Airline offers customers incentive to pay with debit card

The typical American will go to great lengths to save some money on their travel costs. They become their own travel agent, scouring Priceline, Kayak, Expedia and Travelocity to find the best deals, mixing and matching airlines and choosing less-than-ideal travel times if they feel it’s worth it.

The goal is often to save considerable sums of money if at all possible – a dollar here and there won’t make that much of a difference to most customers. But, some airlines are hoping that if customers might be inclined to save themselves – and the airline – a few dollars simply by choosing to use a different form of payment.

Because of the credit card processing costs they are required to pay, relative to those that are associated with debit card fees, some airlines are providing customers with what amounts to a “discount” to pay with their debit cards instead. Allegiant, for example, is going this route.

“On a typical trip from Rockford, Illinois, to Orlando, Florida, it posts a base fare of $94.99 one-way, net of a $4 debit card discount,” Smarter Travel reported last week. “You can still pay with a credit card, but you pay $98.99. Several overseas low-fare lines have done the same thing.”

The decision by airlines to offer this incentive is not at all unlike gas stations that offer 10-cent discounts on cash purchases. While these types of incentives are attractive to consumers, the fact is that credit card purchases do build in an extra level of protection for users in case services are not rendered as promised.

Without reliable credit card processing software in place, businesses could be limited in the options they provide to customers.

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