Payments Innovation

How Airbnb Uses Payments To Stay Competitive

Consumers who rent a vacation home through Airbnb must trust that the keys will be there for them upon arrival, as much as the host must trust that they’ll be paid in a timely manner, and that their property won’t be damaged.

As the sharing economy grows globally, fostering that confidence and trust between buyers and sellers has become more crucial for platforms to stay relevant and competitive. They must also excel at securely handling payments and personal data, while recommending services at the right moment to enhance transactions along the way.

In the new Payments And The Platform Economy Playbook series, powered by Yapstone, PYMNTS examines the latest developments in the platform economy, and seeks to offer a roadmap for managing risks, optimizing rewards and creating a trusted business environment.

Around the Payments and Platform Economy World

A job marketplace platform in India is looking to connect trained trade workers with employers. Co-founder and CEO Pravin Agarwala of BetterPlace asserted that more than 60,000 workers have been onboarded since its 2015 launch, and more than 1,000 large employers are using the service. The digital platform provides hiring, training, compliance management and payroll solutions to its clients, and is geared toward the facilities management, private security and logistics industries, to name a few.

Further east, Airbnb is taking off in South Korea, with a reported 2.9 million tourists using the platform in 2018, a 56 percent increase over the prior year. While hosts in rural communities are legally allowed to accept both Korean citizens and foreigners as guests, hosts in urban areas can only accept those from outside the country. The South Korean government indicated it intends to ease restrictions on urban hosts, as a homesharing bill was submitted to its parliamentary committee on culture, sports and tourism in 2017 — a move that would help normalize and boost the homesharing industry in the country.

This is not to say, though, that sharing economy platforms are completely ironclad. Cybercriminals have recently targeted apps like Uber and Airbnb to launder money, which is then further used for committing illegitimate activities. Platforms need to pay careful attention to fraud across dozens of markets, meaning the ability to detect and manage fraud will only become more crucial as the sharing economy grows.

Read these and the rest of the latest headlines in the Tracker.

Airbnb on Payments, User Friction and Security Challenges in a Global Market

As sharing economy platforms expand globally and become more popular, the pressure is on to cater to consumers, and offer seamless experiences to both buyers and sellers to remain competitive. This means localizing their services and not taking a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to payment methods and user experiences.

With more than 5 million worldwide listings, Airbnb has to stay up to date with local, state and national digital security regulations as it operates in over 191 countries, according to Logan Vander Linden, payments partnerships lead for Airbnb, in a recent PYMNTS interview. In this month’s feature story, Vander Linden explained how Airbnb works to stay compliant in each market as worldwide competition grows fierce.

Find the full feature story in the Playbook.

HomeAway’s Wins and Losses in the Ever-Competitive Sharing Economy

Renting a room or home online — or through a mobile app — is familiar to consumers, who are used to browsing and booking listings with a few taps on their touchscreens. However, that familiarity creates challenges for homesharing companies, which need to capture customer loyalty in an increasingly competitive market. Their user experiences need to be easy and friction-free, no matter the churning waters in the back end.

In the latest Playbook, PYMNTS analyzes how HomeAway is treading the rapidly changing market conditions. HomeAway is navigating the changing regulations, shifting consumer behaviors and all the other challenges that come with global expansion, as it works to stay competitive. To read the Case Study, download the Playbook.

About the Playbook

The monthly Payments And The Platform Economy Playbook series, a collaboration between PYMNTS and Yapstone, aims to help platform payment decision-makers identify and manage the risks and rewards inherent in shaping their approaches, enabling them to optimize their operations and navigate the real-time challenges they face.



Digital transformation has been forcefully accelerated, but how does that agility translate into the fight against COVID-era attacks and sophisticated identity threats? As millions embrace online everything, preserving digital trust now falls mostly on banks and FIs. Now, advances in identity data and using different weights on the payment mix afford new opportunities to arm organizations and their customers against cyberthreats. From the latest in machine learning for fraud and risk, to corporate treasury teams working in new ways with new datasets, learn from experts how digital identity, together with advances like real-time payments, combine to engender trust and enrich relationships.