Elavon teams with online travel agencies on virtual card payments

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Elavon has joined a collaboration of travel industry partners to streamline the way online travel agencies pay airlines using virtual cards.

Atlanta-based Elavon, a unit of U.S. Bancorp, worked with Mastercard and Amadeus, a Spanish travel technology firm, to develop the Amadeus B2B Wallet Partner Pay virtual credit card solution, the companies announced Wednesday.

Travel agencies initiate payments for airline tickets using a virtual Mastercard and Elavon acts as the acquirer, enabling the airline to accept payments initiated by a variety of issuers in Mastercard’s network, Elavon said in a press release.

The move streamlines the payment process and provides an incentive for airlines to accept virtual cards. The cards improve fraud protection, chargebacks and cash flow, said Brett Turner, Elavon’s head of airline acquiring, in an interview. Travel agencies pay airlines more than $200 billion annually.

“It doesn’t work without all the partners coming together, and the goal is to reset the game so airlines have an opportunity to be part of the value chain when they’re working with online travel agencies,” Turner said.

Thai Airlines and Select Travel, a Sweden-based travel agency, said they have seen significant cost reductions since implementing the solution in a pilot, Turner said.

“We’ve taken a close look at travel agency payments to airlines and how we can simplify the situation in a way that works for everyone,” said Bart Tompkins, managing director of payments at Amadeus, in the release.

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