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 entered into an agreement that allows the airline’s customers to pay with cryptocurrencies until 2023.
In order for the Spanish carrier to offer the service, it will use technology provided by UTAP, the aviation industry’s global payment network, which enables a fast check-in process, according to a PRNewswire report of 16 June 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 reaffirms its position as a digital airline. We are very pleased to have found in BitPay the best partner to offer our customers the opportunity to trade cryptocurrencies with the utmost 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 age of payments. UATP and BitPay have joined forces to bring this opportunity to the aviation industry. In addition, this service responds to the growing demand from Vueling customers to pay. with cryptocurrencies. “
Thus, Vueling takes the initiative and takes the lead in innovation in its payment services.
Opportunity to grow the market
Some might find this option anecdotal, but they would be wrong. Travala or XcelTrip Travel already offers this option, Vueling just wants to “follow” and attract a wider clientele. Prices will be quoted in Euros.
It’s a huge market opening up for Vueling via UnionPay. UnionPay is little known in Europe, where Visa and Mastercard are present in the European market, but by the end of 2021, the Asian giant is in first place 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 benefits greatly from the increased purchasing power of Chinese buyers at home and abroad. In 2020, about 40% of all credit card purchases worldwide were made through Visa, but UnionPay was just behind with 32%, and Mastercard followed with 24% (Statista – The Nilson Report 2021).
The Russian market is also opening up to Vueling, as 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. In addition, the company plans to pivot to Web 3, particularly with regard to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Metaverse.
There has been an increase in the acceptance of cryptocurrencies by luxury brands and broader traders 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 is worth noting that large companies do not care about the price of cryptocurrencies. By offering this payment option, they anticipate that cryptocurrencies are still on the rise: both a great marketing stunt and a way to attract new customers. This can not be ignored in a competitive market.