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March 4, 2020

Fintech Trends: Virtual Cards & the Future of Payments

Last week TripActions announced TripActions Liquid™ — the first-of-its-kind, end-to-end global corporate travel management and payments solution. Travel is a huge line item for businesses with robust travel programs, making travel payments top-of-mind for TripActions and our customers.

We explored the trends and technology impacting payments at TRAVERSE 19 in the panel “Technology Trends in Fintech: Virtual cards & Other Tech Impacting the Future of Payments & Settlements.” Dave Packer, Vice President Product Marketing at TripActions, led the conversation with leaders from Stripe, Visa, and TripActions around emerging trends in commercial payments, how payments are evolving, and potential solutions for the marketplace.

He spoke with Jonathan Friedman, Head of Product for TripActions Liquid; Tim Ural, Head of Commercial Platforms at Visa Business Solutions; and John Haddock, Head of Issuing at Stripe.

The panelists talked about the trend towards consumerization of B2B payments and the search for a more simplified payment system enabled by a virtual payments system. A primary point of discussion involved enabling employees to embrace payments technology and use it better.

“Business travel is a big operational expense. It is hard to control because it is not simple,” explained Jonathan.

“Companies invest so much in building offices, but travel is all about leaving that space. Employees book planes and hotels, but they need to pay for the cab, for coffee, and for meals three times a day. Payment goes hand in hand with travel and is native to that experience. Every single company is going to think of payments as integral to their travel policy.”

Not only is travel outside of the usual work environment, it also puts a stress on employees who are expected to pay for travel costs out-of-pocket, understand their company’s policy, and wait for reimbursement. According to the Skift State of Business Travel 2020 report, 31% of surveyed business travelers report that paying for business travel expenses on their personal credit cards was a recurring challenge they face while traveling, just behind flight delays (66%) and flight cancellations (32%).

Travel expenses is also a particularly complicated area in terms of payment technology as it crosses financial borders.

“We have a philosophy that’s very much about building solutions on a global level, but thinking locally in terms of how that technology will be used,” said Tim who discussed the differences in Europe, Asia, and North America. The evolutions of contactless payment and POS devices, for example, is more developed in Europe and Asia while starting to gain traction in the U.S.

“The promise of virtual cards is that they should work everywhere. Building an infrastructure that can be used across regions is the only way to build solutions that will scale,” said John.

The panelists discussed how innovation can not be optimized around bad apples. It is necessary to trust users and make the right thing. TripActions Liquid does just that, taking into account the needs of business travelers and travel managers who work across the world and need a payments solution that delivers.

We understand that real-time, unified travel spend reporting with travel bookings and payments should be centralized in a single platform to deliver a global view that empowers finance and travel leaders to unlock new insights to optimize spend.

TripActions Liquid gives finance and travel leaders real-time control over travel payments with the ability to set policy controls to increase compliance and enable travel payment approvals when employees are booking travel or while on a work-related trip. With automated reconciliation and reporting of travel payments across flights, hotels, trains, rental cars, and other travel purchases, finance and travel leaders gain time to focus on higher value, strategic initiatives.

We provide business travelers with an even better traveler experience with the knowledge that their company has their travel payments covered. “Payments is an emerging area. Evolution is happening right now. The finance and procurement people sitting here want innovative solutions. There are traditional ways of doing business and payments just like you have a traditional way of doing travel. They’re betting on a new way of thinking about the industry,” said Jonathan.

TripActions is leading the travel payments revolution with TripActions Liquid. To learn more about TripActions Liquid, download the latest TripActions ebook on travel payment headaches (and relieving them with TripActions Liquid).

We’re excited to continue the conversation around payments and corporate travel at the upcoming TRAVERSE 20 taking place in San Francisco in September. Register today.

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