Study: Two in Three Travel Programs Are Impacted by Data Breaches

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Nearly 70% of travel buyers say their business travelers have been affected by a payment-related data breach from an outside vendor such as an airline, hotel or retailer in the past year, according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in partnership with AirPlus International. The research also reveals that travel buyers believe the risk of fraud is growing, with two-thirds (68%) saying travel programs face a greater risk of fraud today than they did two to three years ago.

“This research highlights a significant contrast between what travel buyers are saying versus what buyers are actually doing,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director & COO. “However, it is encouraging to see an uptick in the usage of virtual cards, which can be an effective weapon against fraud.”

“We have seen the need to educate around virtual card benefits not just to travel managers but to corporate finance and procurement departments as well,” said Diane Laschet, president/CEO of AirPlus International Inc. “This method of payment has the strongest level of security controls available on a payment tool which is critical in the age of data breaches. When you couple that with the comprehensive data associated with each transaction it is easy to see why this is the future of business travel payment. The benefits really touch all areas of the company from the back office to the traveler.”

Nearly half of all travel departments are involved with various payment security functions. Most departments are involved in responding to payment fraud by an external party, educating travelers about payment security and setting policies related to payment security. Surprisingly, involvement does not vary much by travel spend or travel program reach (i.e., national vs. global).

Most travel buyers (79%) view single-use virtual card numbers as effective at preventing fraud, and yet, only one-fifth of travel programs (20%) report current usage of this payment method.

Similarly, travel buyers believe payment controls can prevent fraud and misuse, but many never or rarely use them. Payment controls include limiting the amount allotted in a single transaction, restricting payment within a certain country and setting daily or weekly spending limits. Nearly 40% never or rarely limit the amount allowed in a single transaction, despite having access to this technological solution.