Virtual Payables

The Virtual Payables Program is Princeton’s preferred payment method for suppliers providing goods and services to University. Virtual Payables is an electronic supplier payment solution offered in conjunction with Bank of America that is fast, secure, and reliable, significantly reducing the time it takes to receive payment.

How it Works 

From the supplier’s perspective, this works much like accepting a credit card in person, the key distinction being that they don’t have an actual credit card in hand.

  • Assign: Suppliers electing to be paid via Virtual Payables receive a unique credit card number that initially has no value. 

  • Load Funds: When the University approves an invoice for payment, the amount of the invoice is loaded onto the credit card number provided. 

  • Notify: The supplier then is notified via email or fax that the invoice funds are available and simply “swipes” the credit card number to receive payment.

Supplier Benefits

Among the key benefits for suppliers is speed of payment. Princeton’s standard payment terms are 45 and 30 days for check and ACH payments, respectively. This means that the supplier will receive their payment 30-45 days after receipt and approval of an invoice in Accounts Payable. With the Virtual Payables Program, the supplier will typically receive payment within 2-3 days of our receipt of the invoice. 

The short turnaround time offers suppliers quicker access to their monies, improved cash flow, and a reduction in paperwork.

University Benefits

  • More Efficient, Affordable, and Reliable than a Check: Paying by check is a highly inefficient process for all involved. Checks are more expensive to produce, are often lost or uncashed, and must then be reissued. In addition, it may take 50+ days from the date a supplier submits an invoice before a check has cleared and they have access to the funds.

  • Eliminates the Need to Store Sensitive Information Required for Automatic Clearing House (ACH): Virtual Payables do not require the supplier’s bank account information. With a heightened focus on protecting sensitive information, suppliers can rest assured there is one less place where they are asked to provide sensitive information.


Neither Bank of America nor Princeton University assess fees in this program, and each invoice is paid in full. However, because a Virtual Payable is a credit card transaction, any fees assessed by the supplier’s credit card processor will apply.

Learn More

To learn more about Virtual Payables, including the many benefits of accepting payments by credit card, and answers to frequently asked questions, visit the Bank of America website.