Southlake-based travel software and tech provider Sabre Corp. and England-based Conferma Pay, a global fintech firm that specializes in payment technology, announced a new partnership with Mastercard to accelerate the use of virtual cards for business-to-business travel payments.
Sabre said the announcement builds on its August 2022 acquisition of Conferma Pay and said the collaboration with Mastercard is the next step in advancing Sabre’s goal to create an open and independent travel payment ecosystem.
“The payments industry is in the midst of a revolution and there’s an increased need for travel companies to better manage the whole payment experience,” Roshan Mendis, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Sabre Travel Solutions, said in a statement. “Companies in the travel space—including travel management companies, travel agencies, corporations, issuers, and technology partners—need sophisticated solutions and seamless connections.”
With the acquisition of Conferma Pay, Mendis says, Sabre is taking strategic steps to fulfill the needs of its industry. Together with Mastercard, the exec says, Conferma Pay can build new and enhanced digital capabilities in virtual cards to transform the payment experience for issuers.
Digitization of travel payments with virtual cards helps address the historic challenges associated with B2B leisure and corporate travel payments, according to Sabre. The securely generated, single-use card numbers provide a link between booking and associated payments to third party suppliers.
Travel buyers and suppliers can easily track and reconcile payments and will benefit from flexible pricing, financing options, and enhanced security through card payment guarantees, the company said in a statement.
Mastercard has agreed to make a minority investment in Conferma Pay as part of the agreement, which will continue to operate independently and serve the entire travel industry and beyond.
Sabre said that Mastercard’s investment in Conferma Pay is subject to customary closing conditions.
“A combination of experience, technologies, and capabilities will accelerate travel payment innovation and drive inclusive and sustainable growth for the sector,” Chris Fendley, EVP, Enterprise Partnerships at Mastercard, said in a statement. “Virtual cards deliver visibility, boost liquidity and increase control over B2B payment flows, which enhance payment strategies and empower organizations across the travel value chain to run, grow and protect their business, which has never been more essential.”
Sabre said that Conferma Pay connects issuers to more than 700 travel management companies, all the major global distribution systems, and more than 100 online booking tools. Conferma Pay is fully integrated with all the major card schemes and serves more than 50 banking partners that issue Conferma Pay-generated virtual cards in nearly 100 currencies.
“We’ve already made significant inroads in the B2B travel space through partnering with Sabre,” Conferma Pay Interim CEO Martin Cowley said in a statement. “We are excited about the new investments. This, combined with our existing strong relationships, will enable Conferma Pay to build on our global footprint and be at the forefront of addressing industry challenges and opportunities.”
Sabre said its Virtual Payments will continue to offer Conferma Pay services with increased capabilities that help travel buyers, agencies, and corporations best support travel customer needs. Sabre Virtual Payments is a unique, secure, automated, and integrated end-to-end payment solution designed to simplify and add value to the transactions that TMCs, OTAs, travel agencies, corporations, and travel suppliers do every day, the company said.