Thought Leadership & Community


Travel Industry Must Consider Offering Contactless Payment.

By Travel Trends

As part of the Collaboratory 2020 webinar series, GBTA Interim Executive Director Dave Hilfman hosted Jim McGowan, Marqeta’s Head of eCommerce, on Monday to discuss the growth of contactless payment systems and how the travel industry can benefit from this modern technology. Marqeta is a leader in contactless payments, having developed the world’s first open API modern card issuing platform.

“Contactless payment is a technology emerging at just the right time, as the pandemic has heightened consumers’ desires for safe and convenient ways to process transactions,” said Hilfman.

During the webinar, McGowan offered several key takeaways, including:

  • Contactless payment could play a role in getting the public traveling again. COVID-19 has brought contactless payment to the forefront in the corporate world, with more businesses understanding that these advances will need to be adopted quickly to get people more comfortable with getting back on the road safely.

  • The U.S. lags other countries in adopting contactless payment. U.S. credit card companies didn’t incorporate the contactless technology when they transitioned to EMV chip cards a few years ago, but they are realizing the huge market potential for contactless cards in the U.S. and are quickly trying to catch up.

  • The travel industry is ready to adopt new technologies like contactless payment. Leisure and business travel have long been working with a virtual card process, like those used with GDSs. In some ways, contactless payment is the next evolution of this, with modern platforms already in existence to help travel management companies adopt and integrate with these innovative solutions.

  • The pandemic is accelerating the adoption of new technologies. “Disruptors” are creating ways to break out from the status quo. We’ll continue to see innovators come up with new products to address challenges, including in contactless payment and virtual cards systems like Venmo and Cash App, which are used to transfer money from consumer to consumer.

“The travel industry will rebound, so now is the time for travel companies to get out in front of solutions for a post-pandemic world by researching and discovering what’s new and available,” said McGowan.

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