Vueling Airlines (Barcelona) claims to have become the first airline in the world to implement a contactless payment method using a cell phone. The airline issued this statement:
Vueling once again leads the pack in technological innovation, become the first airline in the world to implement contactless systems for paying with cell phones. On its app the pioneering Barcelona-based airline has deployed two revolutionary systems —Near Field Communication (NFC), and Scanning— to enable users to automatically enter their personal and credit card data during the purchase process. The two systems are available for telephones using the Android operating system. For security’s sake they are enabled only to fill in the data, but not to complete the purchase. A version for the Apple iOS is initially confined to storing credit card data which can be retrieved only upon detection of the user’s fingerprint when needed for a purchase.
The NFC system reads and transmits wireless data, and it needs a contactless credit card and a terminal enabled for its use. The Scanning system requires only a camera phone to photograph the credit card. The system extracts the necessary data from the photo and transmits it automatically to the app. The service is optional, and can be invoked from the “payment data” screen. There the user may choose one of these options for automatically entering the personal and credit card data needed for a purchase. At the end of the process the user must select “Pay now” to complete the payment.
This new service on Vueling’s app reflects the company’s strategy for giving customers the easiest possible experience that is compatible with security. Vueling’s IT chief Samuel Lacarta comments “We have to take advantage of the speed of technological advances to enable the customer to worry only about when and where to fly, and not waste time copying credit card numbers, for example. If we can do this without compromising security, the customer will have a much simpler experience, which is what technology is for.”
Since launching its website in 2004 and the creation of its cell phone app in 2009, Vueling has been positioned as a leader in the use of technology to smooth and enhance passengers’ travel experience. The cell phone app for iOS and Android, incorporates the airline’s three fare levels, along with a space for flight status information via the Vueling.com website, and the option to use a wearable boarding pass with Sony’s Smartwatch 2.
Vueling Airlines aircraft slide show: