How I travel for business in the U.S. with no cash or plastic

The business travel community is excited about the potential mobile payment has in store for travel programmes. Last summer, Conferma Pay was the first to push a virtual card into Apple Pay and Google Pay wallets. I have been using it ever since and would like to share my recent experiences.

Within UK and Asian markets, we take acceptance of Apple Pay and Google Pay for granted but for some time, the U.S. has lagged behind. That being said, this summer, I was in Chicago for the GBTA Convention and the adoption of mobile payments has increased significantly since this time last year. I was able to pay for all my usual business expenses using Apple pay and in-app payments.

You may have already seen Aurelie Krau using the Conferma Pay app to travel for business as part of the #MissionCashless campaign in Paris and Amsterdam, her experiences in Chicago are revealed in this vlog:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjD0TgV9Xrw&feature=youtu.be

A month ago, I was in New York for the CPI Global Summit and put the app to the test.

Chicago-Blog.PNG#asset:2560


I ventured out to Brooklyn, taking the ferry from Williamsburg to Brooklyn Bridge Park. This is managed separately to the Subway through an app. Tickets are purchased and added to the Apple Wallet but the payment is taken from a card loaded against a user's account. Currently, there's no Apple Pay/Google Pay integration but there's no reason why a Conferma Pay eCommerce virtual card couldn't be used.

I walked back along the bridge and took the 6 train home. To date, this is one of 3 lines that accept Tap and Go (NFC) payments. The alternative is to buy a MetroCard which is retained and topped up. The experience of a Tap and Go initiated subway ride is exactly the same as in London. However, there’s no concept of a daily/weekly cap here with each journey featuring a flat fee of $2.75. Therefore, the authorisation is immediate and is based on the amount charged for an individual journey as opposed to a pre-auth for a nominal amount with a subsequent authorisation based on the calculated total spend/cap.

In general, the level of acceptance in New York has increased significantly. Once the public transport process is trialed with the three lines, I’m confident the process we are used to in London will take precedence.

Both Chicago, New York and the U.S. in general is seeing increased adoption of Apple/Google Pay and innovations in the payments space including the Amazon Go Just Walk Out technology and other mobile wallets used by merchants. This is a true testament to the drive towards a cashless society.

Let's be honest, while Apple and Google Pay may not be accepted by 100% of merchants, the Conferma Pay app is supported by the types of merchants used by business travellers.

My favourite element of the Conferma Pay App is the simplification of the expense process. Instead of having to retain paper copies of my receipts or use another third-party expense management tool, I simply take a photo of my receipts, automatically creating my expense report. That's it, nothing to do when I return to the office! This renders the concept of a manual expense report redundant, dramatically reducing the admin and reconciliation burden on our Finance Team.  

All my hotel, air, ground transportation and importantly, incidental spend are linked back to my employee number and cost centre. The total cost of trip is calculated automatically.

The future of payments is here and the technology is out there for business travellers to use today.

I ventured out to Brooklyn, taking the ferry from Williamsburg to Brooklyn Bridge Park. This is managed separately to the Subway through an app. Tickets are purchased and added to the Apple Wallet but the payment is taken from a card loaded against a user's account. Currently, there's no Apple Pay/Google Pay integration but there's no reason why a Conferma Pay eCommerce virtual card couldn't be used.

I walked back along the bridge and took the 6 train home. To date, this is one of 3 lines that accept Tap and Go (NFC) payments. The alternative is to buy a MetroCard which is retained and topped up. The experience of a Tap and Go initiated subway ride is exactly the same as in London. However, there’s no concept of a daily/weekly cap here with each journey featuring a flat fee of $2.75. Therefore, the authorisation is immediate and is based on the amount charged for an individual journey as opposed to a pre-auth for a nominal amount with a subsequent authorisation based on the calculated total spend/cap.

In general, the level of acceptance in New York has increased significantly. Once the public transport process is trialed with the three lines, I’m confident the process we are used to in London will take precedence.

Both Chicago, New York and the U.S. in general is seeing increased adoption of Apple/Google Pay and innovations in the payments space including the Amazon Go Just Walk Out technology and other mobile wallets used by merchants. This is a true testament to the drive towards a cashless society.

Let's be honest, while Apple and Google Pay may not be accepted by 100% of merchants, the Conferma Pay app is supported by the types of merchants used by business travellers.

My favourite element of the Conferma Pay App is the simplification of the expense process. Instead of having to retain paper copies of my receipts or use another third-party expense management tool, I simply take a photo of my receipts, automatically creating my expense report. That's it, nothing to do when I return to the office! This renders the concept of a manual expense report redundant, dramatically reducing the admin and reconciliation burden on our Finance Team.  

All my hotel, air, ground transportation and importantly, incidental spend are linked back to my employee number and cost centre. The total cost of trip is calculated automatically.

The future of payments is here and the technology is out there for business travellers to use today.

Author: Joshua Normie, Banking Partnerships Lead - Americas at Conferma Pay