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Airlines to test sales without credit cards

In a pilot project overseen by IATA, some airlines will soon start to allow payments direct from bank accounts.

A number of airlines will soon be testing a system that allows online sales without having to use a credit or debit card, Skift reports.

The scheme is being put into place by the International Air Transport Association for use on the airlines’ own websites, as an optional new way of paying.

The pilot project is designed to help consumers make faster purchases for tickets and ancillary products via a payment platform powered via the airline’s websites.

There are not many specific details about the project, but Skift says it is not about passengers bypassing travel agencies but instead is aimed at customers who make bookings direct with airlines anyway, with the money coming straight from their bank accounts.

“We expect that this option will be available for testing by customers in real transactions with airlines participating in the pilot project by year-end,” claims IATA spokesperson Perry Flint.

Avoiding fees and fraud
For airlines, direct payment would be a more cost-competitive option, avoiding having to bother with banks’ credit card fees – and also avoid having to deal with credit card fraud. The association says that both of these unnecessary expenses cost airlines around $8 billion a year.

IATA is working with Deutsche Bank on the scheme, developing and testing the payment option on websites of participating airlines.

“Similar payment methods are already offered by some airlines around the world,” said Flint. “But each is a proprietary solution, whereas the IATA-Deutsche Bank pilot will test a solution that is applicable to many air passenger transactions.”

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