suppliers fast and turning costs into new revenue opportunities.

Overview of VANs

VANs offer an alternative payment solution to BACS, cheques and commercial cards – one that creates buyer and supplier control of payments made and or received, and streamlines your payment processes to reveal and eliminate hidden inefficiencies from the ‘tip to tail’ of your supplier network. VANs open up new payment possibilities, including the ability to automate reconciliations, reduce payment misdirection and errors, simplify accounts data, and use the payments solution as a profit centre via rewards.

Using VANs means you can pay suppliers with speed, accuracy and control. VANs reduce the risk of costly operational errors while ensuring better and more profitable partnerships with suppliers by minimising transaction costs and giving them access to efficient payments.

Learn how to make better payment choices with our 'Do you have a VAN plan?' eGuide.
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The data associated with most payment solutions is limited and increases the likelihood of misdirected payments caused by human error. VANs automate elements of the payment process, provide richer data, and decrease the administration and management burden of payments.

Learn how to automate and innovate your payments process with our 'Do you have a VAN plan?' eGuide.
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Fraud and security issues are constant challenges in B2B payments. Optal’s VANs meet all applicable regulatory standards, freeing you from the risks of holding payee data and allowing you to focus on what you do best – doing business.

Find out ways to reduce your payment risks with our 'Do you have a VAN plan?' eGuide.
Download now

VANs provide an alternative payment solution that generates additional margin on payments made to your suppliers, through a flexible rewards model for buyers. We offer tangible revenue generation for your business to bank or invest in the supplier network.

Find out how you can start generating revenue from your payments with our 'Do you have a VAN plan?' eGuide.
Download now

The Benefits

  • Make payments pay

    Many see transaction costs as just another cost of doing business. Not us. By using Optal VANs to pay suppliers, businesses have the opportunity to realise part of the payment fee as additional margin in the supplier chain, which can either be recognised as revenue, or reinvested into supplier strategy.

  • Let us take the risk

    Limit your fraud risk exposure with an alternative payments solution that removes the need to hold your suppliers’ financial data, and reduces onboarding data capture pressures.

  • Improve relationships

    Pay your suppliers on time and with greater accuracy, meeting SLAs and nurturing better supplier relationships.

  • Cut complexity

    Solve payment security issues head-on by cutting the cost and complexity of payments through more efficient, secure processes.

VANs allow organisations to pay their suppliers quickly, simply and securely, enabling automatic and immediate reconciliation”

How it works

Optal VANs work by offering third-party suppliers efficient payment through a Virtual Account Number that’s backed up by Mastercard. Your business can ensure accurate payment and easier invoice and data management.

Optal VANs are ideal for any business that manages a large number of payments every day across diverse supplier groups. VANs enable these businesses to streamline their operations, and gain added margin from payments.

View Success Stories

VANs optimise b2b payments by reducing the time, money and administrative burden associated with reconciliations”


For any questions you might have around Optal VANs, see our FAQs below or our glossary for frequently used terms.

A Virtual Account Number (VAN) is an automatically generated, single-use, 16-digit Mastercard number which can be used to make secure payments. This number is unique for each new payment transaction and together with other controls (defined value, expiry date, merchant restrictions), makes VANs the best and most secure way to pay or be paid.

Card payments are widely used and could increase your revenue. It’s worth considering accepting cards by signing up to an Acquirer.

If you accept card payments today, then you are familiar with the advantages of this payment mechanism. This is meant to make your life easier and is consistent with many of the other payments that you receive today.

Just input the details from the VAN into your POS or e-commerce Virtual Terminal to get paid.

Acceptance of VANs is one of the fastest and most secure ways of getting money to you.

You will receive the VAN (incorporates the 16-digit number, the amount, the expiry date, the CVV code) information from your Buyer. Additional information may be included in the VAN – such as invoice number, claim number etc. – to make your payment reconciliation and cash application processes simple.

It means you can get paid by your Buyer, in the same way as your other customers pay you.

Settlement of the payment is through your normal card settlement process.

