ARC Payments Forum 2018 – Working Together to Implement Payment Solutions for the Industry

The fourth annual ARC Payments Forum took place in Washington D.C. on July 13-14. Over 70 participants, including airlines, system providers, payment processors, acquirers, IATA and card brands were in attendance. This year, travel agents were also invited to participate for the first time. Given that travel agents are the point of sale, agency participation is valuable, especially as changes in the payments industry accelerate.

The goal of the ARC Payments Forum is to bring all participants in the transaction flow together to solve problems and improve processes. The ARC Payments Forum works to ensure the air travel industry’s consistent support of payment acceptance and processing best practices, ultimately providing a positive customer experience, improving risk management, preventing loss, and ensuring cost-effective payment processing. The Forum discusses payment-related initiatives in the industry and works together to identify how to drive the changes required to support those initiatives, whether through education, technology advancements or collaboration.

This year’s agenda included a presentation from ARC about NDC and ONE Order, as well as the importance of incorporating payment into any distribution strategy. ARC also presented an update on various payment-related initiatives that impact participants. Cardinal Commerce discussed 3D Secure 2.0, and Visa, Mastercard, and Discover also presented important updates. Finally, Citcon (the leading service provider in North America for Chinese mobile wallets WeChat Pay and Alipay) gave a presentation about these payments and how they support them.

The following were also highlights from the ARC Payments Forum:

  1. Chargeback management changes
  2. Credit authorization initiatives
  3. Rule changes for processing transactions when cardholder information is stored electronically for use in transaction processing (i.e., credentials on file)
  4. Data security initiatives
  5. 3D Secure 2.0
  6. New card brand payment options
  7. Fraud prevention
  8. Omni-channel support initiatives

Want to hear more about the ARC Payments Forum, or interested in participating in future meetings? Please register for the ARC Payment Forum Webinar on August 23rd by clicking here. Additionally, please reach out to Kevin Haag, Manager, Credit Card Services at

Updates to ARC Payment Processing Will Save Airlines $72 Million Annually

We are pleased to announce that ARC successfully implemented changes to the American Express ARC Credit Card Billing Files to begin outputting two new data elements. The first data element is a Merchant Category Code (MCC). It is required by American Express for every transaction and identifies the type of merchant — in our case, airline. The second data element is the Point of Service (POS) Data Code and is also required for every transaction (credit or debit). ARC doesn’t currently receive this data from the GDSs for refund transactions, so for this project, ARC pulls data from the original sale for output to American Express. In addition, ARC made changes to output POS Data Code on every transaction, even when it is missing from the GDS.

The ultimate goal of this project is to ensure that our airlines continue to enjoy the lowest possible American Express card acceptance costs.

Based on information we have about American Express non-compliance fees, and given that ARC processes approximately $24 billion in American Express transactions annually, the savings to the airlines is estimated to be $72 million annually.

If you have questions about this change, or any questions about the ARC payment process, please contact Kevin Haag, Manager, Credit Card Services at

New Notifications Now Available on Carrier Dashboard

Effective July 19, four new notifications are available in the Carrier Dashboard: Legal Name Change, Home Office Redesignation Change, Federal Taxpayer Identification Change and Ownership Change. With these new notifications now available in Carrier Dashboard, the Miscellaneous and Ownership Approval bulletins on the Carrier/ASP website will no longer be posted.

Moving the four notifications to Carrier Dashboard is another step toward moving all notifications from Carrier/ASP to the Carrier Dashboard, making Carrier Dashboard your central location for all notifications.

While no new Miscellaneous and Ownership Approval bulletins will be posted on the Carrier/ASP website, all existing bulletins posted in these categories will remain on the website for 12 months for historical reference.

For any questions or support, please contact the Airline Help Desk at 855-816-8007 or

Update to ARC Settlement: Consolidation of Area Banks

ARC maintains three processing centers, also known as area banks, as part of its Area Settlement Plan (ASP). All sales transactions and related payments flow through these area banks. Area banks have been a part of ARC’s ASP since its inception and were originally physical locations handling paper tickets. ARC has phased out a number of area banks as well as the physical locations throughout the years and currently has three area banks remaining as part of ASP processing.

With ARC’s current technology, multiple processing centers are no longer needed. As part of ARC’s transformation effort, we are initiating a project to consolidate the remaining three area banks down to one. We will begin moving agencies from area banks IAP/04 (04) and ELW/05 (05) into area bank IAR/07 (07), which will remain as the sole area bank. The project to move agencies will take approximately 12-15 weeks, as we plan to move groups of agencies out of area banks 04 and 05 and into area bank 07.

Area Bank Consolidation Plan

We will be moving agencies out of area bank 05 first, then out of area bank 04. The tentative schedule is below; however, please note that this could change, as we will be moving agencies over a period of time to ensure the settlement process is not disrupted.

  • Move agents from area bank 05 into area bank 07 ( July 12 – August 17, 2018 )
  • Move agents from area bank 04 into area bank 07 ( August 24 – October 12, 2018 )
  • Complete any additional agency movements ( October 15 – November 1, 2018 )
  • Shut down area banks 04 and 05 ( November 2 –19, 2018 )

Once the migration of all agencies from area banks 04 and 05 is completed, we will shut those banks down at the end of the project, leaving only area bank 07.

What This Means for Your Airline

As agencies are migrated, you will see sales volume shifting from area banks 04 and 05 into area bank 07. Once area banks 04 and 05 are shut down, you will no longer receive CAT files for area banks 04 and 05, only for area bank 07. Additionally, all transactions will be consolidated into area bank 07 for carrier reporting, which includes OCR reports, paper reports and CDs.

If you missed the webinar on July 11, you may listen to the recording on the Airline Education Portal behind My ARC. Additionally, we will continue to communicate with you as the project progresses, providing you with updates and any changes to timelines.

If you have any questions on this matter, please feel free to contact the Airline Help Desk at or 855-816-8007.

Airline Tip: Reactivating a Memo in Memo Manager

Once a memo reaches its age limit, the memo automatically becomes inactive. When a memo is inactive, an agency cannot pay or dispute a memo. The validating airline has the option to reactivate the memo making it active for the receiving agency.

To reactivate a memo:

  1. Click the Inactive tab from the homepage to display a list of inactive memos.
  2. Click the check box of the memo you would like to reactivate.
  3. Select the View option from the Select Action drop-down menu to go to the Memo Details page.
  4. Click the Reactivate button. An alert box will display asking if you are sure you want to reactivate this memo. Click Yes to confirm.
  5. A success box will display, confirming the memo has been updated. Select OK to close the box.

An administrator for the airline can set the age limit by adjusting the Aging Roll Off option on the Entity Administration page. The limit can be set as high as 999 days. For additional guidelines on Memo Manager, please see the Memo Manger User Guide for Airlines, available for download here.

Education Corner

Learn More about the Importance of the ARC Payment Forum
August 23
2:00 p.m.