The sixth annual ARC Payments Forum took place virtually this year and was attended by 110 participants representing 50 companies. Attendees from across the travel and payments industries included:

  • Credit card brands
  • Airlines
  • Travel agencies and online travel agencies (OTAs)
  • Global distribution systems (GDSs) and other system providers
  • Credit card acquirers and processors
  • IATA
  • Several other companies that work with airline payments

The goal of the ARC Payments Forum is to bring all of the participants in the airline and travel agency distribution channel together to focus on initiatives that ensure that we as an industry are supporting payment processing in a way that provides the best customer experience, improves risk management and therefore prevents loss, and ensures the lowest cost processing of payments.

The travel and payments industries are most successful when they work together to identify and manage industry changes.

Since the first ARC Payments Forum, ARC has been working with the industry to drive key data integrity initiatives that ensure transactions are settled successfully at the lowest cost, and are eligible for liability shift when 3D Secure is used. The travel and payments industries are most successful when they work together to identify and manage industry changes.

Key Takeaways

  • There is cautious optimism for a rebound following COVID-19.
  • As a result of COVID-19, the industry may see the emergence of new alternative forms of payment.

Takeaways for Airlines

  • There continue to be opportunities to improve data quality and therefore decrease payment acceptance costs. Any airlines experiencing an increase in interchange or non-compliance fees for transactions processed through ARC are encouraged to reach out to the ARC Payments team at
  • Managing chargebacks and disputes in a COVID-19 environment is different than managing typical fraud disputes. ARC has compiled a list of chargeback and dispute resources from card brands to help airlines manage chargebacks and disputes tied to COVID-19.

Takeaways for Travel Agencies and OTAs

  • The infrastructure to support 3D Secure as an online fraud prevention tool is in various stages of implementation within the GDSs and system providers. Agencies interested in using 3D Secure are encouraged to contact their system provider for additional information.
  • The card brands have published valuable guidance for merchants to manage chargebacks and tied to COVID-19. ARC also communicated a position on handing COVID-19-related debit memos.

Next Steps

ARC will continue working with the industry on several initiatives, including:

  • Improving the chargeback management process between airlines and travel agencies, advocating with card brands on dispute-related issues
  • Implementing changes to support EMV 3DS (3D Secure 2.0), and to support 3DS multi-merchant transactions
  • Evaluating transactional data to identify gaps and work with the system providers and acquirers to improve data quality and authorization rates
  • Evaluating and implementing changes to support alternative forms of payment that meet evolving consumer needs

The next ARC Payments Forum is currently scheduled for April 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. If you are interested in participating, please contact the ARC Payments team at