Delivering data-backed seamless payment experience

Ai Editorial: Airlines need to plan diligently for an omni-channel payments offering. Ritesh Gupta finds out what needs to be done, and how to reap rewards.  

The value of delivering an omni-channel payments solution is in the ability to deliver data-backed, personalized customer experiences across all sales channels.

This requires the ability to capture data across all payments channels through a single integration. With a single overview, it’s possible for airlines to reduce their internal workload, streamline processes, and gain valuable insights into cross-channel customer payment preferences. The ultimate result is the increase in revenues.

Here we explore how to craft an omni-channel payment experience: 

  • IT infrastructure:  There are airlines that are still using legacy systems that have been designed to handle credit card transactions only. Such infrastructure has limiting capabilities, and not designed to integrate with new technology. Importantly, it ends up being an investment decision. A mechanism is worked out taking into consideration all the sales channels and this layer deals with one or more payment service providers, and streamlines operations such as multi-acquiring switching, alternative forms of payment, reporting etc.

It is important for airlines to look at the entire payment chain, from gateway to risk, to acquiring, and identify areas in which they can prioritize improvements, says Sander Maertens, VP Travel, Adyen.

Airlines need to gear up for an integrated solution for the entire payment chain, as well as support alternative payment methods, and look for a single line of reporting and reconciliation. 

  • Single view across all channels: It is important for airlines to capture data across all payments channels through a single integration.  Identifying travellers across payment channels, and thereby paving the way for a faster check out regardless of location or device they are using, is a clear benefit of an omni-channel approach.
  • Making adjustments: Airlines need to adjust their operations, too. For instance, the settlement process of alternative payment methods can differ vastly. In case of SEPA Direct Debit, one of the preferred payment methods in Germany is asynchronous, meaning that there is no real time confirmation that the funds are guaranteed. As confirmation is given after several days, therefore this payment method should not be available with a short time to fly.
  • User experience: The payment ecosystem is responding to the expectations of customers by looking at new ways in which you can shorten processing times and improve the customer experience. But even though mobile is now a primary sales channel, there are times when the experience isn’t optimized. The shopper flow is often compromised at the payment stage by two key failures – a clunky look and feel, and multiple steps to complete the purchase.

By offering dynamic payment pages that automatically detect the screen size of the consumer, the device, airlines can ensure a more seamless payment experience. In addition, offering features such as one-click payment, where at the checkout stage shoppers are given the option to have their payment details securely stored, will also optimize the mobile experience. With the rapid evolution of the mobile payment landscape, it is often key to work together with a payment to remain on top with the latest developments.


  • Combating fraud: In an omni-channel payment environment, data is again the key to minimizing fraud. By gathering data across channels, it is possible to determine a transaction’s fraud score by looking at specific data points such as device type, time to flight, ticket value and type of journey. By designing intelligent dynamic screening based on real-time analysis of the most comprehensive range of shoppers’ data, airlines can take a customized approach based on their specific requirements. This way it is possible to effectively reduce chargeback rates and minimize “false positives”, that is to say genuine customers that are declined.
  • 3D Secure: Traditionally, online merchants have adopted a binary view to 3D Secure; implement it across all transactions, or don’t implement it at all. However, both of these approaches have problems. If you apply 3D Secure to all transactions, conversion will suffer, and if you don’t apply it at all, fraud will still be a factor. But there is a third possibility – selectively applying 3D Secure only to high-risk transactions, based on data customized to the airline. The way to do this is to dynamically assess and rank a transaction’s risk score on a scale from low to high, and then trigger 3D Secure only for the high-risk transactions. This means airlines can avoid routing genuine customers through 3D Secure, ensure a smoother payment flow, and minimize the potential conversion impact. By making 3D Secure a dynamic part of the payment flow, it becomes an asset rather than a conversion killer.
  • Understanding cross-channel customer payment preferences: Once the infrastructure is in place, real-time API’s can deliver information about the payment preferences and behaviour. So be it for simplifying payment page, tailored options (for example, once its ascertained that the card user is a German, he or she could be offered a cheaper payment option suited for that nation), stored card details or optimizing for mobile, all can benefit a travel e-commerce brand.

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