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Head of Sales & Growth for Merchant Solutions, Payments, Amadeus IT Group
I am excited to be kicking 2018 off with a new job at Amadeus. On 2nd January, I took up a position heading up the Payments Team for Airlines and Strategic Segments after 11 years at Elavon, one of the largest acquiring banks serving the airline and hospitality sectors.
So, why did I move to Amadeus? After 11 years working with Travel and Expense (T&E) merchants on their payments strategy at Elavon, I saw the growing need to have a more finely integrated approach to payments. It also allowed me to capitalize on my 6.5 years of experience at British Airways by working closely with Amadeus’ airline merchants. Each year adds more complexity to the payments industry . Whether it is a new regulation, a new payment method, a new provider, or a new market, the merchants I speak to are crying out to be able to take control of their payments strategy and not be controlled by it.
When I look at what Amadeus has built and the plans we have to evolve the APP payment platform, I am really excited about the future. That said, apart from a new job for me, what will 2018 bring in payments for our customers?
Here are four payments topics that the travel industry should consider for 2018:
Payment Services Directive II (PSD2) finally becomes a reality this year. New rules around payment card surcharging and secure customer identification come along with it. Additionally, the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) comes into force from 25th May 2018 and Compliance will continue to be a major focus for the coming years. Amadeus’ new Consultancy Division can assist merchants in discovering what all of this means for them.
The PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) were created to help defend against fraud, by removing payment card data from IT systems or rendering it useless to hackers by encrypting or tokenizing it. Further downstream, Fraud Screening Services aim to prevent fraudsters from obtaining free goods and services by blocking their attempts to purchase. Even more challenging for the hotel sector is the fact that they typically only accept payment at the end of a stay. As a result, hotels need to access card data from multiple resellers and third parties; and of course, old methods of data transmission - faxes and other manual processes - are not secure. Whilst the hotel sector is evolving its infrastructure, sadly it is still all too common to read about data breaches in the industry. Whether you are an airline, a hotel or any other T&E merchant, our Fraud Prevention and PCI advisory teams are able to assist you.
The T&E sector by definition is global. There will invariably be a trade-off between simplicity and cost and this balance changes in rhythm with compliance, local law and card scheme changes.Amadeus has a range of services that can allow you to maximize your payments reach whilst retaining the best of local payments acceptance models.
Will 2018 finally become the year when airlines can take control of their payments and deliver a free-flowing payment experience for their customers? That remains to be seen.