The APEC Business Mobility Group has now launched the Virtual ABTC. The Virtual ABTC is an innovative new method for travelling on the ABTC and brings the existing Scheme into the digital era, providing the much-valued service on cardholders’ smart devices. The Virtual ABTC is a more secure, efficient, convenient and user-friendly service and importantly, it provides real-time updates, so that a cardholder can immediately benefit from using their Virtual ABTC. Travelling on the ABTC will allow for the same streamlined and VIP service existing cardholders have come to enjoy, but will provide an alternative method for producing and presenting their card when entering and exiting an Economy.
Each Economy will determine its own timeline to transition to the Virtual ABTC for its cardholders; however, from March 2021 we expect to see the first travellers in the region using the Virtual ABTC. Australia will be the first APEC Economy to transition to this superior service for all Australian cardholders and the Business Mobility Group looks forward to seeing other Economies transition shortly thereafter.
The Virtual ABTC employs security features to provide economies greater confidence that a digital ABTC and cardholder are genuine. These features include:
- Secure sign on – An approved ABTC applicant will be sent an email with a unique token (an individual application number) for the Virtual ABTC and a link to download and log onto the Virtual ABTC.
- User authentication – Users are required to ensure their user credentials are authenticated and verified when logging on to the Virtual ABTC. Only applicants who have been approved an ABTC and granted access to the Virtual ABTC can log in. Please refer below to the step-by-step process.
- Screenshots – On Android devices, users are prevented from taking screenshots of the Virtual ABTC; and on iOS devices, users who attempt to take a screenshot of the Virtual ABTC will be presented with a message reminding them that Airport Officials will not accept a screenshot of the Virtual ABTC.
- Watermarks – The virtual card screen of the digital ABTC will have APEC and other discrete security watermark features, making it difficult to fraudulently replicate. The holographic overlay and card background pattern change colour and visibility in real-time in correlation with movement of the device, allowing Airport Officials to quickly confirm that they have been presented with the official ABTC application rather than a screenshot or video capture.
These additional security features for the Virtual ABTC hinder fraudulent replication and misuse, and protect cardholders and their personal details.