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Glossary

A business travel and payment landscape that gets more complex by the day can be difficult to navigate. It is true that digital transformation is helping our industry to be more agile and efficient, but it also brings new platforms, regulations and, of course, acronyms.

So, which core terms do you need to know?

  • A is for...

    API (application programming interface): This allows different software to talk to each other and exchange data. An example is Apple Wallet accessing British Airways’ electronic boarding passes.

    ARC (Airline Reporting Corporation): The organisation that regulates ticket sales and reports to the airlines for travel agencies.

    ASC (administrative service charge): This is usually the same as the ‘change fee’, or the fee to exchange the ticket for future travel.

  • B is for...

    BSP (billing and settlement plan): A central point through which all data and funds flow between travel agents and airlines. Rather than every agent having an individual relationship with each airline, information is consolidated through the BSP allowing agents to make one single payment to settle bookings.

  • C is for...

    Corporate card: A physical credit or charge card issued to an employee to pay for approved, business-related expenses.

    Corporate rate: A hotel rate designed to appeal to the needs of the business traveller. Corporate rates normally guarantee the best available room at a fixed cost for a specific period, typically outlined in a contract between the hotel and company.

  • E is for...

    EDI (electronic data interchange): This is the acronym for the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents between companies. EDI has broadly replaced faxing and posting.

    EMS (expense management system): A system used to import expenses directly from a credit card programme to create reports to be reviewed and approved or reimbursed by a manager.

    ERP (enterprise resource planning): This software generally includes all accounting features, such as accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll, and offers additional modules such as tangible and intangible assets, human resources and supply chain management.manager.

  • F is for...

    Fare basis: An alpha or alpha-numeric code used by airlines to identify a fare type and allow staff and travel agents to find the rules applicable. For example: F = First Class.

    Four-party card scheme: A card scheme where the four stakeholders involved are: the issuer; the acquirer the cardholder; and the card acceptor. Examples are MasterCard and Visa.

    FSC (full service carrier): Generally, IATA airlines (see under ‘I’) offering fare levels including traditional components such as check-in seat assignment and baggage allowance. For example: British Airways, American Airlines.

  • G is for...

    GDS (global distribution system): A network operated by a company that enables automated transactions between travel service providers – mainly airlines, hotels and car rental companies – and travel agencies. GDS systems are used by travel agencies to access information about availability and prices, and make reservations. Examples are Amadeus, Sabre, Galileo and Travelport.

  • H is for...

    HBA (hotel booking agency): An agency specialising in the management and booking of corporate accommodation and meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE).

  • I is for...

    Individual settlement: A method that sees the individual cardholder initially responsible for paying the bill or settling any outstanding amounts.

    IATA (International Air Transport Association): The organisation representing the airline industry, with a membership made up of around 230 airlines. Among its aims, the association seeks to raise awareness of how aviation benefits the economy; fight for airlines’ interests and ensure industry regulations are sensible. It also offers advice on reducing costs and improving safety standards while boosting efficiency.

    Interchange fee: In a four-party payment system, this is a fee paid by a merchant acquirer to the issuing bank. The fee compensates the issuer for the time after settlement with the acquiring bank and before it recoups the payment from the end user.

    Issuer: This refers to the bank, building society or financial organisation which provides payment cards to customers. The issuer oversees transactions made on these cards and is responsible for debiting funds from the relevant account.

  • L is for...

    LCC (low cost carrier): Also known as ‘no-frills airlines’, these carriers offer low-fare flights with reduced passenger services. Examples include: EasyJet, Ryanair, AirAsia and Norwegian Air.

    Level I data: Standard transaction data such as date, supplier and total purchase amount.

    Level II data: Enhanced transaction data which adds to Level I data a customer-defined reference number, such as a purchase order number, and separate sales tax amount. Information about Level II transactions is reported back to the company or institution and can be used to sort, reconcile and report transactions.

    Level III data: Line item detail, which is the highest of the three levels of data capture defined by Visa and MasterCard. It applies only to corporate purchasing card transactions, and incorporates descriptions of each component of the purchase, including full VAT details.

  • M is for...

    Merchant acquirer: A financial institution or entity that enrols merchants (suppliers) to accept card payments; provides related technology and services to the merchant; and facilitates payment flow. ‘Merchant acquirer’ is often shortened to ‘acquirer’.

