Have we reached the tipping point for virtual cards?

November 3, 2016

When it comes to B2B payments in the travel industry, traditional payment channels have been challenged by innovative alternative payment methods. But how much impact have they had? New research by Phocuswright on payments in the European travel industry shows that things are changing - and when it comes to Virtual Cards or Virtual Account Numbers (VANs) the momentum for change is faster than ever.


The last time Phocuswright carried out a payments study was in 2013. Three years is a long time in technology, so in partnership with Phocuswright we wanted to find out how much innovative technologies like virtual card had disrupted the industry. We weren’t disappointed. The research outlined a definite shift away from traditional payment methods by the travel industry, with Virtual Card the biggest beneficiary. Support for VANs has more than doubled, from 26% in 2013 to 55% in 2016 representing a huge step-change in adoption. In fact, the research showed support for VANs amongst larger agencies has already overtaken traditional methods, with 71% supporting VANs, compared with EFT (62%), cash (52%) and cheque (42%). And when it comes to paying hotels and accommodation, travel companies of all sizes cited VANs as the most popular method of payment (24%), second only to traditional credit cards. Is this the sign of things to come?


Three years ago, the Phocuswright report deemed VANs and virtual card technologies outside of the ‘conventional’. Today VANs have firmly established themselves as part of the new normal for agencies and suppliers alike. More and more travel companies are realising the cost and efficiency benefits alternative methods can bring, all by simply changing the way you pay. I believe in the 2019 study we will see VANs overtake EFT and cheque overall when it comes to preferred payment methods, with cheques driven close to extinction. As for the rest of the world, there’s still work to do in terms of educating and supporting the global industry to realise the full benefits of alternative payment options. But change will come. VANs have reached their tipping point, and B2B travel payments are one step closer to truly frictionless payments.

More Blog Posts

31 July 2018

European summer 2018: experience trends are changing travel industry traditions

European summertime is a notoriously busy period for the travel industry, as travellers all over the continent jump at the chance to book flights to seek out sunnier destinations. In the UK, some airports have claimed that 2018 will be the “busiest summer ever”, expecting millions to pass through their doors between July and September.

Read more

25 June 2018

Nine milestones since 2009

Yesterday marked nine years since we started the eNett journey back in 2009. From day one, our aim has always been to shake up the industry by helping travel companies take the cost and complexity out of payments. And the proof is in the pudding, as the uptake for Virtual Account Number (VAN) technology has taken eNett from strength to strength.

Read more

29 May 2018

Our Vision for GDPR

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation is coming into effect on 25 May 2018. eNett believes personal data, privacy and security are of the utmost importance for all. In line with this, we are in the process of making changes globally.

Read more

17 May 2018

How OTAs are navigating the changing landscape of the travel industry

Nowadays, travellers have many options available to them to help choose destinations, compare prices and make reservations independently and easily. Competition in the travel industry is high, and margins are low. It’s clear that online travel agencies (OTAs) can’t do business in the way they used to.

Read more

11 April 2018

How fraudsters are targeting OTAs

Fake hotels are fast becoming a massive issue for OTAs, leaving them out of pocket. And they’re becoming ever more sophisticated and believable too. What can OTAs do to protect themselves from this growing threat?

Read more

22 February 2018

Costing US$21B a year - it pays to know about fraud in travel payments

In 2017 the impact of fraud is estimated to have cost travel intermediaries US$21B. By 2020 the impact of fraud is expected to cost US$25B, driven by both a migration from offline to online, and an expected uptick in the rate of fraud. Understanding fraud and its true impact and cost to travel businesses is the first step to combating it.

Read more

07 February 2018

Future-proofing your business for 2018

Anthony Hynes gives his top four considerations travel companies should be thinking about to get ahead in 2018.

Read more

12 December 2017

A Year in Review for Travel

2017 is shaping up to be a record-breaking year for the travel industry. eNett MD and CEO, Anthony Hynes, recaps of some of the highs and lows over the past year, and ways travel companies can continue the growth trajectory in 2018

Read more

16 November 2017

Tackling Fraud in the Travel Industry

As part of International Fraud Awareness Week, eNett MD and CEO, Anthony Hynes gives his view on how travel agencies can tackle increasing levels of fraud in the travel industry.

Read more

30 October 2017

Key to tapping Asian travel market is payments

As part of International Fraud Awareness Week, eNett MD and CEO, Anthony Hynes gives his view on how travel agencies can tackle increasing levels of fraud in the travel industry.

Read more

27 September 2017

We’re backing World Tourism Day’s drive for sustainable tourism

Travel and tourism grow every year. Many underprivileged communities across the globe are being displaced - especially those in high-growth travel destinations. 'Repay the eNett Way' is our hands-on approach to make a difference in these communities.

Read more

29 August 2017

Great employee experience = great customer experience

A unique value proposition is one thing, the second step you take when launching a business is just as important.

Read more

01 August 2017

How Virtual Account Numbers Simplify B2B Travel Payments

Travel agencies are wasting time and money - it doesn't need to be this way. There is a solution today, it's faster, easier and safer than many other traditional methods too!

Read more

22 June 2017

Eight Entrepreneurial Essentials

From a tiny no-frills office near Heathrow airport, to offices in Asia, Australia, Europe and America just eight years later - what a journey!

Read more