Mobile Payments among Travel Buyers and Suppliers Still in Early Adoption Phase

Most travel buyers and suppliers are familiar with both mobile wallet and contactless payment solutions, however, 49 percent of travel buyers are still unclear on the benefits, according to research released today by GBTA, in partnership with U.S. Bank. The results signal more work needs to be done to grow adoption of these payment methods in the business travel community.

The research shows opportunity as many organizations within the business travel industry are receptive to new technology adoption, but as with any emerging product, there will be some hurdles before it is fully embraced.

The study reveals chip cards are widely offered by issuers (82 percent) and organizations (87 percent). Mobile payments are still relatively new to both parties. Only 18 percent of organizations currently offer mobile wallets as a payment type to their employees, while even fewer (11 percent) offer contactless cards as an option. Mobile wallets, such as ApplePay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay, enable users to make payments by holding a mobile device at a terminal. Contactless cards are physical cards with features allowing them to be tapped at a terminal, replacing the need for swiping or inserting cards at point of sale systems.

Challenges and Opportunities

For organizations that have already adopted mobile payments, the challenges they encounter are cardholder education (47 percent), incorporating organizational travel and expense policies (33 percent), and complications with the card setup process (27 percent).

Those who have adopted mobile and contactless technology found benefits including increased employee satisfaction, a reduction in lost or stolen cards and better adherence to travel policy.

The Future of Mobile Payments

It will be important to watch consumer trends and adoption of mobile wallets for personal purchases, as use of fast, easy and convenient consumer-grade technology and innovations tends to eventually spill over to growing demand for the same experience on the business side.

“GBTA’s research results confirm what we have long believed, which is there is great potential for added convenience and security by using mobile payments. In fact, the impact of these features is why U.S. Bank was the first financial institution to offer a mobile payment solution for Visa and Mastercard corporate card transactions,” said Jennifer Swenson, vice president of Corporate Payment Systems at U.S. Bank. “These benefits, combined with growing consumer use of mobile payments, are positive indicators for greater mobile payment adoption among business travelers in the future.”

More Information

Download an infographic here with key highlights from the research. An Executive Summary for Business Traveler Payment Solutions: Perceptions, Pain Points, and Payoffs for Adoption is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here.


GBTA conducted an online survey of 311 travel buyers and suppliers based in North America. Fielding took place from February 21 to March 2, 2018.

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