After a years-long string of travel industry data breaches, Hotel News Now started keeping a list. The tally should be a wake-up call for corporate travel buyers, said Mario Kriebel, vice president of Commercial Payment Solutions for BCD Travel.
“These breaches show the vulnerabilities of using traditional credit cards for hotel payments,” Kriebel said. “Virtual credit cards, paired with Virtual Payment Automation, are a safer way to pay. They reduce the risk of exposing a company’s employees—and brand—to fraudsters, while supporting other important corporate program goals, like increasing in-program hotel bookings.”
At its core, Virtual Payment Automation by BCD Travel offers security and simplicity because it takes the traveler—and the fraudster—out of the hotel payment process. Electronically generated unique virtual card numbers can be restricted to particular suppliers, defined time periods and set amounts.
Even in the worst-case scenario, Virtual Payment Automation reduces internal and external fraud opportunities because of how virtual credit cards are fenced in and can be linked to automated travel and expense reporting. The restrictions on virtual cards mean they’re of little use to a thief. Plus, when travelers use company-issued virtual cards, they sidestep the risk of exposing personal credit card information to scammers.
Virtual card use is growing fast, although the process requires hotelier know-how and some flexibility from travelers. Usually, payment details are sent to hotels via secure email (replacing faxes). Hotel staff must be educated on how to handle the virtual cards. But the high security of the solution is a real benefit that’s fueling adoption.
The benefits of virtual cards and Virtual Payment Automation go beyond security, Kriebel said. The solution enables an end-to-end booking-to-expense stream that keeps travelers in your corporate program. A traveler must make an in-program hotel booking to receive a virtual credit card number, which ultimately pays for the room and approved ancillary expenses. A traveler who books an out-of-program hotel and then pays on a personal card will be easy to spot in the reimbursement process.
“Travel managers can use the data they receive through Virtual Payment Automation to engage travelers who’ve booked out of program and bring them back into the fold,” Kriebel said. “The virtual card number is a connective thread that links hotel expenses to individual employees, cost centers and even designated projects. Travel managers gain extraordinary visibility and transparency into travel spend.”
Ask your BCD Travel account manager about the security benefits of Virtual Payment Automation.