Apple Pay: How Airlines Can Effectively Integrate “The Hot New Thing”
CEO, CellPoint Mobile
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Apple Pay: How Airlines Can Effectively Integrate “The Hot New Thing”

Apple is known for being an industry innovator. When Apple Pay rolled out in October 2014, its “cool factor” attracted international attention to mobile payments and mobile payment technologies. With Apple’s market share now at more than 1 billion iOS devices worldwide, airlines that embrace its service can benefit from new revenue opportunities.
Payment stats tell the story:

  • $2 of every $3 spent via contactless payments are made with Apple Pay
  • Apple Pay users are three times more likely to spend $250 or more on mobile transactions.
  • 750 banks and credit unions are rolling out support for Apple Pay
  • Apple Pay recently launched in the UK, with plans for Canada and China coming soon

The key to a successful Apple Pay implementation is to overcome the usual challenges associated with adopting any new mobile payment method: high costs, technical complexities and lengthy time to market.
Here is how airlines can support Apple Pay (or other mobile payment methods) cost-effectively, quickly and efficiently:

Operate from a central platform that can integrate seamlessly with third-party wallets: Airlines can better meet passenger expectations and preferred payment methods when they operate from a central platform that integrates easily and seamlessly with various e-wallets (Apple Pay, Pay Pal, etc.).

Implement a passenger-centric mobile wallet: An airline-branded plug-and-play-mobile wallet offers all the benefits of mobile pay while bypassing the high IT costs and data-integration hurdles. By deploying a mobile wallet solution that comes pre-integrated with multiple payment methods and providers, such as Apple Pay, MasterPass, Android Pay, Visa Checkout and traditional providers, airlines can offer passengers numerous paths to purchase while allowing them to manage all their travel transactions from their personal devices. The passenger-centric wallet can also serve as a mobile repository for documents, such as boarding passes, tickets and loyalty reward currencies; further simplifying the passenger experience.

Manage and store payment information within the payments architecture: An airline’s payments system should be supported by a middle abstraction layer that connects outwardly to all payment methods and inwardly to the airline subsystems, such as reservations, booking engine and loyalty platform. This enables any type of payment method (card, alternative, mobile) to conform to the airline’s usability flow and allows for easy information organization and integration.

All airlines understand that improved pathways to purchase lead to more revenues. Major players such as Apple, Google, Samsung and others will continue to roll out new payment methods, each of which brings its own requirements, data feeds and branding.

Airlines can embrace this ever-evolving challenge by implementing solutions that are agile, versatile and sophisticated enough to support Apple Pay – and whatever comes next.