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Sabre and Revolut Push Virtual Card Use for Travel Sector

Travel industry software provider Sabre has announced the results of its collaboration with FinTech Revolut.

The two tech companies said Wednesday (Feb. 7) that they were able to onboard more than 40 customers in less than a year, with Revolut’s virtual cards now being generated within the Sabre Virtual Payments platform.

This allows customers to easily and securely pay airlines, hotels and other travel suppliers, and gives travel agencies more streamlined and agile practices, personalization and speed to market, the companies said in a news release.

“Bringing the virtual payments solutions that our travel agencies value and need is a strategic focus area and always a top priority for us, and we are thrilled to see that this partnership is doing exactly that,” said Celia Pereiro, managing director of payments at Sabre.

The companies say their partnership helped reduce the onboarding process for Sabre-connected agencies from months to days, while also providing “a flexible and secure virtual card technology” for their workflows.

It also lets agencies deliver a better experience to travel suppliers, “who now can get paid on time in their preferred currency, using negotiated payment acceptance rates,” the release said.

As PYMNTS wrote in a separate report Wednesday, research shows a strong correlation between virtual card use and companies and industries achieving high operational efficiency.

But despite this benefit, virtual card adoption has been slower than expected, with PYMNTS Intelligence research suggesting that virtual cards are expected to emerge as the chief working capital solution for just 5% of middle-market companies this year.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Court Toomey, head of Commercial Payments and Product at Plastiq by Priority, cited a lack of consistency among various banks’ offerings as a critical factor holding back adoption, creating obstacles for businesses trying to navigate the landscape. 

Internal implementation is another roadblock, especially for companies with limited team sizes, leading to holdups in the setup process, he said.

All the same, Toomey argued that the benefits far outweigh the initial costs, and committing a small effort upfront can lead to substantial long-term gains

“There are amazing efficiencies that can be captured as long as [businesses are] willing to put in just a little bit of work on the front end,” he told PYMNTS.