The current range of payment methods has a significant impact on airlines’ working capital; credit card interchange fees alone are averaging around US $8 billion/year, not including charge backs and fraud-related costs. These costs are forecasted to increase significantly in the coming years. (Source: Phocuswright)
IATA is addressing these issues with IATA Pay, an alternative method for travelers to pay for air tickets purchased online by directly debiting their bank account. It will improve speed and security of payments, while reducing payment costs.
Regulatory initiatives such as the EU’s Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) are encouraging the development of new solutions such as bank account to bank account, real time payment and request-to-pay services.
At the same time, the adoption of immediate payment solutions is becoming global. Some cashless alternatives such as Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in India are becoming popular and a mandatory offer in some jurisdictions.
IATA Pay leverages these developments to enable airlines to offer their customers a direct payment solution when purchasing airline products and services online. It is real-time, safe and cost-competitive compared with existing payment options.
IATA Pay is live in Germany since end of March 2021 and in the UK since end of April 2021. This industry solution is now available for use by airlines in these two markets. Further gradual implementation is in progress in other markets and other regions, including Asia-Pacific, Africa-Middle East and the Americas.
Please contact the IATA Pay team for information on how to adopt this industry solution.
Watch this space for further developments.
IATA Pay developed an alternative payment solution which is cost-effective, highly secure and optimizes cash flow.
To airlines, IATA Pay advantages are:
- Highly secure, having IATA as trusted acquirer with no chargebacks or holdback practices
- One technical integration giving access to all available markets.
- Single contractual relation with IATA, managing risk exposure to service risks.
- Control of payment aspects such as customer’s payment information.
- Simpler payment process, enabling Airlines to design a customer end-to-end shopping experience.
- Faster cash flow to the merchant
- Optional white-labelled payment method.
- Transparent price structure
To consumers, the benefits include:
- Highly secure
- Enhanced consumer shopping-experience with seamless payment.
- Increased number of payment options
- Opportunity for airlines to introduce additional features focused on demand restoration such as pay later, cash-back rewards and payment insurance.
IATA Pay is a payment solution whereby the funds are debited instantly from the customer's account and credited to IATA's account.
IATA offers the added value services of settlement to the airline in 24 hours, reconciliation, refund management and an administrator portal. Other services under analysis include instalments, insurance or facilitating rewards methods like cash-back
Find out more about the high level transaction flow for Airline web ticket purchase (pdf).
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IATA Pay Frequently Asked Questions
What is IATA Pay?
IATA Pay is a new payment solution for direct ticket sales via airline websites. It is based on instant bank transactions and leverages on open banking or Request-to-Pay schemes.
Is IATA Pay already a product? Where will it be offered?
Yes, IATA Pay has been live in Germany and the UK since end of Q1and beginning of Q2 2021.
The intent is to eventually make IATA Pay available in all markets in which open banking and instant payments are available. IATA is working to expand to other geographies through 2021, including the rest of Europe and some Asian markets where Instant Payments are available. After this, IATA will assess new markets for later stages such as Australia and the Americas.
Which currencies are available for IATA Pay?
Currently, the currencies in scope are EUR (Germany) and GBP (UK).
Through 2021 and onwards, new markets outside of Europe will be onboarded to IATA Pay. For these markets the scope is local currencies.
Note that ICCS is compatible with IATA Pay when the service is available in the market
What are open banking and Request-to-Pay (RtP)?
Open banking and Request-to-Pay are emerging trends in the banking and payments sectors. These regulatory trends allow for new players to enter the payments landscape and create a payment method which is more direct between the merchant and consumer.
Request-to-Pay is a regulated scheme that allows for a payee to request a payment from a payor. In this context, the payor would only need to approve this payment request to initiate the payment. Request-to-Pay schemes usually cover instant transactions that are definite.
Open banking schemes provide a regulatory framework and/or rulebook for financial information messaging via standard APIs that can support new payment solutions based on Request-to-Pay transactions
What are the advantages of instant payments?
Instant payments are also known as immediate payments, faster payments and real-time payments. Key features include:
Immediate availability of funds to the vendor.
Assured payment: once a payment has been made, the sender cannot deauthorize the transfer.
Confirmation of funds via real-time balance. Once a payment is authorized, the sender’s account balance reflects the deduction instantaneously.
Will IATA Pay be presented as another alternative for payment at the checkout stage?
Yes. At the checkout page, IATA Pay will be presented together with any other payment option offered by the merchant (e-wallets, debit / credit cards, other bank transfer solutions, etc). IATA Pay will be offered as a white-labelled solution, so the airline will be able to decide on the branding.
What is the payment flow of an IATA Pay transaction?
First, IATA Pay is selected as the payment method by the customer at the checkout stage.
The airline will send the request to IATA Pay with an instant API communication. IATA Pay will use the payment and bank details to send a payment request to the customer’s bank account. The funds will be transferred directly and securely from the customer’s account to IATA’s bank account.
The next day, IATA will settle the funds to the airline’s account.
Will IATA Pay transactions go through the BSP?
