Although cash and credit cards look like they’ll still be along for the ride, the digital wallet is gaining ground with business travelers. An overall 22 percent of travelers across the globe said they’d use digital wallets during their trips, according to a survey conducted by the Global Business Travel Association in conjunction with American Express.
Digital Wallet Explained
The digital wallet refers to a smartphone or other electronic device on which your credit card information is stored. Instead of whipping out cash or a physical credit or debit card to pay for your purchases, you simply use the device to access the info through Google Wallet or other digital payment service, and complete your transaction.
Digital Wallet - Biggest Fans
The survey examined responses from more than 3,800 corporate travelers who went on at least four corporate trips between March 2014 and April 2015. Travelers polled were from the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Germany, Australia and Japan. Travelers from Canada were the least keen about the digital wallet, while travelers from Brazil and Mexico were most gung-ho.
Business Travelers Likely to Use Digital Wallets
- 13 percent: Canada
- 16 percent: Germany
- 17 percent: US
- 18 percent: Australia
- 21 percent: Japan
- 21 percent: UK
- 36 percent: Brazil
- 36 percent: Mexico
Why U.S. is Low on Enthusiasm
Although certain brands, like Marriott International, have adopted digital wallets as a payment option, other travel providers are slower to implement high-tech changes. A different survey of 237 US traveler managers found 33 percent of them said it was tough to keep up with new technology.
Less than 40 percent of the traveler managers felt business and technology are aligned within their company, leaving tech-happy traveling employees relying solely on the company’s willingness to move forward technologically – or not.
Why Brazil and Mexico are Gung-Ho
On the flip side of the scale, Brazil and Mexico business travelers may be more likely to embrace digital wallets for their ease of use. GBTA spokesmen Joseph Bates explained that payment options are more limited in those countries than they are in the US, making digital wallets a welcome option for overcoming the payment option challenge.
The same embracing of technology was seen through the GBTA and AmEx survey in terms of Wi-Fi. A full 90 and 87 percent of Mexico and Brazil travelers said it was vital to their productivity during business travel, compared to 81 percent of US travelers.
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