14 Dec 2018

It’s an indisputable fact that an ever-growing majority of people, via their smartphones, are living lives of instant gratification. It’s also a fact that the number of business travellers worldwide is increasing, while their average age is decreasing.

Driven by their need for real-time convenience, more and more of these techno-savvy, younger business travellers demand the same multichannel payment experiences they’re accustomed to in their personal lives. For example, in one trip, travellers on arrival can pay cash for their visas, use a company credit card or virtual card for their accommodation, and pay taxis through a digital wallet powered by MasterPass.

Therefore, while cash is still an option, especially amongst the older generation, digitisation of cash and cards is on the rise; negating the need for business travellers to carry a physical wallet.

The advantages are immediate and real. Digital payments provide the traveller with a better, more seamless experience and alleviate security issues associated with carrying cash or cards.

Essentially, when it comes to payments in business travel, there are three main problems:

Although virtual cards are not yet as common in South Africa compared to the United States and Europe, corporate technologies and business travellers’ attitudes are evolving rapidly. For example, VCpay is a virtual MasterCard available in South Africa, while earlier this year, Standard Bank launched South Africa’s first virtual card ecosystem. Soon, South Africans will be able to use this technology on all local websites. In this dynamic, techno-driven environment, travellers are advised to, while still perhaps carrying cash and cards, acquaint themselves with mobile wallets and ask their companies about the future implementation of virtual cards. Reason is, the future arrives very quickly.