Apply Pay still has a long way to go to obtain the mainstream mobile payment status it hopes to. But the high visibility of Apple and its payment technology could mean that a new group of customers will push Apple Pay into the limelight.
According to reports, corporate travel managers are actively seeking out ways to incorporate Apple Pay into their services to facilitate travel payments and expense management. Just ask the Bank of America Merrill Lynch head of global card and comprehensive payables for global transaction services, Kevin Phalen.
Apple Pay “has really captured the imagination of our corporate clients,” he recently told Business Travel News. “We’ve had travel managers actively asking, ‘What do we need to do and how do we apply ourselves to this opportunity?’”
Apple claims that $2 of every $3 spent through contactless payments was done so through Apple Pay since Oct. 20, 2014, when the service first launched. It may have high visibility, but competitors are also being eyed by travel managers as a beneficial solution to their challenges. For example, American Express’s corporate card products are compatible with Google Wallet, though have yet to integrate into Softcard.
BoAML has also dabbled in the mobile wallet arena, and while the company admitted “limited functionality” of the product, which was piloted in 2013, experts say the technology could be improved and expanded to cater to corporate travel needs.
“Everyone loved it and it worked similar to the Starbucks app,” said Phalen. “If we could take that and make it acceptable at airlines, hotels, restaurants and small-dollar purchases, then it would become very interesting and meaningful to corporate managers on behalf of travelers.”
Travel and expense management solutions have seen significant innovation in only the last few months. Startups are rolling out new mobile apps to offer not only mobile payment solutions for corporate travelers, but also automated receipt collection and expense reporting tools to streamline a process plagued by outdated methods.