Fraud risks worry travel buyers

WASHINGTON DC, 9 May 2019: Nearly 70% of travel buyers say their business travel clients have been affected by a payment-related data breach from an outside vendor such as an airline, hotel or retailer in the past year.

The findings are part of new research released, last week, by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in partnership with AirPlus International. The research also reveals that travel buyers  (business travel advisors) believe the risk of fraud is growing, with two-thirds (68%) saying travel programmes face a greater risk of fraud today than they did two to three years ago.

“This research highlights a significant contrast between what travel buyers are saying versus what buyers are actually doing,” said GBTA executive director and COO Michael McCormick. “However, it is encouraging to see an uptick in the usage of virtual cards, which can be an effective weapon against fraud.”

said, of AirPlus International president and CEO Diane Laschet added: “We have seen the need to educate around virtual card benefits not just to travel managers but to corporate finance and procurement departments as well…This method of payment has the strongest level of security controls available on a payment tool which is critical in the age of data breaches.”

Nearly half of all travel departments are involved with various payment security functions. Most departments are involved in responding to payment fraud by an external party, educating travellers about payment security and setting policies related to payment security. Surprisingly, involvement does not vary much by travel spend or travel programme reach (national vs global).

Most travel buyers (79%) view single-use virtual card numbers as effective at preventing fraud, and yet, only one-fifth of travel programs (20% report current usage of this payment method.

Similarly, travel buyers believe payment controls can prevent fraud and misuse, but many never or rarely use them. Payment controls include limiting the amount allotted in a single transaction, restricting payment within a certain country and setting daily or weekly spending limits. Nearly 40% never or rarely limit the amount allowed in a single transaction, despite having access to this technological solution.

The online survey questioned 144 US travel buyers between 16 to 28 January. Respondents qualified if they were a travel manager/buyer or procurement/sourcing professional, and have at least some involvement in “making decisions about payment solution providers and policies as they relate to travel.”

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organisation headquartered in the Washington DC with 9,000-plus members manage more than USD345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually.

AirPlus International provides corporate travel payment solutions which include virtual central bill accounts; single-use virtual cards; corporate cards and online management tools.