Expedia’s Vice President of Global Payments, Jing Yang, on how the industry is navigating the future of fintech
Find managing a single trip stressful? Try overseeing a billion. That’s how many the travel tech company Expedia Group has clocked up over the past decade. Now averaging 500,000 transactions across its platform every day, the Seattle-based business processes billions of dollars in payments and refunds each year. Jing Yang, Vice President of Global Payments at Expedia Group, is responsible for ensuring they all go smoothly...
What’s the secret to getting payments right?
JING YANG: For any business, large or small, I advise capturing as much internal payments data as possible before investing in strong payment analytics and using this data to quickly spot trends and identify issues.
Like many companies, Expedia Group grew through acquisitions. As the company acquired new brands, it assimilated the payments data and consolidated the information into a single global payments platform, making for a powerful bank of knowledge.
In 2022, we prevented nearly $2 billion in fraud attempts, ranging from fake listings to credit card fraud—and helped not only consumers, but the wider business community. Many times, our business intelligence detected configuration or coding problems on an issuing bank system that the issuing bank itself did not know about. We notified them and they fixed the bugs. Every merchant and consumer that transacted with that bank’s card is benefiting from our analytics.
Expedia recently launched a platform that provides payment tools to others. Why does that make sense for you strategically?
Expedia Group is well known for its flagship traveler- facing brands, namely Expedia, Hotels.com and Vrbo, but we also have a large business-to-business (B2B) segment that powers businesses, like Walmart and SoFi, with our own tech. So whether you are a large bank or a small travel agency and want to break into travel or expand your current offerings but don’t want to deal with all the complexity—supplier connectivity, payments processing, fraud prevention, and so on—you can come to Expedia Group.
Making swift, easy payments core to your brand differentiates your offer from competitors. We have built a reliable and scalable platform that ensures less revenue loss and a better platform experience that builds trust with both travelers and suppliers.
It seems every online marketplace now offers “buy now, pay later” as a payment option. How do you ensure it is being used responsibly?
There’s no doubt that “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) is booming. But businesses must be conscious of the fact that it is a form of easy-to-access credit for shoppers. First and foremost, any BNPL [provider] needs to be financially sound and their practices need to be sound too. My advice is to ask a lot of questions of any provider before onboarding their services.
For example, look at the APR. How does that benchmark against what is acceptable in the industry? Enquire about the underwriting practice, too—make sure they have the right technology to underwrite a customer accurately, so that you can be reassured that you are working with responsible lenders.
How do you think innovations in digital ID will change the industry?
Expedia Group recently leveraged digital ID services to level up our customer loyalty offer. We recently launched OneKey, a unified loyalty program that brings together Expedia, Hotels.com and Vrbo so travelers have a universal login and can earn and spend rewards across the brands.
With this universal login, travelers can store their mileage from different airlines and hotels, their passport numbers, and their travel preferences, all in one place. We find providing this convenience keeps the customer within your ecosystem for longer— boosting sales and raising customer satisfaction.
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