Traditional cards are dead in business travel, here’s why

Conferma Pay made a bet in 2008 that business travel payments would become virtual, with single use Virtual Account Numbers (also known as VANs, or virtual cards) allowing travel buyers to reduce fraud by specifying the exact amount each virtual payment is valid for, and by moving payments from the reconciliation heavy one-to-many architecture you see with plastic cards, to a much more automated one-to-one set-up. While we’ve seen a steady compounding of growth in hospitality, it’s been a long and slow road for air purchases.

Head in to 2020, however, and several trends are converging that will usher in the tipping point, as barriers fall and the incentives for the industry to embrace virtual payments rise. Let me take each in turn.