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New Payment System Rolling Out for Airlines To Battle Credit Card Fees

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Written by Charlie

There is a new payment system that has a planned roll out by the end of 2018 to help airlines battle credit card fees. This could save billions for the airlines and they would likely offer some of that back to the passengers who book through the new system.

There is no question that the credit card game is lucrative for issuers. With fees to the consumer and fees to the retailer, they are in great positions to rack up huge profits.

New Payment System Rolling Out for Airlines to Battle Credit Card Fees

How It Would Work


Airlines could save a lot of money with this new payment system

Outside of the US, it appears that the large Deutsche bank and airlines will be rolling out a system by the end of this year that seeks to cut down on the fees that airlines pay to credit card issuers. This new system will use new technology and laws in Europe to take a customer’s bank account information and then instantly transfer the necessary funds from the ticket to the airline’s institution.

This will be done without using cards and just the bank account info. In this way, these airlines could get around the 1-3% fees that they are paying for credit card transactions now. According to this Financial Times article, this adds up to billions of euros in a year for the airlines.

This new system (currently nameless) is being developed by Deutsche Bank and IATA (International Air Transport Association) and will charge a fixed fee which will be much less than what the credit card companies charge. According to the article, Lufthansa is very interested in this approach and the new platform is working with other large European airlines as well. The plan is to roll it out by the end of this year.

What About Credit Card Rewards?

For those of us in the US or with credit cards that reward travel purchases with nice bonuses, this doesn’t sound like something that is of interest to us, right? Actually, the plan would be to offer bonus airline miles or a discount if passengers paid with this new payment system.

The problem is that there is no way they are going to give the end-user the full 3% they would be saving. So, let’s say they offer a 1.5% discount on the ticket if the passenger pays with their bank account. On a $400 ticket, that would mean a discount of $6. If you were to use your Chase Sapphire Reserve, you would get 3 Ultimate Reward points per dollar that represent a minimum of a 3% discount and would also work out to 4.5% in return if you use the points directly for travel through Chase.

To me, I don’t see how the airlines could ever compete with US card offerings. But, they could make it attractive for Europeans. Until recently, many European airlines (and maybe some may still do this?) would actually charge the customer the credit card transaction fee. Over the last couple of years, they have been taking that on so they are definitely motivated to save that money again.

HT: Financial Times

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Airlines can consider this but not the small business. Small businesses are held hostage by credit card companies/banks. “You must pay us more to compensate for the rewards unless you let us drop you. If so, you can’t accept any credit cards.”

    In other words, those cash back and miles comes from the small business.

    As a result, I try not to use credit cards for the small business or for tips. I don’t want to be a co-conspirator of extortion by the banks.

  • What about other benefits provided by credit card coverage? Trip delay and cancelation insurance, free bags… Pass.

  • For years, I have noticed foreign airlines with foreign websites will allow bank account draw payments but add a surcharge for credit card use. The airlines will eventually get a waiver from the credit card companies similar to gas stations or they will create a new booking class which requires non credit card payment.