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Dispelling the myths surrounding NDC payments

Bart Tompkins

Managing Director, Payments, Amadeus

There’s a tremendous amount of work happening across the industry to deliver NDC. Our own NDC [X] program  is specifically designed to accelerate the deployment and adoption of NDC across the industry. Some of our NDC [X]  customers, including Travix, are now processing live NDC bookings via our new NDC-enabled Web Services solution,Travel API . Also, we’re working with Finnair and others to integrate Altéa NDC  with the Amadeus Travel Platform , allowing the airline to share its NDC content with our travel seller network.

We’re also working hard to enable NDC payments. There’s some uncertainty in the industry relating to how payments will work with NDC so we’re tackling some of the misconceptions head on in this blog. 

Myth 1: Accepting NDC payments requires an airline to maintain links to multiple payment and financial gateways

This isn’t the case. At Amadeus, we’re able to aggregate payments information flowing across an airline’s various gateways offering a single link for payment services including acceptance, capture, fraud management and reporting without the need to rely on additional payment or financial gateways. With our Xchange Payment Platform , airlines have a one-stop shop for accepting 99% of global cards and over 300 alternative methods - this is equally true for NDC payments.

Myth 2: Amadeus can only provide payment services when it is also the airline’s NDC IT provider

It doesn’t matter how an airline chooses to structure its NDC program (using Altéa NDC or a third-party solution), we can help to process and report on NDC payments made through any channel with a single integration to the Xchange Payment Platform. For airlines working with third-party NDC IT providers, we are able to integrate with those systems, so airlines can link to our Xchange Payment Platform, and we have several such projects underway.

Myth 3: Travel agencies are no longer the ‘Merchant of Record’ for NDC payments

Not at all. In fact, there are several scenarios for NDC payments driven by the airline’s choice. An airline can either opt to become the ‘Merchant of Record’ (MoR), accepting responsibility for processing the payment in a similar way to its website channels, or the agency takes on this responsibility as we see in today’s global distribution channel. Whilst we expect some airlines will opt to become the MoR to drive efficiencies in the payment process, others may wish to avoid the additional administrative burden. In either case, Amadeus payment solutions can be provided to the airline natively within Altéa NDC or to its travel agency partners. 

Myth 4: If an airline chooses not to be the MoR it will face high acceptance costs when travel agencies initiate B2B payments

For those airlines that do not wish to become the merchant of record, our B2B Wallet PartnerPay solution  provides travel agencies with a convenient way to make payments to airlines based on airline co-branded Mastercard single-use virtual cards. This approach lowers airline acceptance costs compared to traditional corporate cards or IATA’s BSP, whilst reducing the overall cost of payments by up to 70%.

Myth 5: Adding NDC will complicate our use of payments data

Payments data offers airlines powerful business intelligence and Amadeus is able to consolidate this data across all channels. With a single source of payment data, we can help airlines understand ‘customer stickiness’. For example, if a customer fails to make a successful booking on an airline’s website, does the passenger re-try through the call centre? Or perhaps an online travel agency? We can help an airline to understand if the traveler did actually complete that booking or if they abandoned the booking flow. This is just as possible for NDC as it is across other types of content today.

At Amadeus, we’re on a mission to reduce the cost and complexity of each and every travel payment and that’s just as true for payments covering NDC bookings.

For more information about our Payments business, check out our dedicated webpage. 

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