Knowledge of mobile payments lacking in industry, finds study

Only 5% of companies make use of mobile payments for business travel.

Yet almost half expect mobile payment to make travel easier, according to a study by AirPlus International and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives.

Only 18% of respondents expect mobile payments to make work easier for travel managers.

More than half (53%) of respondents rated their knowledge of the area as being at beginner level.

The findings come from a poll of 73 ACTE members who were asked how they handle mobile payment solutions.

AirPlus executive vice president of global sales Volker Huber said: “Our survey showed there are still big knowledge deficits in the industry as regards mobile payment solutions.

“But this topic is becoming extremely important for business travel and will completely transform the way we pay.”

AirPlus has developed a prototype mobile payment solution called AirPlus MobilePayment, which is expected to be launched in March 2013.

“Our prototype shows how mobile payment solutions can help to optimise travel management processes,” Huber said. “All transactions can be captured in a company account in real time. The travel manager receives all relevant data in one package.”

Mobile payment works without credit cards or cash. Instead, travellers only have to hold their smartphone against a contact surface to book a ticket.

The technology that enables such transactions is called “Near Field Communication” (NFC). Experts estimate there will be $50 billion in mobile NFC-enabled payments by 2014, according to AirPlus.

“This will remove a crucial obstacle to mobile payment,” Huber said. “As soon as the necessary technology is widely available, both business travellers and travel managers will benefit from the advantages of mobile payment.”

The advantages lie mainly in time savings for travellers as they pay faster at cash desks or ticket machines and take less time accounting for their expenditure.

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