US entrant stirs up Australia’s ‘virtual credit card’ travel payment market

Issues & Trends – June 2013

US entrant stirs up Australia’s ‘virtual credit card’ travel payment market

THE Australian-developed eNett “virtual credit card” travel payment solution is now facing stiff competition from a US rival.

The New York Stock Exchange-listed WEX Inc. this month named Webjet as the launch customer for its system in Australia and this was quickly followed by an announcement from Wotif that it is also adopting the American system.

Webjet has implemented the solution through WEX’s local subsidiary, Wright Express Australia, according to the WEX announcement.

“(Webjet) continues to expand the program to meet its global travel payment needs including settlement in eight currencies,” the announcement stated.

The WEX statement highlights that its product is used in markets around the world. But the Australian product is also marketed globally, and this has accelerated since it was taken over by Travelport.

Interestingly, Webjet has close links with Travelport, being a major user of Galileo which for many years had a significant equity holding in the online travel agency.

Illustrating the close ties, Zuji is in the process of transitioning to the Travelport GDS following Webjet’s acquisition of the Asian online travel agency.

Webjet managing director John Guscic declined to elaborate on why his company preferred the Wright Express product.

“I don’t comment on why we choose a particular product over rival products,” he told travelBulletin.
The WEX statement quotes Guscic saying: “The WEX virtual card solution provides a flexible, reliable and efficient method of paying suppliers … Webjet is always looking to adopt innovative solutions that advance our business.”

According to Wright Express Australia managing director Asia Pacific Greg Drumm: “WEX’s market-leading technology enables Webjet to enhance revenue, cut costs and increase efficiencies.”

Meanwhile Wotif has announced that it will adopt WEX as an alternative payment method for accommodation partners by August.

Wotif group product director Donna Rodios said that accommodation suppliers have been requesting the virtual card solution for some time.

“We’re confident this additional service will bolster our relationship with current partners and encourage new suppliers to join the group, particularly from overseas where virtual credit cards are a preferred payment method,” she said.


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