UATP is partnering with various alternative payment brands and prepping for the emerging mobile payment space, as it expands its suite of payment options for airlines.
The airline-owned network already partners with brands that include PayPal, SafetyPay and UKash to process payments on various airlines websites, says Ralph Kaiser, president and chief executive of UATP, on the sidelines of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) Airline Leaders Forum 2012 in Panama City.
Airlines that use UATP for these transactions can save on integration costs and simplify payment processing, he says.
Aeromexico and Volaris are already processing payments through PayPal over the UATP network.
UATP plans to go beyond just partnerships and offer cash payments itself to airlines. "What we're going to do is help bring cash to the internet bookings that will really help the airlines [save money] as well, instead of going through [travel] agencies that are more expensive," says Kaiser.
Airlines including AirAsia, JetStar Asia and Malaysia Airlines offer customers who book on their respective websites the option to pay for tickets in cash at local convenience stores.
Mobile payments are another emerging space for UATP. Kaiser says that they are recruiting someone to develop their mobile strategy and plan to "definitely" participate in the space in the future.
"I don't see the mobile technology at the airport yet other than boarding passes but payment will be the next thing," he says. "Some day maybe we'll see [payments] at the airport like at Starbucks where you can pay with your iPhone."
Mobile wallets are common for various small transactions, including convenience store purchases and for monthly bills, in emerging markets including Kenya and Indonesia.