However, instead of spending time banking a cheque or regularly checking your accounts for the status of bank-to-bank payments, you will simply input the details from the VAN into your POS terminal or e-commerce Virtual Terminal to get paid by Mastercard, just like you do today with other card payments.

Don’t worry, please contact your buyer who can easily arrange for a replacement.

Don’t worry, please contact your buyer.

It’s easy. Just enter the card number into your POS (and process as a Card Not Present)

No, the VAN is not transferable.

Yes, your money is guaranteed by using Mastercard.

If you accept card payments today, then you are familiar with the advantages of this payment mechanism.

• Speed – as soon as you process the VAN your money is on its way and is usually quicker than legacy payment methods

• Certainty – the VAN payment is guaranteed by Mastercard

• Ease – additional information may be provided with the payment to enable hassle-free reconciliation
For a detailed break down of cost, please contact your Acquirer and/or Payment Gateway.

Depending on the circumstances, there are various ways to receive a VAN: via e-mail, over the phone or with the Buyer entering the details directly into your website.

VANs are secure due to their restricted single-use and therefore not subject to PCI DSS.

Your Buyer would typically include additional information such as invoice number, claim reference or other supporting information to aid reconciliation and reduce administration.

• Speed – as soon as you process the VAN your money is on its way and is usually quicker than legacy payment methods

• Certainty – the VAN payment is guaranteed by Mastercard

• Ease – additional information may be provided with the payment to enable hassle-free reconciliation

Typically, on a POS click (ENTER)

..next choose Sale..

enter amount (ENTER)..

when POS says “Tap, Insert or Swipe”  enter the card number (ENTER) ….

You will be prompted by “Is cardholder present” chose NO….

Enter expiry…(ENTER)


Transaction will be sent for authorisation and if successful, the receipt will be printed


Virtual Account Number; also known as a Virtual Card or Virtual Card Number

Card Not Present (CNP) transactions are performed when a physical card is not present to make a payment

Mail Order Telephone Order transaction, a type of CNP transaction

A transaction performed online, often using a card for payment; a type of CNP transaction

The Financial Institution that you use to process the monies related to your card transactions. This may be the same as your Corporate/Merchant Bank

The Financial Institution licenced to issue a Credit or Debit card on behalf of a Card Scheme. Here, Optal is the Issuer

The Financial Service company that runs the associated Card Network. Examples include Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover. Here, Mastercard is the Card Scheme

Point of Sale (POS) Terminal used for taking a card payment. This is a physical device that can process both Card Present and CNP transactions

The application(s) you use to connect to the Acquiring bank to process card payments for physical POS, eCommerce or MOTO transactions. This might be provided by your Acquiring Bank but could be a separate company

An online portal for processing CNP card payments; the virtual equivalent of a POS Terminal. Typically provided by your Payment Gateway and/or Acquiring Bank

Your company

Credit Card Verification/Card Verification Value. The 3-digit security code (for Mastercard and VISA) for CNP transactions

Address Verification Service. Legacy security check performed by some Issuers that check the first 6 numerical digits of an address (typically house number and postcode digits)

Bacs (Bankers' Automated Clearing Services) is the scheme responsible for the clearing and settlement of UK automated payment methods - Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit. A bank-to-bank payment method

The Clearing House Automated Payment System is a British, same-day GBP bank-to-bank payment facility. An alternative to Bacs

Single Euro Payments Area; an initiative of the European Union to allow simplified bank transfers across the EU. Typically used for bank-to-bank payments outside of the UK

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication; provides a network that aids worldwide bank-to-bank payments in a secure and reliable manner

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard; an information security standard mandated by the Card Schemes covering all companies that handle card data

A leading, global provider of Financial Services. They are a trusted, global Card Scheme and Optal issue Mastercard VANs to their client base to enable secure, fast and easy payments

The company that is paying you for your goods and services

Talk to us to discover how Optal can add value to your organisation.

General Enquiries: +44 (0)2038 924 928
Invapay Technical Support: +44 (0)1992 500 589


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