Ingenico Group announced last month that it will be providing payment processing and consulting services to online travel agency Trip.com. In an exclusive interview, The Moodie Davitt Report’s Mark Lane discusses the deal with Ingenico ePayments Asia Pacific General Manager Nathan Salisbury.
Signing Trip.com is a significant win for global payments provider Ingenico Group and for the whole travel payments sector.
Trip.com is, after all, one of the world’s leading online travel agencies and part of the mighty Ctrip Group – the world’s second largest travel booking company. It has more than 30,000 employees and over 300 million members and has built a network of more than 1.2 million hotels in 200 countries and regions. It provides travel booking services including flights, hotels, trains and cars in 13 different languages covering more than two million individual flight routes connecting more than 5,000 cities around the globe.
“The deal is considerable. Trip.com may become one of our top ten merchants in China in terms of transaction volume processed in 2018,’’ says Ingenico ePayments Asia Pacific General Manager Nathan Salisbury. “Trip.com is a great addition to our range of travel and tourism clients, further strengthening our existing portfolio of top tier OTAs [online travel agencies].’’
Paris-headquartered Ingenico, founded in 1980, has more than 8,000 employees and operates in 170 countries. In 2017 it recorded €2.5 billion in revenues, and net profits of €256 million.
The group will help Trip.com provide local acquiring connections to improve the success rate of online card payments for its members. Ingenico’s multi-acquirer solution automatically reroutes declined payments to a backup acquirer, enabling higher authorisation rates.
This agreement marks a major milestone for the development of Trip.com’s business in the Chinese market, which it first entered in 2007 with a single airline. Over the past ten years, the number of Chinese online transactions processed annually by Ingenico has grown to 180 times its original level, which, Salisbury points out, underlines the enormous increase in cross-border e-commerce.
To service this growing market, in July 2017 Ingenico opened a new office at Shanghai Lujiazui Financial Center, doubling its number of Chinese employees to provide a range of services, including commercial, risk, merchant services, solution consulting and merchant implementation.
“This enables us to offer a 24/7 customised local service to our Chinese cross-border merchants, including Trip.com,’’ says Salisbury. “Our rich experience with many of the world’s top OTAs, airlines and hotels across the Asia Pacific region and globally is valued by Trip.com and matches with their global expansion goals.’’
Ingenico began talking to Ctrip in early 2017, and the two parties spent over six months drawing up and finalising the contract.
Salisbury adds: “From when the agreement was signed in 2017, we began to process payment flow for Trip.com, starting in a few markets only. As we did, we demonstrated clear strengths in terms of transaction conversion rates and stability. Our presence in China is the largest of any of the top tier international PSPs [Payment Service Providers], allowing us to provide a local service.
“This includes regular performance reviews with the Ctrip payment team to fully understand their needs. Given the stable performance of our multi-acquirer solution, our comprehensive payment analysis and bespoke solutions for Ctrip’s focus markets, Trip.com is showing more and more confidence in our services.’’
Ingenico said it looked forward to expanding its partnership with Trip.com to include third party payment methods.
Salisbury explains: “Alternative payment methods are an important addition for merchants who are looking to increase acceptance in certain markets. This includes e-wallets, real-time banking, pre-paid cards, bank transfers and so on.
“Given the diversity of local payment preferences around the globe, optimising the acceptance of third party payment methods can help Trip.com drive more revenue and convert sales. Our platform seamlessly integrates third party payment methods so merchants can quickly add products without operational impact.’’
Ingenico devotes more than 7% of its revenue to research and development, so, what is the future likely to hold for the group in terms of technology and security?
“It all starts with having reliable and accurate transaction data – and easy access to it,’’ says Salisbury. “We have the tools to help our merchants analyse transaction data and optimise performance, but we continue to develop them and build out our global acquiring capabilities to ensure we are at the cutting edge of technology and security, and provide our merchants with the highest transaction success rates.
“We’re currently working on a predictive analysis module within our award-winning tool, Elevate, as well as actively developing solutions that extend our grip on fraud and risk. Next week, we’ll be launching our ‘fraud-free’ solution alongside Fraugster that protects merchants from chargeback exposure. We are also supporting our clients with a next generation authentication solution, 3D Secure 2.0, that will reduce consumer friction while moving the liability to the issuer.’’
This should certainly be enough to keep Ingenico busy in the fast-growing travel payments sector and rapidly-expanding Asia Pacific travel market.