Journey o Traveller OF THE
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worked fine but ut we nee need to straighten aighten out some of the processes on the accounts payable side,” says s Corpora Corporate Purchasing, asing, Global Category Manager anager Tra Travel & Mobility, obility, Rüdiger Bruss.
Otherwise, Continental’s ntal’s travell travellers worldwide dwide have an American Express press card a and, “most st travellers have a second d card, depending dep on whether the country they y are in fe feels it is necessary, largely because there here is discussion about acceptance of Amex – though I have never run into any problems”, Bruss explains. “In principal, anyone can get a card. The suggestion is that they should do at least three trips a year but that is not enforced.”
He continues: “We have walking plastic to cover the cost of hotels and rental cars, and have a lodge card for air spend and meetings. We use prepaid cards in some Asian countries and Eastern Europe, where the average pay is low compared to what you would spend in a week on a business trip in Japan, Germany or the US.
“Most likely those people would not be able to get a card, so we tend to issue pre-paid cards or those that have to be activated by an administrator, depending on what is offered in that country,” he says.
Making contact It has long been the case that corporate life follows consumer trends and contactless payments are finally following suit, a process largely hindered by the £30 threshold.
“Last year saw early adopters of contactless commercially and this year pretty much all issuers will be providing it,” says Mastercard’s Fellowes. “Fewer transactions come under the threshold but there is stuff we would like to mop up, like taxi rides.”
American Express has been introducing the function over the past year in Europe and Citi rolled it out in EMEA in June.
The United States is hardly trail-blazing with its recent entry into chip and pin technology but Citi in North America and Asia will go mobile first.
Similarly, BOAML has provided contactless to cardholders in EMEA and Australia and is launching nching mobile mo payments ments in N North America and Canada in September; ber; an and the rest of the world orld follow follows.
Digital discussions The T move towards digital is universal. Citi aims to be 100% digital by the end of the year – statements, apps, information sent to cardholders on mobile phones or by email; and it is embedding the corporate card into Google Pay.
“It is likely we’ll see an increased appetite for ewallets that house corporate cards alongside consumer cards. This will enable travellers to toggle between payment options,” says Barclaycard’s Maria Parpou.
The wider world is presenting other digital opportunities too. “Point of sale technology is rapidly moving on and izettle and Square are bringing people on to the card network,” says Steve Robson.
“In areas where there are infrastructural challenges, phones read QR codes and authorise payment. We have to be alive to what the future looks like in other territories – Asia is a leader in that and Africa has been leader in true mobile wallets with M-pesa.”
And American Express is “investing in digitisation, tokenisation and contactless technologies”, says Vice President and General Manager, Global Client Group International, Global Commercial Services, Fabienne Cauli. It has introduced Apple, Android, Samsung and Amex Pay in various European markets.
It has long been the case that corporate life follows consumer trends and contactless payments are finally following suit, a process largely hindered by the £30 threshold”
Have a care The voluminous data collected through corporate card transactions delivers in forensic detail exactly what a traveller is doing, when and where. “Enhanced data attached to each transaction continues to be expanded. For instance, PNR numbers and VAT breakdowns are increasingly required,” says Diners Club’s Adrian Steele.
For duty of care, data is paramount. “Clients are asking us for more than standard insight,” says Steve Robson. “Through richer data we hope to be able to give them advice on pinning together their cardholder behaviour.”
Card data demonstrates how far in advance a traveller books and how much extra they spent by not doing so; over 40,000 travellers, this mounts up. In addition, it can show not only what an employee planned to do but what he actually did – booked a hotel but didn’t check in. And it can track in real time that he landed at the destination airport, bought coffee and used his card on the metro system. “The challenge is how we present that and whom we might partner with in the industry to provide that data because that is not our specialism.”
Amex is also seeing growing demand for spend analysis tools. “Data alone is not enough and we have launched Compliance Insights, which helps clients identify how they can best prevent out of policy spend and ensures greater cost control,” says Fabienne Cauli.
Also new is American Express Ready Response, which gives real-time spend data. It alerts travel managers to an incident and showing recent transactions of employees in or near the affected location, helping to pinpoint their whereabouts.
Digitisation will move on card services apace and with virtual cards and mobile, the industry is responding to what is happening in the consumer world, hopefully to create a perfect storm.
Through richer ch data we w hope e to be able to g give clients li advice d on pinning in together g their t cardholder a d behaviour” h r