    Merchant category codes: A system of four-digit codes used to identify a merchant’s principal trade, profession or line of business.

    Mobile payment: Also known as ‘mobile money’ and ‘mobile wallet’, this term refers to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed via a mobile device.

  • O is for...

    Online booking tool (OBT): Also known as a ‘self-booking tool’, this is used by organisations to manage their business travel online. As well as making bookings, organisations can usually use OBTs to view real-time data on their business travel spend, track their travellers online and enforce business policy.

  • P is for...

    Prepaid card: A debit card from which card transactions are deducted. These cards can be reloadable or non-reloadable.

  • R is for...

    RfP (request for proposal): A formal and systematic process used by organisations to lay out requirements and request information from potential suppliers before choosing a vendor.

  • S is for...

    SaaS (Software-as-a-Service): A delivery model in which software and associated data are centrally hosted online, generally replacing traditional on-device or on-premises software. SaaS vendors typically price applications based on a subscription fee, but often charge per transaction or event.

  • T is for...

    Three-party card scheme: Card payment system where the network acts as the issuer and merchant acquirer, working directly with end users and suppliers. An example is the traditional American Express model.

    TMC (travel management company): A corporate travel agent that manages an organisation’s business travel requirements. In addition to making reservations, a TMC will generally work with payment providers to help organisations gain control and visibility of their business travel spend.

  • U is for...

    UATP (universal air travel plan): A corporate travel payment network, similar to Visa and MasterCard, but owned and issued by airlines across the globe. The UATP network is accepted by thousands of merchants around the world for air, rail, car rental and travel agency payments.

  • Y is for...

    Yield management: A complex science used by accommodation and airlines for decades. This method sees suppliers increase or decrease the price based on demand. For example, prices will go up during peak travel times such as late December.

  • A is for...

    API (application programming interface): This allows different software to talk to each other and exchange data. An example is Apple Wallet accessing British Airways’ electronic boarding passes.

    ARC (Airline Reporting Corporation): The organisation that regulates ticket sales and reports to the airlines for travel agencies.

    ASC (administrative service charge): This is usually the same as the ‘change fee’, or the fee to exchange the ticket for future travel.

  • B is for...

    BSP (billing and settlement plan): A central point through which all data and funds flow between travel agents and airlines. Rather than every agent having an individual relationship with each airline, information is consolidated through the BSP allowing agents to make one single payment to settle bookings.

  • C is for...

    Corporate card: A physical credit or charge card issued to an employee to pay for approved, business-related expenses.

    Corporate rate: A hotel rate designed to appeal to the needs of the business traveller. Corporate rates normally guarantee the best available room at a fixed cost for a specific period, typically outlined in a contract between the hotel and company.

  • E is for...

    EDI (electronic data interchange): This is the acronym for the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents between companies. EDI has broadly replaced faxing and posting.

    EMS (expense management system): A system used to import expenses directly from a credit card programme to create reports to be reviewed and approved or reimbursed by a manager.

    ERP (enterprise resource planning): This software generally includes all accounting features, such as accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll, and offers additional modules such as tangible and intangible assets, human resources and supply chain management.manager.

  • F is for...

    Fare basis: An alpha or alpha-numeric code used by airlines to identify a fare type and allow staff and travel agents to find the rules applicable. For example: F = First Class.

    Four-party card scheme: A card scheme where the four stakeholders involved are: the issuer; the acquirer the cardholder; and the card acceptor. Examples are MasterCard and Visa.

    FSC (full service carrier): Generally, IATA airlines (see under ‘I’) offering fare levels including traditional components such as check-in seat assignment and baggage allowance. For example: British Airways, American Airlines.

  • G is for...

    GDS (global distribution system): A network operated by a company that enables automated transactions between travel service providers – mainly airlines, hotels and car rental companies – and travel agencies. GDS systems are used by travel agencies to access information about availability and prices, and make reservations. Examples are Amadeus, Sabre, Galileo and Travelport.

  • H is for...

    HBA (hotel booking agency): An agency specialising in the management and booking of corporate accommodation and meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE).

  • I is for...

    Individual settlement: A method that sees the individual cardholder initially responsible for paying the bill or settling any outstanding amounts.

