Buy now, pay later service for travel strikes first contracts

By Ryan Weeks on Thursday 10 November 2016

Alternative Lending

Travel specialist UpLift brings fintech-powered point-of-sale service to major travel brands.

UpLift, a fintech startup with a focus on the travel industry, has today signed up its first partners for a new point-of-sale financing service. "Pay Monthly" is a travel financing service which allows travelers to “buy now, pay later” through instalment payments at what UpLift describes as the industry’s lowest rates.

UpLift has signed contracts with Golden Nugget Hotel, Las Vegas, and The Mark Travel Corporation, which operates such sites as Southwest Vacations, United Vacations and Funjet Vacations. The sell for these companies is that they can, in theory, boost conversion rates while at the same time increasing the total value of a trip sale. It’s about converting “lookers to bookers”, in the words of UpLift.

Pay Monthly is just one facet of UpLift’s offering, which aims to help travel providers drive substantial improvements by cutting down transaction costs and boosting top line revenues. The company claims to be able to reduce credit card transaction costs for travel providers by seventy basis points.

Technology-oriented, point-of-sale financing is a real hotspot within the wider fintech space at the moment. It’s a model that was arguably pioneered in the Nordics by Klarna, which provides financing options to small merchants. Firms like Divido have since followed suit in the UK. But as UpLift rightly notes, the model has yet to take hold in the travel space.

“Our team created one of the most valuable categories in travel, and we know the travel industry like no ordinary fintech company ever could,” said UpLift CEO and co-founder Brian Barth (pictured above). “With Pay Monthly, we’ve reinvented online payments as a marketing tool for major travel brands. Together with our partners, we will expand the entire travel business, making trips possible for millions who otherwise would never have left home.”

Prior to founding UpLift, founders Barth and Stu Kelly were co-founders of SideStep – a travel metasearch business which was acquired by Kayak in 2008 for $200m. Kayak itself was later acquired by Priceline in 2013. 

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