Citigroup Inc. has unveiled a commercial card that enables corporations to use single-use, or "virtual," accounts in multiple currencies to improve corporate control and security.

Although single-use commercial card accounts are not new, the technology is rapidly moving from a niche to a significant tool for business-to-business payments, Citi said Wednesday, claiming its Virtual Card Account is the payments industry's first such multicurrency offering.

The product combines MasterCard Inc.'s inControl virtual card platform with Citi's existing commercial card program to prevent corporate misuse by giving corporate administrators centralized control over the amount, location and timing of payments, and the ability to track such transaction data electronically.

Virtual Card Accounts also provide protection against fraud through a variety of channels, including with such card-not-present transactions as Internet, telephone or mail orders, in 48 countries, Citi said.

"Enabling our customers to use inControl across our global commercial cards platform is a particular advantage for multinational companies looking to simplify their policies and more precisely dictate how and where cards will be used, right down to the specific store or vendor," said Paul Simpson, Citi's global head of treasury and trade solutions.

If present trends continue, "within two to three years" virtual cards could represent about 30% of Citi's total commercial card business, he said.

MasterCard unveiled its inControl platform nearly two years ago, enabling companies to better control and monitor B-to-B card transactions.

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