Weighing business travel payment options

When purchasing business travel, companies have many options for payment solutions. How do you know which one is right for your organization?

Let CTM help guide you through your options and choose a payment solution that streamlines your internal processes, speeds reconciliation, and provides the visibility needed to ensure your travel budget is accounted for.

Here are the most common payment solutions trending in and out of the travel industry.

Individual Card Solutions

Many companies choose individual business credit cards for each traveler. This offers each traveler the autonomy to purchase and expense their travel purchases within your corporate policy. Individual cards are a great solution to empower travelers to self-serve hotel and car payments, for example, as their name appears on the card and the card can be used for incidental purchases. This can be time consuming to reconcile all travel reservations from individual accounts.

Central Card Solutions

Central card solutions create an additional layer of consistency by purchasing most travel expenses through a central company credit card account, or other third-party central billing service, such as AirPlus. These solutions can speed reconciliation and reduce fraud risk as the payment information is held by your travel management company (TMC) partner and not visible to individual staff. This also eases reconciliation by pushing most travel transactions through a central account. Individual cards can supplement this solution for additional purchases, hotel stays, car rentals, dining purchases, and more.

Virtual Payment Solutions

Virtual payment solutions differ from traditional central or individual card solutions by creating an end-to-end solution between your bank institution, your TMC partner, and the point of sale for purchase (GDS, online booking tool, etc.). These systems use your existing banking accounts to generate a virtual or one-time-use card numbers for each reservation, reducing fraud risk, increasing traveler level visibility, and providing secure solutions for guest or recruitment travel. According to a recent GBTA study, roughly 11% of travel managers have implemented single-use virtual cards, with another 23% indicating that they are likely to adopt them. Read how CTM helped one customer leverage virtual payment solution to save over $15,000 annually.

Mobile Wallet Solutions

Mobile wallets, including consumer-facing solutions like ApplePay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay, allow travelers to use their mobile phone to make a payment without presenting a card. Mobile commerce solutions are slowly gaining ground in the travel space, with roughly 20% of travel managers indicating that their corporate card program is mobile wallet compatible. These solutions can be great time savers for purchasing incidentals and meals while traveling, but be sure your technology policy dictates the responsibilities of using a corporate card in a digital environment.

Invoicing Solutions

While invoicing is falling out of favor in North America where merchant fees are absorbed, some companies may require the ability to invoice travel reservations and pay against a monthly statement. Whether it is operational need, such as crew rotations, or for group travel, meetings, or events, leverage your TMC partner as needed for a tailored solution. Most TMC partners can establish invoicing terms, but know that you will be leaving valuable credit card rewards on the table, and may incur interest charges, require a deposit account, and/or reduce time to expense reconciliation.

Let CTM help you select the payment solution that works best for you and your travel program.