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Today we are launching the latest report in our Skift Trends Reports service, Digital Payments in Travel 2016.
Imagine this scenario:
You book your flight and hotel using Apple Pay (or Samsung Pay); jump into your neighborhood Uber (or Lyft) and head straight to the airport but not before paying with your digital wallet; landing in Dubai you transfer local credits to your account through a bitcoin enabled transfer platform that eliminates any transaction or currency exchange fees that you may have paid in the past; upon landing, you connect directly to Dubai’s city-wide loyalty platform, powered by blockchain technology, and now you’re connected, enjoying preferential discounts via loyalty points that you had earned back home and now use to redeem deals from local partner networks. A handful of business meetings, dinners, lunches, and coffee shop meetings later – all paid for and split among colleagues fair and square with a swipe of your phone – and you’re heading home without ever having pulled your credit or debit card out of your wallet.
This is the new reality that travel brands now need to work with. The global digital payments ecosystem is undergoing a rapid and monumental shift; smart travel brands should stay on top of the shifts in how we pay for goods and services. Peer-to-peer payment platforms, digital wallets, and cryptocurrencies may have been a thing of science fiction just years ago. Yet, many of the data points now clearly suggest otherwise.
Venmo processed more than $1 billion just in the month of January 2016; usage continues to explode. Apple Pay launched in October of 2014 amid skepticism, yet now touts over two million point of sale locations in the U.S. and growing fast. Australia, Canada, the UK, and China have all joined the list of countries where Apple Pay is now live. Airbnb, Delta, Expedia, Hotel Tonight, Lyft, Priceline, and Uber all now accept Apple Pay. Over 141 million transactions have been processed with Bitcoin since the decentralized currency launched in 2009.
Traditional credit and debit card transactions still dominate the payment method landscape, but for how long? Banks are worried about Apple Pay, and for good reason. Bigger retailers have it easier with digital payments but all of that is changing thanks to a few good startups.
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