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Booking.com Forms Virtual Card Partnership With WEX

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Global commerce platform WEX has launched a virtual card partnership with Booking.com.

The new arrangement, announced in a news release Thursday (April 25), expands on the two companies’ 11-year-old partnership, with WEX becoming Booking.com’s virtual card provider and WEX’s payment solutions supporting Booking.com’s travel-related products and services sales.

“Building on years of working together, we remain committed to delivering WEX’s deep expertise in both payments and travel, as well as the reliability of our technology platform, to help Booking.com power its B2B travel payment activities 24/7 and 365 days/year at scale, globally, said Carlos Carriedo, WEX’s chief operating officer, international. 

According to the release, the partnership taps WEX’s expertise in global virtual card and cross-currency capabilities to make traveling easier.

“Enabling a seamless travel experience for both our travelers and accommodation partners involves navigating multiple currencies, borders, and timezones — which brings complex challenges,” said Daniel Marovitz, senior vice president of FinTech at Booking.com. 

PYMNTS wrote recently about Booking.com’s role in the trend of connected travel, which includes using digital technologies to enhance travel experiences both before and during trips. 

For example, Booking Holdings, parent company of not only Booking.com but also Priceline, Kayak and other connected economy hospitality brands, recently beefed up its AI-powered travel assistant, Penny, streamlining travel planning and booking processes.

The company is also vying to become a super travel app with “Connected Trips,” a new program offering package trips, flights and access to attractions, all purchased through the Booking.com website or mobile app.

“We are continuing to strengthen the direct relationship with our travelers,” CEO Glenn Fogel told analysts on the company’s latest earnings call. “We remain confident in our long-term outlook for the travel industry [and] believe we are well positioned to deliver attractive growth across our key metrics in the coming years.”

Elsewhere in the virtual card space, PYMNTS examined the role these cards play in buyer-supplier relations in a recent conversation with industry experts.

“It’s always been rather clear why buyers would want to use virtual cards. But the same isn’t true for suppliers,” said Robin BoudsocqCiti’s head of B2B commercial cards.

He noted that for buyers, the benefits that come from using virtual cards — such as working capital optimization and enhanced data for reconciliation and fraud prevention — have always been readily apparent.

“But for suppliers, the calculus around virtual cards has — at least until recently — been a relatively less rosy one, with the perception often being that card payments for business-to-business (B2B) transactions were expensive and not advantageous,” PYMNTS wrote. “That dynamic is shifting rapidly, particularly as the macro backdrop of high interest rates and an equally high cost of capital spurs innovation and gives rise to new opportunities.

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