Digital Payments

UATP Embraces B2B Payment Changes

Airline Tickets

It’s the oldest payments network in the world that you might not be familiar with.

Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP) is the oldest payments network in the world — 83 years and counting — and handles an estimated 15 percent of the global air travel market, with 80 percent of its business coming from outside the United States, mainly from Europe and, increasingly, China.

Now the B2B payments provider is leveraging its rails and connections to airlines and hotels to enable payments via a method other than UATP’s own branded service. In a new PYMNTS interview, CEO Ralph Kaiser talks about those changes and what they mean for airlines and corporate travelers.

The PYMNTS discussion happened at a time of increasing focus on the opportunities in offering local and alternative payment methods, and also amid the challenges of doing so, given the sheer number of options available – particularly for a category such as travel, where global travelers may favor their own domestic payments method.

Beyond that, UATP, earlier this year, said it’s partnering with ExpediaOrbitz and Travelocity in a deal that sees these online platforms allowing their corporate customers to use UATP to pay for business travel bookings.

“Corporate travel is booming in the U.S.; [the Global Business Travel Association] predicts that travel spending will reach over $296 billion in 2017,” said Falk Richter, global payments vice president at Expedia. “This includes unmanaged travel that doesn’t go through travel management companies such as Egencia. Accepting UATP for payment will give us a competitive advantage to capture a portion of that unmanaged corporate travel market.”

In the interview, Kaiser discussed future moves for his organization and how corporate travel undergoes changes. The sky is the limit, it seems, for B2B travel payments.

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