Bank transfers, traditional credit cards and the IATA Billing & Settlement Plan (BSP). These are well-trusted, staple methods for travel agencies to pay travel suppliers. However, more and more travel agencies are looking for increased protection and efficiency through a newer alternative: virtual cards. They not only reduce fraud risk, but improve sales reconciliation and allow corporates to better control travel spend. Many travel providers welcome them as they receive instant payment.
Nonetheless, with travel agencies making €332 billion worth of payments to providers each year, only 20% of agencies claim to use virtual cards and 61% are still unfamiliar with them . So why haven’t virtual cards yet hit centre stage? Could it be that current options leave travel agencies vulnerable to airline surcharges? Or that they lack the flexibility to manage cash effectively?
Amadeus can now help end these headaches, drive savings and increase the use of virtual cards. Having the choice to earn, save or borrow cash when paying for travel content is now a reality thanks to Amadeus’ portfolio of virtual cards – and this, ultimately, helps travel agencies maximise cash flow.
Amadeus B2B Wallet Prepaid, launched today, is a solution comprising two virtual cards linked to the same account. One card earns travel agencies a rebate on the amount spent, and the other helps avoid payment card surcharges applied by some travel providers. Additionally, travel agents can free up time as both options are fully integrated with the selling interface, so payments can be made while booking a trip.
B2B Wallet Prepaid complements Amadeus’ existing virtual credit card offer to offer travel agencies a full cash management solution.
“The travel industry has broken its reluctance to pay with virtual cards. However, challenges still remain to be overcome to fulfill its potential for growth. Amadeus brings an innovative approach which allows travel agencies to boost savings and reduce payment-related costs to a minimum. Virtual cards are widely accepted, so agencies can rest assured that they can use it for all their providers – from low-cost carriers, to car rental providers, hotels and more” comments Celia Pereiro, Head of Travel Payments at Amadeus.
Celia explains “B2B Wallet offers the choice and flexibility that travel agencies have been striving for in a payments solution – the positive response we have received from the market confirms this. We are currently rolling out a number of customers across Europe and are in discussions with hundreds of others.”
What are the benefits of virtual payment cards?
For travel agencies:
- Reduce risk of fraud
- Improve reconciliation of sales
- Allow corporate customers to better control travel spend
- Protection in case of supplier default
- Automated, quick and easy payments to suppliers
For travel providers:
- Receive money instantly
- Improve cash flow
- Reduce risk when working in unstable economies
The solution will be presented at Amadeus’ stand at the Business Travel Show in London at 12 noon on the 24th and 25th of February.