The amount of time spent creating expense reports is the biggest pain point in the expense process, according to a BCD Travel survey of 1,349 business travelers worldwide. The survey about payment and expense in business travel looked at payment methods travelers use, pain points they experience, and tools at their disposal to make their lives easier.

When it comes to payment methods, 79% of travelers use a corporate credit card. Other payment methods include personal cards (26%), personal cash (12%) and direct company payments to travel suppliers through bank transfers or lodge cards (16%). Only 1% use a virtual card, even though 26% are familiar with this method. The survey also found that 1 in 6 business travelers have fallen victim to credit card fraud on a business trip, despite the measures taken.

Ajay Singh, vice president, digital payment and expense products, said companies looking for ways to simplify payment for their travelers should explore the benefits of payment automation enabled by virtual credit cards. Virtual payment automation, he said, makes it easier to centrally pay for hotel or car bookings. It automatically generates a single-use virtual card number for each transaction and matches all charges to a specific booking. This not only makes the payment process easier for travelers, said Singh, it also greatly reduces the risk of fraud.

In terms of payment, staying within the reimbursement policy (29%) is the biggest pain point, followed by the need to pay for travel expenses out of their own pocket (20%) and the necessity to have cash in the local currency (20%).

Travelers encounter far more challenges when it comes to expenses. More than half the respondents report the time spent creating expense reports (63%) as the biggest pain point. Other key obstacles are collecting paper receipts (54%), collecting receipts in different formats (52%), keeping receipts after the trip is over (51%) and expensing complex categories, such as hotel stays with meals and other incidentals paid separately (50%).

Image: BCD Travel