New research shows 67 per cent of global organisations use corporate cards when it comes to expenses, with travel managers reporting an increase in the use of virtual cards and single-use accounts to manage spend for infrequent travellers.

A global study conducted by ACTE in association with Mastercard and the NAPCP – a professional association serving the commercial card and payments industry – also found 60 per cent of survey respondents are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ satisfied with their chosen corporate card and 63 per cent said it is their preferred payment method.

However, on a regional level, lodge cards are the most commonly used payment method in Europe at 84 per cent, followed by corporate cards at 68 per cent.

The report, Evolving Payments in Corporate Travel, shows that while adoption of virtual cards or single-use accounts for business travel is still low at 14 per cent of organisations surveyed, 28 per cent said they plan to adopt such payment methods in the future.

ACTE executive director Leigh Bochicchio commented: “For many organisations, the adage of ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ applies when it comes to payments. The corporate card has long been the gold standard for the industry, and its benefits should not be discounted. The beauty of a corporate card programme is it can be customised based on the needs of the organisation and its culture.”

Despite continued growth in the use of corporate cards, 48 per cent said employees use personal cards within their organisation. ACTE commented that this figure could be driven by two factors – the company not having a formal policy prohibiting the use of personal cards or travellers being motivated by the appeal of earning cash back rewards, frequent traveller points, or other benefits such as airport lounge access.

“When organisations’ employees use corporate T&E cards, they’re able to capture enriched data to reconcile expenses, prevent misuse and overspending and, ultimately, negotiate better rates with suppliers,” said Jeff Feuerstein, senior vice president of global commercial product management at Mastercard. “The cost of employees using their personal cards far outweighs the benefits, so it’s crucial to have clear corporate card usage requirements and the educate employees about why corporate card usage works in both the organisation’s and their favour.”

Heather Miller, community engagement manager at the NAPCP, added: “Virtual cards can be a great tool for organisation to add to their payment toolkit. Organisations have found success in using virtual cards as a solution for contract employees, interview candidates and non-frequent travellers. A virtual card offers all the benefits of the traditional card programme, such as data visibility and controls, while creating a better experience for the traveller who does not need to pay out-of-pocket for company expenses. The industry anticipates a growth in the adoption of virtual cards as more organisations start to realise the benefits.”

Bochicchio concluded: “Adopting a new payment method should be approached the same way as any change to a corporate travel programme. Identify what your organisation needs and what’s acceptable within your culture and work closely with your card provider to design and implement the right programme within your company. There is no one ‘right’ way to do things in this industry other than to be nimble and open to new options and technology.”

View the full report here

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