Mobile payment technology is slowly but steadily becoming part of managed business travel programmes. It is now being used by 12% of companies according to the latest AirPlus International Travel Management Survey. In 2011 only 3% of companies were doing so. An additional 5% of companies say they plan to introduce this solution into their corporate travel programme within the next year.
In the past corporate use of mobile payment solutions has faced several obstacles. These included the possibility that the corporate smartphone may have been lacking the technology necessary for mobile payments as well as issues such as an 'acceptance' hurdle, where not enough relevant merchants accepted this form of payment, and an 'emotional' hurdle of some travel managers not being confident that the tool will be helpful rather than a source of abuse.
The rise in usage indicates that some of the hurdles are diminishing as acceptance increases throughout the merchant community and users become more comfortable with the technology.
Although 62% of travel managers globally see no advantage in the use of mobile payment technology, the one in three that do cite the simplification of travel expense accounting, more details on travel expense reports, better policy compliance monitoring and easier card management for the travel manager.
The differences in usage are very marked geographically with 29% of all Indian travel managers and 25% of all Australian travel managers saying their travellers use the technology. In contrast only 14% of US and a mere 9% of UK companies are using mobile payment technology for corporate purposes.44% of Australian travel managers said that usage simplified travel expense accounting in comparison to 19% globally and 41% said such a solution gave them more detail on travel expense reports in relation to 13% globally.
Yael Klein, Managing Director of AirPlus UK, said "While the common consensus among both experts and users is that mobile payment technology is here to stay, how soon it will be implemented depends on two competing elements. On the one hand, adoption depends on both the travel manager and traveller's knowledge and acceptance of mobile payment technology while on the other side there are wholly exogenous factors such as which mobile payment systems will become the most widely used in the business travel market."