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Corporate payment provider WEX has launched a system that enables TMCs and tour operators the ability to avoid airline surcharges.
WEX, which lists Expedia and Orbitz among its clients, has developed the WEX Solution for Airline Payments. The system, which uses a Virtual Card Number offers a credit facility to fund debit card accounts which means users can avoid surcharges on flight bookings.
It can also help fund customers’ airfares while their money is tied up in trust accounts.
When booking flights with a low cost airline, the customers’ funds goes into a trust account first to ensure customers’ funds are safe in case of the airline going bankrupt. However, the agent has to pay the airline immediately, leaving them out of pocket for around five business days. WEX said the credit line, it helps “alleviate that problem”.
Jim Pratt, Senior VP, general manager of virtual payments at WEX, said: “Airline bookings in the travel industry are increasingly competitive as customers are becoming more price conscious.
The 2 per cent surcharge incurred when booking seats with airlines means that margins are squeezed even further.
“With the introduction of our new Solution for Airline Payments, our customers can bypass this charge without having to prefund accounts. This results in reduced costs and allows customers to become more competitive, improve their cash position and benefit from an automated booking flow, reporting and reconciliation.”
Kumar Edara, WEX customer and director of Truly Travel added: “Prefunding flights on behalf of our customers while their money is tied up in trust accounts was getting very challenging for us, especially with the volume of flights our customers book.
“WEX has given us the ability to improve our cash position whilst reducing costs significantly which is helping us to become much more competitive. Working with a partner who listens to your needs and is able to turn those into significant business benefits has been crucial and the reason that we greatly value our partnership with WEX.”
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