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Sabre has acquired payments company Conferma Pay, BTN Europe has learned. The acquisition took place on 3 August, Sabre later confirmed.
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In a letter from Conferma Pay interim CEO and former Sabre EMEA senior vice president Martin Cowley seen by BTN Europe, he says that payments in the industry are “in the midst of a revolution”.
He continues: “Having partnered for many years, both Sabre and Conferma Pay acknowledge the changing landscape and the need for significant technology investment in the B2B payment space. This is why Sabre will be acquiring Conferma Pay to help it advance virtual card payments in travel and lay the foundations to develop technologies that enable the future B2B travel payments.”
“By combining the travel industry expertise of Sabre and the payment expertise of Conferma Pay, we believe we can continue to offer a strong value proposition for travel agencies.”
Cowley added: “This acquisition will enable Conferma Pay to evolve the skills and technologies of both organisations to develop enhanced payment solutions, which address gaps and expand opportunities for optimised sales in the B2B travel space.”
A Sabre spokesperson said: “On 3 August 2022, Sabre acquired UK fintech company Conferma Pay. Sabre has had a successful partnership with Conferma Pay for many years, and Conferma Pay is the basis upon which its Sabre Virtual Payments proposition is built.
“We believe we are now well-positioned to expand on that proposition with Conferma Pay becoming a Sabre-owned entity.”
One TMC boss, who did not wish to be named, said: “Conferma is the payments glue for most TMCs. They ensure we can pay securely and also gather the rich data we need to reconcile payments. Without them, we’d literally need to double the size of our finance team and massively reduce agent productivity.”
Conferma was founded in 2005 by Simon and Jim Barker and today connects issuers to more than 700 travel management companies, all the major global distribution systems and over 100 online booking tools
It started working with Sabre in 2011 when it introduced Virtual Payments for Hotel Settlement and then moved to a full integration, including air bookings, in late 2016.
In 2020, Conferma inked a deal with Visa to make the payment giant’s cards available in travellers' mobile wallets and launched a corporate virtual payments platform while in 2021, it signed a reseller agreement with the GlobalStar TMC network.
Earlier this year, Conferma announced a tie-up with Thrust Carbon to launch a carbon reporting system that measures the environmental impact of business trips based on payment data from virtual cards.