Confusion, cards and compliance

A new report from BusinessTravel iQ suggests that travel buyers are confused about the advantages and disadvantages of the payment solutions on the market.

The study, produced with Barclaycard, identified the three most popular payment methods in the corporate travel world as lodge cards, corporate cards and virtual cards.

When asked about the pros and cons of the various options, the 120 travel buyers who took part in the survey showed an inconsistency which, as the report noted, could be explained by “a lack of communication on the part of providers”.

Virtual cards – creating a single use credit card for a specific transaction – appear to be under-promoted. When asked, 47% of the sample had not been made aware by their travel management company of the benefits.

So the comms blockage here appears to be the fault of the TMC rather than the providers.

The study identified a disconnect around how buyers perceive virtual cards –  28% were wary of them because of concerns around policy compliance and fraud, while 50% of the same group identified the main reason for using them as being a useful tool for control and compliance.

Other disconnects emerged when looking at lodge cards. This is a card held by the TMC and used to pay for all bookings made on behalf of the business. Here 64% said one of the reasons for using lodge cards was that it helped with control and compliance while one in three thought that this was an area of weakness.

Lodge cards also need to do some PR – 40% of the sample hadn’t heard of them.

And to complete the set, corporate cards also brought about some contradictory responses in terms of how buyers perceived the cards’ role in control and compliance. While 69% gave this payment method the thumbs up, 54% had doubts.

Multiple responses to the questions were permitted.

In the corporate world, payment solutions need to work harder so that the myriad of back-office requirements can be satisfied in an efficient manner. But the report shows that there is still a lot of work to be done on communicating the benefits of the various solutions in the market, which in turn means that there is a lot of business to be won for providers with the clearest message.

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