Visa Inc. appears to have one up on other international brands when it comes to debit card acceptance at at least one Canadian airline.

Canadian consumers now may use Visa Debit to purchase WestJet airline tickets online and through the airline's Sales Super Centre, Visa Canada and WestJet announced Jan. 9.

WestJet has accepted Interac debit cards at airports in Canada for a long time, but it does not accept any Canadian debit brands other than Visa Debit online, Jennifer Sanford, a WestJet spokesperson, told PaymentsSource via an email. “American or other international Visa or MasterCard debit products work slightly differently from the Canadian version and are already accepted by WestJet,” she said.

With Visa Debit, when WestJet customers in Canada make purchases online or by phone, they select Visa as their method of payment, provide the account number on the front of the card, the expiration date and the three-digit security code on the back of the card, Sanford said, noting WestJet does not charge any extra fees to pay with debit when booking a ticket. Sanford did not say what makes the process different from accepting U.S. debit or credit cards, and she did not reply to a follow-up PaymentsSource inquiry seeking to clarify that issue.

Visa uses multiple layers of security, the card brand noted in a press release. This includes a zero-liability policy that protects cardholders against fraud if someone uses a stolen Visa card to purchase goods in person, online, by mail or by phone.

"We’re pleased to offer this new payment opportunity for guests," d'Arcy Monaghan, WestJet director, distribution strategy, said in the release. "Offering multiple payment options is in line with our commitment to a great guest experience."

WestJet, which is based in Calgary, operated 97 planes as of the end of 2011, flying to 71 North American and Caribbean cities, according to the company’s website.

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