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Sci-finance comes to credit card

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Diners Club has brought the world of science fiction and finance together through the launch of the Diners Club Virtual Card.

The technologically-advanced and easy to use payment solution targeting travel buyers, travel management companies (TMCs) and suppliers makes card payments possible without needing a physical card.

Research conducted by the African Business Travel Association in 2014 revealed that the issues that keep travel buyers awake at night include governance and travel policy, technology advancements, information management, automation, and payments.

Diners Club Virtual Card offers benefits like data collection and reporting, reduced reliance on bill backs, and most importantly enhanced security for all players in the corporate travel industry.

Enforcing governance and travel policy is easily attainable by using Diners Club Virtual Card rather than an account or invoice system. Organisations that don’t issue corporate cards, such as public sector entities due to National Treasury regulations, often require travellers to pay for hotels and car hire using their personal cards, and then refund after a long and arduous expense management and reconciliation process.

For many years the corporate travel industry has been trying to design practical working solution to eliminate the financial challenges associated with the billing and reconciling of land arrangements.

The hotel, guesthouse and car rental invoices commonly referred to in the industry as “bill backs” have long presented a host of costly administration and reconciliation issues to suppliers, travel management companies and corporates.

By introducing a Virtual Card into the booking, authorization and settlement process for land arrangements, the Virtual Card is able to solve the persistent “bill back” problem using travel management and card solutions.

With Diners Club Virtual Card, the company policy can still be implemented and the traveller does not have to pay out of their own funds.  Travel buyers, in conjunction with their TMC, can ensure that travel spend will be capped and they will only incur pre-approved costs, in line with travel policy. This greatly reduces the chance of overspending and effects cost control through the elimination of the need for credit facilities.

Virtual Card Solutions also offer enriched data from the point of sale by providing third-level data, which is crucial in the reconciliation process. This impacts positively on the efficiency of reconciliation, matching of transactions, consolidating spend on the lodge card or corporate card, and of course, general reporting.

From a security perspective the dynamic nature of the Virtual Card’s account numbers greatly reduces the fraud risk posed by external activities.

Says Ebrahim Matthews, MD of Diners Club South Africa: “Much like we pioneered the virtual lodge card, Diners Club continues to provide new and innovative solutions in the corporate travel industry. The Virtual Card allows all players in the industry to better control their travel and entertainment spend and is a complete travel supplier payment solution that facilitates immediate supplier settlement, enabling cost-savings and improving cash flow.”

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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