    IATA (International Air Transport Association): The organisation representing the airline industry, with a membership made up of around 230 airlines. Among its aims, the association seeks to raise awareness of how aviation benefits the economy; fight for airlines’ interests and ensure industry regulations are sensible. It also offers advice on reducing costs and improving safety standards while boosting efficiency.

    Interchange fee: In a four-party payment system, this is a fee paid by a merchant acquirer to the issuing bank. The fee compensates the issuer for the time after settlement with the acquiring bank and before it recoups the payment from the end user.

    Issuer: This refers to the bank, building society or financial organisation which provides payment cards to customers. The issuer oversees transactions made on these cards and is responsible for debiting funds from the relevant account.

  • L is for...

    LCC (low cost carrier): Also known as ‘no-frills airlines’, these carriers offer low-fare flights with reduced passenger services. Examples include: EasyJet, Ryanair, AirAsia and Norwegian Air.

    Level I data: Standard transaction data such as date, supplier and total purchase amount.

    Level II data: Enhanced transaction data which adds to Level I data a customer-defined reference number, such as a purchase order number, and separate sales tax amount. Information about Level II transactions is reported back to the company or institution and can be used to sort, reconcile and report transactions.

    Level III data: Line item detail, which is the highest of the three levels of data capture defined by Visa and MasterCard. It applies only to corporate purchasing card transactions, and incorporates descriptions of each component of the purchase, including full VAT details.

  • M is for...

    Merchant acquirer: A financial institution or entity that enrols merchants (suppliers) to accept card payments; provides related technology and services to the merchant; and facilitates payment flow. ‘Merchant acquirer’ is often shortened to ‘acquirer’.

    Merchant category codes: A system of four-digit codes used to identify a merchant’s principal trade, profession or line of business.

    Mobile payment: Also known as ‘mobile money’ and ‘mobile wallet’, this term refers to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed via a mobile device.

  • O is for...

    Online booking tool (OBT): Also known as a ‘self-booking tool’, this is used by organisations to manage their business travel online. As well as making bookings, organisations can usually use OBTs to view real-time data on their business travel spend, track their travellers online and enforce business policy.

  • P is for...

    Prepaid card: A debit card from which card transactions are deducted. These cards can be reloadable or non-reloadable.

  • R is for...

    RfP (request for proposal): A formal and systematic process used by organisations to lay out requirements and request information from potential suppliers before choosing a vendor.

  • S is for...

    SaaS (Software-as-a-Service): A delivery model in which software and associated data are centrally hosted online, generally replacing traditional on-device or on-premises software. SaaS vendors typically price applications based on a subscription fee, but often charge per transaction or event.

  • T is for...

    Three-party card scheme: Card payment system where the network acts as the issuer and merchant acquirer, working directly with end users and suppliers. An example is the traditional American Express model.

    TMC (travel management company): A corporate travel agent that manages an organisation’s business travel requirements. In addition to making reservations, a TMC will generally work with payment providers to help organisations gain control and visibility of their business travel spend.

  • U is for...

    UATP (universal air travel plan): A corporate travel payment network, similar to Visa and MasterCard, but owned and issued by airlines across the globe. The UATP network is accepted by thousands of merchants around the world for air, rail, car rental and travel agency payments.

  • Y is for...

    Yield management: A complex science used by accommodation and airlines for decades. This method sees suppliers increase or decrease the price based on demand. For example, prices will go up during peak travel times such as late December.

AirPlus Terms

AirPlus Company Account: AirPlus’ dual platform (UATP and MasterCard) lodge card. The account is lodged with a company’s travel agency and used for central payment and in-depth data capture on travel bookings.

AirPlus Information Manager: An online, easy-to-use analysis and reporting tool for travel and finance managers, which consolidates all travel and payment information in one place.

AirPlus Travel Agency Account: A lodge and virtual payment solution for travel agencies. Built across AirPlus’ dual platform (UATP and MasterCard) a Travel Agency Account is an all-round solution allowing IATA and non-IATA travel agencies to handle the payment of travel services. Travel agencies use the solution by integrating accounts with their booking platforms and mid- or back-office systems to fully automate their payment processes.

AirPlus Virtual Payment: This is a centrally billed virtual MasterCard solution, integrated with industry-leading booking tools, that can pay hotels and low-cost carriers. The solution generates secure, single-use MasterCard numbers that can be used as a central payment method while capturing enhanced invoice data on purchases.

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