Universal Air Travel Plan Inc., an airline-owned payments network, has agreed to link its systems to the one operated by Bill Me Later Inc.

Bill Me Later, a Timonium, Md., company that offers instant credit for online purchases and lets retailers offer promotional financing terms, said its transactions will be processed over the Universal Air Travel network for airlines that choose to accept Bill Me Later's deferred payments.

The two companies announced the deal Monday.

Universal Air Travel offers payments services to 240 airlines and travel companies around the world, and has said that a key goal is reducing its clients' card processing expenses.

"The airline industry is eagerly seeking ways to lower distribution costs while providing travel to consumers with greater convenience and satisfaction," Ralph Kaiser, Universal Air Travel's president and chief executive, said in a press release. "Bill Me Later has proven to deliver on all these fronts for several major travel partners."

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