iTunes payments could prove ‘disruptive’ as travel goes mobile

Apple could prove ‘disruptive’ for travel if it uses its iTunes set-up to take payments according to a senior mobile executive.

Mobile Travel Technology executive director Gerry Samuels said Apple had an existing ‘simple to use eco-system’ for payments.

Speaking at the Travel Technology Initiative’s Mobile Update, Samuels and others senior industry officials said payment solutions and roaming charges were the biggest obstacles to mobile development for travel.’s head of innovation Marko Balabanovic said the company was looking at Paypal on mobile as its solution.

“The difference with iTunes is that they want to take a percentage. At the moment we’re looking at developing things which people can pay for when they have finished rather than pre-payment things,” he said.

British Airways head of mobile and Chris Carmichael said mobile payment solutions were more of a challenge as air tickets have to be paid in advance.

“Customers have to put in their credit card type, CSC number and full name and address and the chances of doing that without any mistakes are slim. Then it is taken off for verification. If you want to start taking money via mobile web you need to solve this one.”

Roaming charges were also seen as a huge challenge and Samuels said that websites not optimised for mobile meant high charges.’s Andrew Sittermann said big companies needed to lobby the EU on roaming charges.

“We’re all suffering and there is no justification for them. People like BA should go to the EU and not just get a cap but get these data charges to a reasonable level.”

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