ARC Enables Alipay for ARC-Accredited Agency Transactions
Airlines Reporting Corp. now can process Alipay transactions made through ARC’s 12,262 U.S. retail and corporate travel agency locations, satellite ticket printing offices and online travel agencies. The capability is made possible through UATP’s existing partnership with Alipay, first signed in 2013, that enables airline and other travel partners like hotels and car rental companies to accept Alipay when travelers book directly on merchant websites. To date, UATP said it has two airlines that are live with Alipay.
“As far as our systems are concerned, if an airline and agency agree to enable acceptance through that travel agency, it can be reported to us using the UATP solution to settle the transaction,” said ARC managing director of airline services Chuck Fisher.
In 2011, ARC similarly enabled agencies to accept PayPal through UATP’s PayPal partnership. Fisher said the channel has been “pretty quiet.” Even so, he said, the company has “renewed our focus on alternative forms of payment.”
ARC is working to support payment network China UnionPay through a direct relationship, according to Fisher. UATP enabled China UnionPay in 2016 through a partnership with Planet Payment.
All Eyes on China
China has become the world’s largest business travel market spending $291.2 billion 2015, according to the Global Business Travel Association. That said, only 5 percent of Chinese business travel is international. Chinese outbound tourism spend, however, is booming. It totaled $261 billion in 2016, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The U.S. was Chinese outbound tourists’ sixth most popular destination in 2017.
The opportunity to capture those travel transactions is not lost on merchants, and many across the world have been working to enable Chinese tourists’ preferred payment methods: Alipay and WeChat. Alipay has more than 500 million users, according to UATP. “As people from China travel to the U.S. they want to use their preferred payment method,” said Chuck Fisher.
Alipay works somewhat similarly to PayPal. An Alipay user can link a credit or debit card, or transfer money from a bank account into the mobile app to pay for an item online or by scanning a quick response, or QR, code at participating merchants at the point of sale.
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