With today’s emergence of online solutions you would think that the dependency on a fax machine would be a thing of the distant past. However, travel managers still know this medium of communication all too well.

Due to hotel policies, travel managers find that faxing is the only way that a credit card authorization can be sent securely. The reason for this ‘old-school’ method of communication is due to credit card compliance policies. A standard fax machine is connected through a traditional telephone line, making the interception of a fax between sending and receiving nearly impossible—and Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant.

Although compliant, sending credit card authorizations via fax is one of the most time consuming processes for travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel managers.

The solution

Virtual cards eliminate the need for an agent to manually fax card authorizations to hotels. Virtual cards usage provides additional benefits such as fraud reduction, a securer booking process within an agent’s workflow, and an automated process of sending a credit card authorization.

In addition to virtual cards, Hotel Technology Next Generation Workgroup (HTNG) has developed a systematic way to communicate different types of payments such as virtual cards to the hotels. These workgroup specifications communicate payment instructions and terms and conditions of a virtual card via the Central Reservation System (CRS) to optimize the TMCs and travel manager’s workflow.

Furthermore, there is no need to arrange a credit facility or send credit card numbers via fax to suppliers. This means less risk for data entry errors, and instant reconciliation—a travel managers paradise.

In the not so distant future some hotel chains across the globe will implement payment card tokenization. With tokenization, credit card data is encrypted in the Central Reservation System (CRS) and sent to the hotel’s payment processor when a card is charged or pre-authorized. The card number is then decrypted and the transaction is processed, making the card data less vulnerable to fraud or misuse.

The bottom line

Virtual payments eliminates the manual process of faxing payment information, cuts costs, decreases compliance risk and makes for a better traveler experience.

Managers around the world are finding that virtual cards are a solution to the time- consuming and vulnerable methods used in the past.

Learn more on how virtual cards can improve your travel program or contact us for more information.