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Global consumer demand for mobile payment options to purchase airline tickets, finds WorldPay

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Consumers are itching to embrace mobile payments to purchase airline tickets, according to the global Perfect Passenger Payment insights report, commissioned by WorldPay.

6% of consumers have used mobile payments to purchase a flight in the last 12 months but 50% would use a mobile device to purchase airline tickets now if they could, and 62% expect this to be an option available to them in the future. 56% of consumers already travel with a smartphone or tablet device, and airline passengers are keen to embrace mobile devices during their airport-to-flight experience, with 61% wishing to use a mobile or tablet device to check-in.

The global study of 4,500 consumers from the UK, US, China, Japan, Brazil, Finland, Spain, Germany, France, and 51 airline merchants including low cost, regional and global carriers explored the consumer expectations and payment experience when purchasing a ticket online.

The Perfect Passenger Payment Report finds that the UK has the highest number of consumers most likely to be presented with hidden surcharges during the payment process that had not been made clear at the outset (41%); the lowest was in Japan (8%).

Chinese consumers are the most advanced in using mobile payments; 34% have used a mobile device to purchase a flight in the last 12 months. eWallets are also popular in China (50%). On average, the highest percentage of consumers (68%) uses a personal credit card to purchase a ticket. UK consumers are most likely to use a debit card (61% compared to 56% for credit).

Some 80% of consumers think it is unfair to be charged to use their preferred method of payment, particularly those who favour eWallets (87%), direct debits (86%) and debit cards (84%).

The average customer takes 25 minutes to complete an airline ticket payment purchase. The fastest is in Japan (20 minutes) and the slowest in Brazil (32 minutes) 33% of consumers claim the process was faster than they expected.

Phil McGriskin, chief product officer, WorldPay commented: “Consumers are increasingly embracing technology such as smartphones and tablets to purchase goods and services online and this report shows that there is a demand for among customers to be able to purchase airline tickets using mobile technology. Currently only a small percentage of airlines offer mobile payments to their customers but a high percentage of customers, particularly frequent flyers, would like the option to be made available. As more airlines embrace mobile technology for other parts of the airport-to-flight experience, we expect this to be extended to the payment process.”

Surcharge transparency is one of the biggest issues for consumers. 28% felt they had been presented with ‘hidden’ charges but in fact 65% of customers said they would be prepared to pay a percentage of their flight cost towards surcharges. 3.8% of their fare was the global average consumers would be prepared to pay.

Phil McGriskin, chief product officer, WorldPay concludes: “The vast majority of consumers accept that surcharges are unavoidable and are in fact willing to pay a certain percentage of their flight costs towards covering these charges. The main concern is transparency.”

UK consumers are the most cautious when it comes to speed over security. Only 19% would prefer a faster payment process with less security questions compared to 66% of consumers in China. 1 in 10 consumers have had an online payment declined when purchasing an airline ticket, with 42% saying the reason why it was declined was not made clear to them.

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