Understanding the World of Virtual Payments

CB-0815By Colleen Black, Partner

Virtual payment remains a hot topic among corporate travel buyers. The results of our survey show that while only  22% of the responding companies currently use virtual cards, 40% are planning to deploy in the coming year.

This is consistent with a BTN article from June 2014 that reports “double digit growth” and high momentum in virtual card usage. It appears, according to our survey, that usage is widening in the corporate space. Of our responders, 100% currently use virtual cards for hotels, and 67% use them for group events. Half use them for relocation and interviewees, and 33% for contractors.

What is Virtual Payment?
virtual-card-survey-infographicVirtual payment  in the travel space is simply a unique, single use credit card number that is transmitted to the supplier and generally integrated with the travel management company. Often it is also mobile friendly, which means it can be sent directly to the user’s mobile device. With this in mind, however, fax machines are the only PCI compliant form of transmission, which presents challenges in the acceptance, security, and reliability of the card information.

Why are virtual cards growing in corporate travel? 
The main reason is fraud. The technology behind virtual payment is more secure than traditional corporate cards. It allows for rich data and ease of reconciling payments, replacing direct bill. It also provides better control for infrequent travelers and non-employees of the company.

What does the future hold? 
Mobile payments are next on the horizon. How do they fit in a corporate travel program?  What is the real timeline for use? What are the advantages and disadvantages? As we continue to look towards the future, these topics are certainly rich and exciting ones to discuss and explore.


This article originally appeared in the September 2015 edition of GoldSpring Insights, the official email newsletter of GoldSpring Consulting. To sign up for our mailing list, please click here.

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