by Jim Pratt
Earlier this month, WEX partnered with Grasp Technologies to provide virtual cards for the innovative GraspPAY—a unique B2B payments solution for travel management companies looking to remove cumbersome steps in the booking process.
This partnership, the announcement you can read here, made waves in the travel community, and recently, WEX’s very own Jim Pratt, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Virtual Payments, got a chance to sit down with PYMNTS.com, discussing the partnership and the importance of virtual payments in travel.
For PYMNTS.com, this interview is a follow up to their interview with Grasp Technology’s Vice President Dave Lukas, which highlighted the importance and growth of virtual cards in travel, as well as the agreement between WEX and Grasp.
Simplifying the Payments Process
Speaking with PYMNTS.com, Mr. Pratt highlighted why companies are looking to ease the payment process, and the efficiencies, security, and convenience that virtual cards offer.
“WEX’s mission is to simplify complex payment environments. We built our success […] creating solutions to meet our customers’ unique needs, and helping them increase payment efficiency, security and convenience, as well as save money on fuel costs,” Pratt said. “For over 15 years, WEX virtual cards have helped transform the travel industry in a similar way.”
Why V-Cards Work for both Buyers and Suppliers in Travel
Pratt discussed the future of growth in travel, and how creating a virtual card strategy needed a different plan than its original line of business.
“The major trend we see is the desire to make payments faster, more efficiently, convenient, and secure for both the buyer and the seller,” the executive said. “This is not only true when buying a coffee, but also for a global payment to a hotel supplier in Asia.”
Convenience is one benefit, followed by the increased control and security that a single-use card brings to buyers, and speed of payments it brings to buyers.
Why the Global Travel Marketplace Needs V-Cards
With international business travel on the rise, virtual cards not only provide the reliability, speed, and security mentioned above, they offer a much lower cost:
“Any travel company will at some point have a need to book travel in another part of the world,” Pratt explained. “Our virtual cards can be used to pay in most major currencies across the globe, which allows the travel supplier to receive local currency or currency of their choice.”
In terms of expansion, Pratt demonstrates just how beneficial virtual cards are in global payments, no matter the industry:
“With the backdrop of growing global concerns around payment security we are seeing a rise in the interest and use of virtual cards in a variety of other industries,” the executive said. “Plastic cards don’t have the attributes to enable them to compete with virtual cards in this manner; it is a huge differentiator.”
A ‘Particularly Exciting’ Time to be in the Payments Space
WEX is excited to see the world of payments grow and morph, and with corporations looking for efficiency in any way possible, the virtual card will continue to recognize adoption from consumers. Mobile payments, global ecommerce, and other high-technology spending tools are emerging, and the ongoing energy and focus in payments technology makes it “a particularly exciting time to be in the payments space.”