Alternative payment technology set to reduce card fees for agents

Members of The Advantage Travel Partnership are being given access to a new way of collecting payments from clients which could slash card processing fees.

The new payment process uses open banking technology and is aimed at saving members time and money by allowing customers to pay via bank to bank money transfers on an online platform instead of by card, which incurs a processing fee for agents.

It follows a partnership between the agency consortium and payment specialist Boodil, announced at this year’s Advantage conference in Costa Mujeres, Mexico.

The move involves a new self-branded payment portal being embedded into the agent’s website to encourage more clients to use the open banking method.

The portal would enable agents to securely collect customer payments remotely and without manual intervention; collect payments in person or via a unique customer link or via a QR code sent by SMS text message or email.

The consortium said the move would reduce business costs associated with processing card payments while providing a simple and efficient way for clients to pay, and enable scheduled payments so agents can pay for travel arrangements over a period of time.

Open banking technology is relatively new to the travel industry, with most customers currently paying by card, according to Advantage. It said the payment process was used widely in other sectors outside travel, with transactions via open banking growing at a year-on-year rate of 69%.

Advantage chief operating officer Paul Nunn said: “We are always looking at ways to add value to our members and in the payment space we are constantly speaking with suppliers to assess what’s new in the market, seeking out ways to add incremental value.

“It’s about offering the consumer a variety of ways to pay for their travel arrangements. Whilst many consumers still largely favour paying by card, Boodil offers a fresh modern approach to payment collection which we believe will continue to increase in preference.

“Through our new partnership with Boodil, members will have the chance to offer an alternative payment method to their customers and well as mitigate merchant processing costs.”

Dally Singh, co-founder at Boodil, added: “We are delighted to be working with a company as distinguished as The Advantage Travel Partnership to roll out our product across their members and support their respective businesses.

“The concept behind Boodil’s core cloud-based product, is to make collecting payments from customers easier & safer, offer a solution which is cost effective, and provide a product that seamlessly integrates within any business.”

Advantage member Jake Cullum-Hollins, of The Good Travel Agent, an early adopter of the Boodil portal, said the portal had already “revolutionised” the way the agency collected customer payments and saved money.

He said:  “60% of our card payments are now collected via Boodil. My customers comment on how easy it is to make their payment and my team find it simple to manage the payment requests. We are also saving a considerable amount of money compared to when customers pay by credit or debit card.”

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