Monday,  June 5, 2023  12:00 am

American Express' new vPayment helps to simplify travel bookings

American Express' new vPayment helps to simplify travel bookings
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

Anyone who has ever booked travel on a large scale knows that payment and reconciliation of travel expenses can be a significant challenge.

Corporate travel planners want greater oversight and control over employee spend and a simpler way to reconcile expenses. Online travel agencies and other travel providers manage hundreds, or even thousands of transactions daily, and want to be able to easily tie booking details to supplier payments.

American Express vPayment was designed to help businesses easily pay and reconcile a wide range of corporate expenses, and is ideal for managing travel spend. It is a digital payment solution that assigns unique virtual account numbers for use against specific expenses, and is designed to solve key pain points by offering greater security, control, and administrative efficiency when it comes to making payments.

In an effort to help businesses improve and control cash flow management, while reducing errors and the risk of fraud, American Express vPayment gives organizations the ability to set the exact value a supplier is able to charge, as well as a specific date or date range that they want the transaction to occur. This leaves no room for additional transactions outside of its pre-authorized controls. During expense reconciliation, a transaction is simply matched to its correlating specific-use account number.

“At American Express, we want to be a strategic partner to Canadian businesses of all sizes, which is why we are constantly innovating to stay up to date with the latest industry trends so we can help solve key challenges and open up new opportunities for growth,” said Paul Roman, vice-president and general manager, Global Commercial Payments at American Express.

For corporate travel planners: more control, improved reconciliation

“In an increasingly connected world, business travel plays a critical role in attracting and retaining global clients,” Roman said. According to a new global study conducted by YouGov on behalf of American Express, the majority (84 per cent) of corporate employees surveyed believed that face-to-face meetings are essential in achieving their company objectives. However, managing and reconciling employee travel expenses can be a complicated and time-consuming process. With American Express vPayment, when a user generates the specific-use virtual account number they can also insert information in user-defined fields that will automatically be included in the reporting provided by American Express. This allows for a level of detail in reporting that can’t be matched with a traditional payment product.

American Express has partnered with Conferma, a corporate travel booking technology provider who integrates with preferred travel providers, travel management companies and global distribution systems (GDS) to bring robust travel data to customers. This partnership enables the generation of a specific-use account number within the booking platform to pay travel suppliers. The unique vPayment account number is tied to one travel reservation and is used to match the reservations information to the supplier payment and support reconciliation to cost centers, departments and projects.

“Conferma eliminates the headaches and compliance issues associated with numerous travel expenses with the use of virtual card payments. It brings greater efficiencies and tighter controls for businesses, directly effecting their bottom line” says Simon Barker, CEO at Conferma.

For travel intermediaries: efficiency and accuracy

American Express vPayment is also ideally suited for intermediary businesses – such as travel agents and booking websites – that are looking for more efficient ways to reconcile payments and eliminate discrepancies. These travel intermediaries can secure and pay for their customers’ travel reservations using unique virtual account numbers generated through American Express vPayment. The single-use account numbers are charged by the vendor on a specific date and for a specific amount, and the reservation is automatically reconciled with the associated travel charge on their monthly statement, referencing the customer’s reservation details.

Through American Express vPayment, booking travel and paying travel suppliers has never been easier. In an increasingly digital world, it’s more important than ever for businesses to adopt new technologies that improve day-to-day processes, so they can stay focused on business growth.