By JoAnn DeLuna
UATP plans to grow its card network by allowing U.S.-based travel management companies to issue UATP cards, the airline-owned payment network’s chief commercial officer, David Holmes, told BTN. The Company Dime first reported the news. “In the past, we’ve approached that through partnerships with existing issuers,” he said. “In those conversations, the question from TMCs always came up: ‘Why can’t we just issue accounts ourselves?'”
After analyzing the market and developing a business case, UATP concluded there was an opportunity to be had with TMCs as issuers. UATP expects to announce its first TMC deals before the end of the year, according to Holmes. “By the end of 2019, we look to have active programs in place with corporate subscribers spending against these TMC-issued accounts,” he said.
If the U.S. TMC issuer program goes well, UATP will expand it to other geographies, according to Holmes. Because UATP is a private company, Holmes didn’t reveal how much spend volume UATP anticipates to flow from TMC-issued cards. However, the payment company will keep its eye on key performance indicators like the number of subscriptions brought in through the program and whether TMC-issued cards result in more “entrenched relationships with key travel agency partners in the U.S. market,” Holmes said.
Like all UATP issuers, TMCs will be responsible for all aspects of account deployment, including underwriting, customer service and account management on an ongoing basis from a credit risk perspective. While TMCs can choose to manage this themselves, they also can outsource it to UATP third-party processing partner MSTS.
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