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Virtual Account Numbers Protect Online Travel Agents $530 Billion Sales


The first half of 2017 saw many cyber security and ransomware attacks on large companies such as FedEx and car manufactures as well as public services like the NHS, banks and universities. The way in which we protect data and information is in high demand to be revised to make it more secure across all industry sectors. In fact, it is becoming such an issue that as of 2018 the new GDPR regulations will be able to fine companies huge sums of money if they don’t comply with new data protection regulations.

For the travel industry, they too have come across similar incidents with fraudulent activity occurring when transactions are conducted online between consumers, agencies and suppliers around the world. 2015 saw online travel agencies (OTAs) hit sales of over $530 billion, a figure that’s set to increase to over $750 billion by 2019. This means that for OTAs a substantial amount of money is being transferred regularly as well as personal information being passed around the internet, of which at any point could be visible to a hacker.

To overcome the potential of information interception at any stage, there’s the method of virtual account numbers (VANs), which has proven to be a popular payment option for businesses in the travel sector. Not only are VANs a more efficient way of making payments, but they’re safer and significantly more secure than other methods available at the moment.

A virtual account number is a 16 digit Mastercard number that is permitted for one single use. Many B2B companies have started using them, including OTAs, and are seeing the advantage of adding another level of integrity to their own security processes. Whilst VANs enhance the safety of transactions, they are simplifying the process too. Perks of virtual payments mean that company protection from ransomware, fraud and cyber hacking are at a much lower risk.

The travel industry is finding the process appealing which could lead to other industries and businesses seeing the benefits of VANs in the near future. With the need to improve safety measures around data transfer, VANs should certainly be considered to add another level of protection during the transfer.