Asian travellers are embracing alternative payment methods

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Travellers around the world are increasingly paying for their travel with alternative payment methods such as e-wallets and bank transfers, more often than cards and cash combined, a new report jointly commissioned by Amadeus and cross-border payment specialist PPRO revealed.

According to The Travel Payments Guide report, this growth is occurring across the world with e-Wallets now twice as popular as cards in China, accounting for 49% of the country’s US$155 billion digital travel spend. In the US, e-wallets may replace cards as the most popular way to pay by 2025, having gained an additional 4% share of the market in the last 12 months.

Alternative payment methods such as scanning QR codes with a smartphone are becoming an increasingly convenient way to pay while travelling

Data from the report also showed that Asia leads the way in alternative payments, accounting for 58% of the region’s spend, closely followed by Europe where alternative payments represent 53% of spend. In North America, cards remain the most popular way to pay, representing 58% of all e-commerce spend, although that share has fallen from 62% just 12 months earlier.

James Booth, PPRO’s vice president – head of partnerships (EMEA), said in a statement: “Travel has always been at the forefront of e-commerce and our data shows it commands a significant share of the pie. Some of the largest markets in the world are seeing alternative, local payments take more than 7% market share in a single year so travel merchants really do need to move quickly now.”

Bart Tompkins, managing director, payments, Amadeus, commented: “This data highlights how quickly the payments landscape is changing and the increasing complexity facing travel merchants.

“It should be noted that despite less travellers paying with cards directly, many do rely on the card networks in the background. So, cards will continue to be essential payments infrastructure for our industry,” he noted.

There are now more than 300 different ways to pay for travel around the world, according to the Amadeus PPRO Travel Payments Guide which analysed e-commerce and digital travel spend across 40 of the world’s largest markets.

The report relied on a range of data sources including central banks, national e-commerce associations, IATA, and globally-recognised publicly available databases.

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