< PrevNext > 2021 Business Travel Buyer's Handbook Selecting a Corporate Payment System Virtual at last a reality for corporate payments? By Adam Perrotta / June 17, 2021 / Contact Reporter Share Download ChapterWhile much remains uncertain about what the post-pandemic corporate travel and expense landscape will look like, one thing that does appear to be clear is that contactless payments are here to stay. The emphasis on social distancing and hygiene driven by Covid-19 likely will linger for some time even after public life returns to normal. Perhaps even more significantly, the pandemic served as a catalyst to break the stalemate that long limited adoption of contactless by driving consumer demand for such payment methods, in turn compelling merchant acceptance—and setting in motion the cycle to fuel continued growth. Within the wider category of contactless payment methods, virtual cards are poised to have even more momentum in corporate travel. Such products’ intrinsic spending controls and security advantages serve two areas of high priority for travel managers re-establishing programs and budgets post pandemic. Meanwhile, recent surveys reveal travel suppliers such as airlines and hoteliers are showing increased interest in accepting virtual cards. As such providers face their own revenue challenges amid still-limited booking activity, virtual cards offer advantages including improved cash flow stemming from shorter settlement cycles and lower acceptance costs compared to traditional payment methods. Amid the expected surge in demand for virtual cards as travel returns, corporate travel service providers have been building out their capabilities in that area. TMCs are forming relationships with virtual card providers; as are more traditional corporate payment platforms. Expense management platforms are pulling in more virtual card streams as well. With the interest of all key parties in the ecosystem finally aligned as business travel spending volume ramps back up, it appears inevitable that virtual soon will become a reality across the corporate payments landscape.