Travel & expense management: The benefits of corporate mobile payment solutions
29th May 2014
Mobile payments are slowly but steadily conquering the area of business travel and expense management. According to the latest AirPlus International travel management survey, mobile payment technology is now being used by 12% of companies against 3% in 2011 and has become an attractive opportunity for improving travel expense management.
22% of travel managers stated their travellers are already using a mobile payment mechanism, while 61% think their company will be using mobile payment within the next 5 years. Although many travel managers value its ability to provide a more efficient, convenient way to access travel information and pay for travel products on the move, mobile payment remains a widely untapped area for many companies today. So, how exactly does mobile payment affect business travel management? How can corporate travellers benefit from it? How can mobile payment help meet the demands from corporate clients for better data providing them with the visibility and business travel insight they need to better control corporate travel spend?
We’ve summarised for you, how corporate travellers and companies can benefit from integrating mobile payment with the expense management system.
BENEFITS FOR CORPORATE TRAVELLERS
On-the spot compliance, as the tool can indicate at point-of sale whether the intended mobile payment is compliant with the corporate travel policy. This compliance checking facility gives travellers the confidence of knowing whether they are within policy or not. It also means travellers save time as they do not have performed extra tasks to check a policy rule.
More convenience during the trip, as easier expense reporting gives travellers complete flexibility as to when they manage their corporate travel expenses, for instance in a taxi right after checking out of the hotel. As a result, travellers can save time as they have less work to complete their expense report after their business trip. For example, whereas date on a payment made with a plastic corporate card in average takes 24 to 48 hours to flow into an automated expense report. Transactions made via mobile payment service can show up in an expense report in real-time. Corporate travel managers can manage expenses directly after employees have paid for them.
Smarter payment choices: Using a mobile wallet provides the corporate traveller with more flexibility to make smarter choices, when it comes to choose the most appropriate form of payment for each business travel transaction, such as: Replacing cash and going cashless, which allows for more accurate data capture, lowers the risks for travellers carrying bundles of cash, lowers foreign exchange conversion cost, avoid unused cash. For example, at point of sales, the smartphone can indicate to the traveller, if they are close to their credit limit, so that they can instantly switch to an alternative payment method or send an electronic request to their employer to increase the credit limit. In this way the travellers can ensure adequate funds. By equipping travellers with virtual corporate cards in different currencies helps them to reduce exchange and conversion fees. Mobile wallet may also be a useful tool, when travellers need to use different payment methods to pay different parts of the bill.
BENEFITS FOR TRAVEL MANAGERS AND COMPANIES
Improved travel policy compliance
Mobile payment services such as AIDA from AirPlus enable businesses to set controls on their virtual card numbers. For example, travel managers and procurement can set limitations and may be able to restrict which merchant they will allow the corporate traveller to pay with his/her card. Automated expense management reporting and the capability of mobile payment services indicate whether a purchase is compliant with the company’s travel policy or not. As a result, of this less intrusive approach, travellers tend to show more willingness to comply.
Improved data quality in the expense management system
The capability of mobile payment solutions to capture data in real-time allows budget managers to obtain a current view of how much is being spent on corporate travel and whether it is within budget. As expense reporting from travellers is more accurate (e.g. correct cost-center allocation) as the purchase is fresher in their mind, travel managers benefit from faster management of expense reports. Direct capture of more payment methods in the expense management system gives travel and procurement managers improved visibility of a larger proportion of corporate travel spend. However, the top benefits of mobile payment for travel manager is improved traveller tracking, helping companies to fulfil their duty of care. For example, they can faster track corporate travellers by their payment history using the expense management system.
Having mobile payment linked to the expense management system can be great way for travel procurement managers to improve quality of payment data and reconciliation, drive process efficiencies and enjoy greater control over their travel programme. At the same time, travellers can benefit from more comfort and make smarter purchasing decision while travelling. Mobile payment solutions like “Mobile AIDA” have already proven its value for meeting planners when they are on the move. However, some perception issues and concerns about data security remain amongst many buyers as mobile payment still is an untapped area for many companies, today.
Helping companies manage corporate payment & travel expense management smarter
Flightline Travel Management Ltd is a leading independent business travel agent in the UK, helping corporates to streamline business travel and expense management processes, improve travel policy compliance and improve traveller satisfaction. To learn more contact Flightline Travel on 0844 332 0174 and see how our business travel services can make a difference to the efficiency of your business travel programme and expense management. Alternatively, enquire online.