Business travel payments: what works best for your business?
Choosing the right payment method for your business travel programme can feel complicated. There are tonnes of options, each with their own pros and cons. On top of that, the different choices may suit your business at different times. The payment option that fits in your early days may not work so well by the time your business has grown and evolved.
We’re here to help. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the different payment options available. Plus, we've broken down how they perform across several areas, including policy compliance and reconciliation, to help you decide which is best for your business.
Choosing the best payment method for you
How do you choose the payment method that best fits your company culture, while also enabling you to track travel spend? A managed corporate travel payment strategy can support your travel programme and your travellers, and create savings opportunities. The right management tool and payment setup will let you receive, share, process and reconcile your payments easily.
Let’s look at some of the most common business travel payment solutions used by businesses right now:
What works well for our customers
Your company may have unique payment requirements and deciding what payment solution would work best for you depends on several factors. For example, banking laws may vary from one country to another in the locations where you're based. Or you may have different technology options to help you reconcile and report your expenses, depending on the various functions in your organisation.
Different payment methods have various benefits and risks, and ultimately you need a payment solution that works for all your travellers, from your interns to your executives.
Below are some recommendations based on what works best for our customers according to their needs and objectives:
Are you looking for a central billing option? Turn to Egencia’s virtual payments. Virtual credit cards are easy to manage, reconcile and provide you with a central billing option. Also, since the virtual cards work on a single-use card number for each booking, they’re the most secure payment type.
- Most suppliers accept online prepayment
- Refunds go back to your company, but non-refundable credits for business trips stay in the employee’s name
- They can support your negotiated travel booking rates and hotel amenities
- Gives business travellers the on-site option of central payment
Please note: This requires establishing a new virtual card account with your bank or credit card supplier, and this option might not support all travel content or fees. Virtual payment option will be supported at first in North America, EMEA and Australia.
Are you looking to optimise travel spend? Central corporate cards (such as Lodge Cards with American Express) give you the most freedom.
- Most suppliers accept online prepayment
- Refunds go back to your company, but non-refundable credits stay in the employee’s name
- Majority of Egencia hotels accept online prepayment with central cards
- Doesn’t support your negotiated rates without bill-back or authorisation
- Payments are usually required on site unless a Direct Bill is established
Are you looking for more flexibility? Individual corporate cards are the most flexible payment type for making travel arrangements, but these cards might also cause challenges in managing travel spend.
- Since some hotels and car suppliers require payments on site, travellers find this option easier for covering rental costs and insurance
- Corporate travel managers can add cost management measures to your company’s travel programme using your policy and approval settings in Egencia
Please note: This option is supported globally, except in China and South Africa.
Are you looking for a reduction in upfront costs? Personal cards reduce your upfront costs and are helpful in places where physical cards are required. However, the use of personal cards may decrease employee satisfaction as the traveller would have to bear the initial payment burden and manage reimbursement processes.
- The high cashflow burden of airfare tickets won’t need to be carried by your company
- Since some hotels and rental car suppliers require payments on site, travellers would be empowered to self-serve
- Employees get to keep the credit card rewards, but they’d also carry the initial financial burden, and not all your employees will have personal credit cards
- Refunds are returned to the card, which may cause complexity in the expense management process, e.g. cancellations after reimbursement
- You’d have to set up adequate policy measures in your travel programme to promote corporate travel policy compliance
Please note: This option is supported globally, except in China and South Africa. There are many choices regarding travel payments, and ultimately you need to decide what's right for your business. From flexibility to lower upfront costs, whatever payment method you choose, make sure it reflects both what your business needs now and in the future.