Are in-flight mobile payments ready for takeoff?

This entry was posted on Monday, June 26th, 2017.

Kristian Gjerding of MobilePaymentsToday recently penned an article about the future of in-flight mobile payments. More specifically, Gjerding cites a new CellPoint Mobile-commissioned survey that found “raised-on-mobile travelers” increasingly expect in-flight mobile payment capabilities to purchase products and services as they travel.

“It’s clear that airlines see more revenue potential from the growing number of alternative payment methods now arriving in their markets and regions,” Gjerding explained.

“Despite the fact that about one-quarter of the [airline] respondents say they lack executive support for a mobile payment strategy, nearly all are implementing mobile strategies to remain competitive.”

According to Gjerding, in-flight mobile payments are increasingly easier to implement due to improved Wi-Fi connectivity during travel. Indeed, consumers are already using mobile payments and mobile banking services for non-travel transactions and purchases. Nevertheless, airline payment experts face a number of challenges as they shift from online and card-based payments to mobile payments made with smartphones, digital devices, apps and wearables. These include cost, complex and time-consuming integration, outdated payments and databases as well as security issues, fraud and data breaches.

“Airlines in recent years have been slower than some other industries at embracing technological innovation or anticipating and effectively addressing the desires of many travelers,” Gjerding added. “The good news is that awareness is growing in the travel sector around the technology, behavioral and revenue opportunities that exist around mobile payments capabilities. [As such], airlines and travel companies must prepare to make mobile payment capabilities a reality soon, because the market is headed that way.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Rambus Press, mobile payments and wallets have traditionally been associated with brick-and-mortar retailers. However, mobile payments and wallets are now an important aspect of smart travel for transport operators seeking to modernize train, bus and ferry systems. Replacing physical smart cards with secure digital travel wallets housed on passenger smartphones allows operators to offer the same ‘shopper friendly’ convenience consumers have come to expect from their smartphones in a transport environment. In addition to allowing passengers to skip long lines at stations, mobile wallets can be configured to support the integration of account-based ticketing, integrated journey planning, trip history logs, real-time updates and third-party offers.

In a broader sense, the growing popularity of in-flight mobile payments epitomizes the ubiquity of digital commerce and the demand for a shopper friendly experience, regardless of location. Despite the challenges, in-flight mobile payments are clearly ready for takeoff and will ultimately become a preferred method of payment for travelers in the sky.

Interested in learning more about mobile payments? You can check out our mobile payments product page and our eBook on the subject below.

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