Why more business travelers are leaving cash behind

Cash is going out of business. Alternative payments are taking over the world with some already comfortable with touchless payments, invisible payments and mobile wallets as part of their everyday shopping habit.

Now, Barclaycard says this trend is spilling over to the business travel space. As the popularity of bleisure grows, consumer habits are infiltrating the corporate travel space.   

Barclaycard conducted a survey of 250 travel decision-makers to explore this shift in greater depth.

  •  29% of travel managers say that requests to pay via mobile wallets have increased over the last year.
  • 26% have seen a rise in the number of travelers who want to book their trips on a supplier mobile app.
  • 37% of travel buyers have seen an increase in the use of virtual cards over the past five years
  • 49% have noted an increase in the use of digital or mobile wallets but it should be noted that 49% have also witnessed an uplift in the use of physical corporate cards over the past five years.Though the study does not reveal what percentage of those corporate cards may be NFC contactless payment.
  • 66% of travel buyers anticipate that the use of mobile wallets will increase over the next five years
  • 58% expect to see an uplift in the use of ‘invisible payments’—entering card details once into an app for repeat purchasing—over the same period.
  • 30% of decision makers say that widespread acceptance of digital payments by suppliers will help drive their adoption.
  • 43% of travel decision-makers are more concerned about their level of control over business travel and entertainment expenses than they were last year.

Barclay also finds that ‘bleisure’ travel is becoming commonplace. More than nine in ten (94%) of decision makers say that their company allows employees to extend their business trips with a few days of leisure.

Maria Parpou, director of Barclaycard Commercial Payments, says:

“Today’s business travelers are blurring the lines between their personal and professional lives — not only by adding holiday days to business travel, but also in their expectations for the entire trip experience. As consumers become accustomed to different ways to purchase their leisure trips, including mobile and invisible payments, they expect their business travel bookings to be just as easy.

“As this trend evolves, corporations and suppliers alike need to look at how they make and take payments. The good news is that there are already solutions available that will help businesses meet their changing needs. By taking advantage of digital payment methods such as mobile wallets and virtual cards which are rich with data, payments can become the thread that ties each booking—no matter where or how it was made—into a complete trip. This means companies can respond to traveller demands while balancing their need for compliance and control.”

According Barclaycard, this shift has generated a few points of friction. One-third of travel decision-makers surveyed expressed frustration with employees not using corporate cards for payment, and using personal accounts instead, which makes monitoring that expenses stay within corporate policy more difficult.

Additionally, more corporate travelers are booking their trips on mobile apps which may not be in compliance with the company’s payment process. The study also finds that buyers’ payments are declined without a clear reason up to eleven times per month and suggests that greater flexibility in the way suppliers accept payments might resolve this. 

Related reading:

Tech innovation is why bleisure is happening

Bleisure travel trend goes north for US business travelers

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