Spanish airline Vueling is partnering with BitPay and the Universal Air Travel Program (UTAP) to accept cryptocurrencies as a new form of payment. From 2023, customers will be able to buy tickets online with a choice of 13 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).
13 cryptocurrency options
Vueling and BitPay have reached an agreement that will allow the airline’s customers to pay with cryptocurrencies until 2023.
For the Spanish carrier to offer the service, it will use technology provided by UTAP, the airline industry’s global payment network, which allows for a fast check-in process, according to a PRNewswire report from June 16, 2022.
Thanks to this partnership, Vueling will be the first low-cost airline in Europe to accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) as a means of payment.
“With this agreement, Vueling once again reaffirms its position as a digital airline. We are very happy to have found in BitPay the best partner to offer our customers the possibility of transacting with cryptocurrencies with the greatest security and reliability. »
Crypto payment options can be made in 13 cryptocurrencies including: Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Shiba Inu (SHIB) and Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC). Rachel Morowitz, Vice President of Partner Processing at UTAP, added:
“Offering cryptocurrencies as a form of payment to the buying public is a necessity in this digital era of payments. UATP and BitPay have partnered to bring this option to the airline industry. In addition, this service responds to the growing demand from Vueling customers to pay with cryptocurrencies. »
Thus, Vueling takes the initiative and spearheads innovation in its payment services.
The opportunity to grow the market
Some might find this possibility anecdotal, but they would be wrong. Travala or XcelTrip Travel already offer this option, Vueling just wants to “follow” and attract a wider clientele. The prices will be indicated in euros.
It is a huge market that is opening up to Vueling via UnionPay. UnionPay is little known in Europe, where Visa and Mastercard are present in the European market, but at the end of 2021, the Asian giant ranks first in the number of cards in circulation in the world with 9.4 billion bank cards. Visa has $3.7 billion and Mastercard has $2.5 billion in circulation.
UnionPay is benefiting greatly from the increased purchasing power of Chinese buyers at home and abroad. In 2020, around 40% of all credit card purchases worldwide were made through Visa, but UnionPay was just behind at 32% and Mastercard followed at 24% (Statista – The Nilson Report 2021).
The Russian market is also opening up to Vueling since Mastercard, Visa and American Express withdrew from the market following international sanctions. Russia has issued over 4 million UnionPay cards.
Following suit, Emirates also plans to accept Bitcoin as a new form of payment. Additionally, the company plans to pivot to Web 3, especially in terms of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Metaverse.
There has been an increase in the acceptance of cryptocurrencies by luxury brands and broader merchants for some time now.
In fact, a study published by Deloitte and Paypal on June 9 confirmed that 75% of US merchants plan to accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment within the next 2 years.
In a sluggish market, it’s worth noting that big companies don’t care much about the price of cryptocurrencies. By offering this payment option, they predict that cryptocurrencies are still on the rise: both a good marketing stunt and a way to attract new customers. This cannot be ignored in a competitive market.
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Vueling Airlines Will Accept Crypto Payments
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