Press release

Alternative ways to pay for travel take the lead in Asia and Europe, according to new report

Lauren Hyde

Corporate Communications

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Alternative ways to pay now account for 51% of e-Commerce spend worldwide, driven by Asia

New Amadeus and PPRO partnership enables travel companies to accept high-growth alternative payments

Global fintech innovation is happening at a rapid pace and there are now more than 300 different ways to pay for travel across the world. It’s against this backdrop that Amadeus and PPRO have commissioned ‘The Travel Payments Guide’, a new report charting the rise of alternative payment methods. Designed to help travel merchants understand which methods are most popular in their key international markets, the report supports merchants when defining their payment acceptance strategy.

According to the analysis, travelers now choose alternative ways to pay for travel, such as e-Wallets and bank transfers, more often than cards and cash combined. This growth is occurring across the world with e-Wallets now twice as popular as cards in China, accounting for 49% of the country’s $155B digital travel spend. In the US, e-Wallets may replace cards as the most popular way to pay by 2025, having gained an additional 4% share of the market in the last 12 months.

The report also marks a new partnership between Amadeus and PPRO, a leading cross-border payment specialist. The integration of PPRO with Amadeus’ Payment Platform means travel companies can now easily accept the widest range of alternative payment methods such as real-time bank transfers, e-Wallets and direct debit methods. Importantly, the integration means travel firms can now rapidly add and experiment with a new payment method, testing its impact in response to rapidly changing consumer payment preferences.


Payment methods by region (full year 2017 data)
MarketAlternative payments share (e-Wallet, bank transfer, other)Cards & cash
North America38%62%
Middle East38%62%
  • NB: Regional averages based on a subset of markets in each region

The world’s largest digital travel markets (full year 2017 data)

MarketTotal e-Commerce spend ($ Billions)Total travel e-Commerce spend ($ Billions)Travel’s share of e-CommerceMobile’s share of e-Commerce


Payment methods across world’s largest e-Commerce markets (full year 2017 data) 

Markete-WalletCardsBank transferCashOther

Data from the report shows that Asia leads the way in alternative payments, accounting for 58% of the region’s spend, closely followed by Europe where alternative payments represent 53% of spend. In North America, cards remain the most popular way to pay, representing 58% of all e-Commerce spend, however that share has fallen from 62% just 12 months earlier.

James Booth, PPRO commented: “Travel has always been at the forefront of e-Commerce and our data shows it commands a significant share of the pie. Our collaboration with Amadeus forms part of our mission to help companies get paid in any way their customer chooses to make that payment.” He continued: “Some of the largest markets in the world are seeing alternative, local payments take more than 7% market share in a single year so travel merchants really do need to move quickly now."

Bart Tompkins, Managing Director, Payments, Amadeus added: “This data highlights how quickly the payments landscape is changing and the increasing complexity facing travel merchants. That’s why we’ve teamed up with PPRO, so travel companies can quickly test alternative methods balancing revenue, cost and customer experience considerations to meet the evolving needs of travelers."

He continued: “It should be noted that despite less travelers paying with cards directly, many do rely on the card networks in the background. So, cards will continue to be essential payments infrastructure for our industry."

The Travel Payments Guide helps travel companies to make better informed decisions about which payments methods to accept across international markets. 


The Amadeus PPRO Travel Payments Guide analysed e-Commerce and digital travel spend across 40 of the world’s largest markets. The report relies on a range of data sources including central banks, national e-Commerce associations, IATA, PYMNTS.com and globally recognized publicly available databases. In addition, both Amadeus and PPRO contributed data for the study. Data sets were combined and analysed by Edgar, Dunn & Company on behalf of Amadeus and PPRO to paint a clear picture of the travel payments landscape.


Find out more about key trends in payments:

Download the report here!



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