This is an interesting overview around two separate technologies, and how they should eventually combine for the provision of good value to corporate travelers. One technology is virtual cards, or single use accounts, which has experienced rapid growth in the commercial card space during the past several years, primarily in the USA. Virtual cards can be used for travel expenses as well as procurement, with adoption expected to accelerate across Europe and Asia as well. These are card-scheme based accounts that are used for a single expense, which provides a measure of security for corporates in controlling unauthorized purchases. The other technology is mobile payments (wallets and proprietary apps) which have yet to gain wide adoption on the consumer side, and to date almost non-existent on the corporate travel side. When combined, virtual cards and mobile payments should make for a convenient and flexible option, including use for infrequent corporate travelers. Mercator has written about virtual accounts in several recent papers, including State of the Commercial Card Market, 2015. The article goes on to predict that adoption of mobile payments on corporate cards will be tepid in 2016, given the lack of pickup on the consumer side, since corporate usage generally lags consumer adoption. We tend to think that demand will begin to bubble up and rapid adoption may start next year.
Overview by Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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