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Nium unveils ‘closed loop’ payments alternative for airlines and OTAs

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Air Europa and others to be among the first to implement equitable payment solution. Nium Airline Payments uses trusted UATP authorization rails and bank transfers to lower payment cost, guarantee acceptance, and offer ultra-flexible incentives.

LONDON - Nium, the global platform for modern money movement, announced the launch of Nium Airline Payments (NAP), a closed-loop payments solution powered by Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP). NAP provides airlines, travel agents, and online travel agencies (OTAs) with a sustainable and equitable ‘closed loop’ payment model, which closes the door on damaging surcharges and business restricting non-acceptance policies that have inflated the cost of B2B travel payments for decades. Technology for the solution comes to Nium via its acquisition of travel payments optimization leader, Ixaris, in 2021.

Among the first to contract with Nium for the solution include Air Europa which has tapped the global payments company to solve some of the inequities associated with traditional card payment models. Today, traditional card payments offer travel agents and OTAs financial incentives that strike at the core of an airline’s razor-thin margins.

The closed-loop Nium Airline Payments solution eliminates margin-eating intermediaries from the payment flow, giving airlines the flexibility and control to design transparent incentives for OTA partners, based on routes, seasonality, business volumes, and more.

Unlike other payment programs, Nium’s process guarantees payment acceptance for the airlines, as they are already wired to accept payments through the UATP network. Meanwhile the process is IATA Resolution 890 compliant and registered with the IATA TIP (Transparency in Payments) program.

All of this means that Air Europa can finally benefit from significantly reduced per payment cost savings, faster settlement times, and flexible incentives for sellers – all without requiring any additional technical integration.

Without payments, there can be no sale and we are very honoured to help Air Europa resolve what has been one of the biggest airline distribution conundrums of the internet era: do I increase my distribution at the price of accepting high payment fees, or limit distribution to partners who offer better payment terms but reduce overall sales opportunities?” stated Spencer Hanlon, Head of Travel at Nium.

We were very inspired by Nium’s innovative approach to create an alternative payment method, being proud to offer it to our B2B partners,” added Yago Casasnovas Head of Payment, Fraud Prevention and Distribution from Air Europa. “We are communicating the availability of this new option to our travel agencies, tour operator and TMC customers and we hope that they will soon join us in taking advantage of the benefits of using it.”

Today’s news is simply the latest development in the evolution of Nium’s range of B2B payment solutions for the whole travel industry – including not just airlines but hotels, travel agents and more – offering virtual credit cards (VCCs), real-time ‘pay-in, pay-out’ in over 100 currencies to over 190 countries, and most recently crypto solutions.

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