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UnionPay-IATA Partnership Gives Card Users Broader Access to Purchasing Tickets Online

UnionPay International (UPI) announced today the cooperation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to launch multiple UnionPay payment products on the IATA Financial Gateway (IFG). UnionPay cardholders can now make easy reservations via all airline distribution channels including travel agents and mobile apps of international airlines that accept UnionPay products.

As one of the most important organizations in the aviation industry, IATA represents over 290 member airlines, covering 82% of global air traffic. Currently, nearly 90 international airlines such as Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Air France have supported UnionPay cards. Through the global accessibility of the IFG, this cooperation is expected to extend UnionPay online payment services to more regional airlines and facilitate local business trips for frequent travelers outside Mainland China.

Larry Wang, Vice President of UnionPay International, said: “UPI continues to optimize the card-using experience across the airline industry to provide cardholders with more secure and convenient online ticket booking services and our cooperation with the IATA Financial Gateway better positions UnionPay cards for air ticket purchases. Ultimately, more acceptance across various fields offers an enhanced experience for our cardholders at home and abroad."

 “IFG provides a cost-effective solution for airlines and travel suppliers to optimize their different sales payment processes. We’re very pleased to welcome UnionPay International’s suite of payment products to the IFG, which will provide more payment options for UnionPay cardholders,” said Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Financial Settlement and Distribution Services.

IATA has integrated UnionPay online payment products into the IFG. All airlines can enable UnionPay acceptance for different online sales channels simply through an API call without additional system modification. The two parties will work together to support airlines in enabling UnionPay throughout all touchpoints on the passenger journey which will also further increase UnionPay card acceptance at more airline ticketing centers and in other offline use cases.

In recent years, UPI has cooperated with global acquirers and major gateways to step up optimizing online card acceptance. At present, UnionPay online payment has been enabled for more than 22 million merchants in over 200 countries and regions. In the first half of this year alone, more than 3,000 new major online merchants were enabled to take UnionPay cards. Popular online travel agencies, such as Agoda and Booking.com, now support UnionPay online payments, together with ten well-known hotel groups including Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons. 

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