A new report issued by the GBTA Foundation revealed that, as more people learn about virtual payment accounts and their benefits, their appeal grows;
The report, Virtual Account Payment Solutions, sponsored by US Bank, surveyed nearly 200 US travel buyers and suppliers on aspects of their payment solutions, the forms of payment they used for business travel and meetings expenses, and their awareness and usage of and interest in Central Travel Systems/Business Travel Accounts (CTS/BTA) and single-use virtual accounts.
Representatives from the GBTA Foundation and U.S. Bank will present a more detailed look at the survey findings in an educational session at the GBTA Convention 2014 in Los Angeles. The session, Market Adoption and Benefits of Virtual Payments for Business Travel, takes place at 9 a.m. Pacific Time Tuesday, July 29, in room 402 AB of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Both CTS/BTA and single-use accounts are "virtual," in that plastic cards are not used in the transaction. With CTS/BTA, the service supplier (such as a hotel) uses the same account number for all transactions involving a single corporate customer. With single-use accounts, a different account number is assigned for each individual transaction of that customer.
About half of those surveyed reported being somewhat familiar, not very familiar, or not familiar at all with single-use virtual payment transactions; however, when presented with the product's features, interest among non-users spiked.
The majority of non-users said they were "interested" or "very interested" in these benefits:
- Easier reconciliation of payments to booking, through automated matching and direct integration into back-office systems.
- Improved security, limiting exposure to fraud or abuse.
- Improved compliance by placing additional controls around travel policy.
- Centralized payment of hotel or air, allowing buying organizations to capture more transactions that fall outside of their card program.
- Centralized payment of hotel or air, allowing supplier clients to capture more transactions that fall outside of their card program.
"The study shows a major gap in awareness and understanding of CTS/BTA accounts and single-use virtual accounts," said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation vice president of research. "It demonstrates a gap in knowledge and a need for more education about the various payment options available to companies."Corporate Card Programs Dominate
The study found corporate-card programs to be the most popular forms of payment for business travel and meetings (76 percent), followed by employee's personal credit or debit cards (54 percent). Falling much lower on the list were CTS/BTA accounts (34 percent) and single-use virtual accounts (10 percent).
Travel buyers and suppliers identified controls and compliance (71 percent) and security (69 percent) as the most important elements when considering payment solutions. They were followed closely by data reconciliation and management capabilities (65 percent), data analysis and reporting capabilities (65 percent), and reducing costs (64 percent).
"The survey results point to the major opportunity available to organizations to leverage single-use account programs," said U.S. Bank Travel Product Manager Mary Miklethun. "The product's benefits align perfectly with the top concerns expressed by travel buyers, from better security to easier reconciliation to greater data capture. As a leader in developing unique solutions for the travel marketplace, we will be working closely with organizations in the year ahead to help them realize the benefits of these programs."
GBTA surveyed 185 travel buyers and suppliers in the United States from April-May. The full report is available exclusively to GBTA members and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
. About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world's premier business travel and meetings organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA's 7,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA and the GBTA Foundation deliver world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives business growth, visit gbta.org