Payments Innovation Takes Flight at Southwest Airlines

Name: Randy Gibbons

Title: Manager of Corporate Credit Card Services at Southwest Airlines

What I’m working on now... Streamlining my processes and finding new PCard spend

Crowning achievement... Rolling out a new program and doing it in half the time

When I'm not working I like to... Build new computers

 The next big thing in payments is... Eliminating all checks

Education... Weber State UniversityWeber State University, Utah.  Associates Degree - Business

Cash is... king

Check are...
Old, slow and prone to fraud

My mentor is/I’ve learned from my mentor... Bill Gates - perseverance. He aggressively broadened the company’s range of products and tried to dominate the space. He never backs down from a challenge and is willing to fight for what is right. I also admire philanthropy work.

----- What will your presentation at the NAPCP conference cover? Why is this topic crucial for the payments industry as a whole?

: Innovative Uses of Declining Balance and Virtual Cards - It will explain how organizations can get rid of per diem checks and eliminate invoices into AP. Physical checks are more prone to fraud, difficult to control and need to be cashed by the employee. Many companies are missing the true value of the declining balance cards/virtual cards and the controls they really provide.

PYMNTS: How are you and your team driving PCard innovation?

GIBBONS: I challenge our team to constantly look at the process and think out of the box. The words “it’s always been done that way” are not part of our vocabulary, and I’m always challenging them. We are looking for nontraditional answers to relative simple solutions.

PYMNTS: To what extent will the new regulatory landscape impact commercial cards and payments?

GIBBONS: My view is it will enhance it. I’m so excited about the changes and the opportunities for Purchase Cards. The fact that we no longer need to clean the TINs and report 1099’s is a HUGE win for the industry. For years I couldn’t understand if the data was provided from one source, why it needed to be cleaned over and over again by all the end users. It should continue to be a selling point for the PCard programs.

PYMNTS: What is unique about Southwest’s credit card services as compared to other airlines’ programs?

GIBBONS: We have developed a very unique Card Management tool (database) to help us monitor and track our program. Many of my counterparts haven’t been able to implement many of the products. Many of them still use Excel to manage their program as well. The other main key is my leadership empowers me to drive the change, and they embrace the program. They understand that my goal is to find the right solution to the problem, even if it’s not the PCard. I won’t put something on the PCard if it doesn’t fit. The rebate is not the driving factor of the program.


Bio: Randy Gibbons has been with Southwest Airlines for over 14 years and is the Finance Manager of Credit Card Services. He started the implementation of the Citibank Purchase Card Program late 2008. The program now has over 1,000 cardholders, 5,000 declining balance cards, and is on track for a $80 million year.

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Banks, corporates and even regulators now recognize the imperative to modernize — not just digitize —the infrastructures and workflows that move money and data between businesses domestically and cross-border.

Together with Visa, PYMNTS invites you to a month-long series of livestreamed programs on these issues as they reshape B2B payments. Masters of modernization share insights and answer questions during a mix of intimate fireside chats and vibrant virtual roundtables.

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