IATA Pay direct sales are independent from the BSP payment, although IATA Pay leverages on the BSP’s settlement infrastructure.
Is IATA Pay part of the BSP?
IATA Pay is a payment solution which mainly focus on airlines’/agents’ direct sales and will be settled separately from the BSP payments, although leveraging on the BSP’s settlement infrastructure.
Are direct sales from the airline’s website the only solution available for IATA Pay?
The initial scope of IATA Pay is direct sales from the airline’s website. Further options in the pipeline are expanding to other sales channels and to IATA’s travel agents.
How can my airline start using IATA Pay?
Similarly to other financial services in IATA, your airline will be requested to provide contact information, instructions for settlement and a signed contract.
To activate the service, IATA Pay will be integrated to your check-out website like any other payment alternative.
For further information on contract conditions, kindly address your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
How will IATA Pay be integrated in my airline’s checkout page?
IATA Pay can be integrated directly into your airline’s check-out page, either through your payment gateway provider or through a direct connection to your airline’s systems.
It is easy to connect to the IATA Pay interface. Check out the technical information for integration in the IATA Pay extranet.
Note that IATA Pay is already integrated to IFG (IATA Financial Gateway) and IATA is in talks with the main providers in the market to integrate with them.
The IATA Pay team is ready to support you in your IATA Pay journey. Please contact email@example.com
Who can be a user in IATA Pay Admin Portal from my Airline?
Any airline employee could have a user in the IATA Pay Admin Portal, usually stakeholders in payments and ecommerce departments.
There can be different user profiles with different levels of access and roles in the Admin Portal. There will be a main user from the airline with administrative power and visibility of all other users, this main user will be able to add, remove and change authorizations to any of the other users.
What is the link between IFG and IATA Pay?
IATA Pay and IFG are complementary to one another: IATA Pay is a new payment solution for the airline industry, while IFG is a payment gateway which optimizes airlines and travel suppliers’ different sales payment processes. IATA Pay is already integrated with IFG.
What is the difference between IATA EasyPay and IATA Pay?
These are two different payment solutions offered by IATA.
IATA Pay is a new payments solution based on instant bank transactions, IATA EasyPay is a “pay as you go” e-wallet solution for travel agents to issue tickets via the BSP.
Is there a difference between IATA Pay and similar existing open banking payment solutions?
From a user experience point of view, most instant payment methods may be very similar because they must comply with the same regulations. However, from an airline’s point of view IATA Pay has many differentiating factors. These include:
Cost-recovery pricing model, up to 93% reduction in cost.
A single industry solution covering all available markets as opposed to individual market solutions
One single contract covering all markets available in IATA Pay
1-day settlement with the future potential for same-day settlement
Airline is in control of the customers’ payment, which flows through IATA – a neutral party.
How is IATA Pay working with their financial partners?
IATA will work with two types of financial partners: Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISP) and Cash management providers. Airlines aren’t affected in any way by this as they are only connected to IATA Pay. There is no contractual or technical integration required between airlines and IATA’s financial partners.
Note that PISPs will not be managing airlines’ funds but only exchanging the data required for payment initiation. This is the role of the cash management provider, which as per Industry Governance mandate needs to be among the top 10 financial entities globally.
How will my airline receive the funds?
IATA will reconcile the collected funds and settle them in a lump sum amount to the airline on the day following the transaction to a domestic bank account (Note: Bank accounts within SEPA area are considered domestic).
ICCS is compatible with IATA Pay when ICCS is available in the market, enabling the airline to repatriate their funds in their preferred currency.
This means that airlines could receive daily settlements which will include all the prior day’s transactions.
How is the airline communicating with IATA Pay to initiate payments?
All interactions between airline and IATA Pay to initiate payment or refund will be via API communication, through the interface that has been built between both parties.
How will the settlement be reconciled on the airline’s side?
IATA Pay will provide a settlement report through an interface (API) with your airline. This information can also be retrieved from the IATA Pay Admin Portal.
How can my airline use real-time refunds feature?
Airlines will instruct IATA Pay to perform refunds as per their own internal policies. The instruction is sent through an interface (API) so that it is executed in real time.
Based on Airlines instructions, real-time refunds will be available to customers that made the original purchase using IATA Pay.
Is there a document or guide explaining the admin portal's functionalities?
Yes, you can access the Admin Portal Guide to familiarize yourself with its functionalities.
How are IATA Pay charges invoiced? Where can I find/download the invoice?
IATA pay charges will be invoiced along with the monthly IATA BSP invoice, for details on the charges you may refer to the BSP/CASS & AIRLINE CODING/MITA PRICE LIST 2020 that can be download from Portal (Documents).
All IATA invoices are available for download on SIS, the “Single Sign In” facility enables accessing SIS via the portal home page. Make sure that the portal login email credentials as well as the SIS login credentials are same. SIS service can then be accessed through the option ‘’Favorite Services’’
For further Q&A, please raise a query through the IATA Customer Service Portal. We will be happy to discuss your needs