PayNode joins with WorldFirst


PayNode, the online payment platform for business charter, launched at last year’s NBAA. In the last 12 months, the Avinode division has added more than 100 companies. Now it is announcing a new partnership with international payments specialist WorldFirst. PayNode says it will help make cross-currency bank wire transfer payments between charter brokers and operators much faster and more efficient.

Magnus Henriksson (pictured), its managing director, spoke with Corporate Jet Investor.

Corporate Jet Investor: How significant is your agreement with WorldFirst?
Henriksson: WorldFirst is an important strategic partner for us. They have a great tech platform, great team, all the licences in the right place and are keen to work in this sector.
WorldFirst specialises in wire and bank transfers. This is a huge part of the payment market – probably 85% – and one where we can make a big difference.
A wire transfer between a broker in the UK and a charter operator in the US typically takes three to five days. In this industry it means that the money is often arriving after the flight has been taken.
We have also been surprised by how many people highlight the problem with matching payments manually. It is a huge issue for companies taking several payments in one day.

Corporate Jet Investor: You already have Amex and AvCard, so how will it work with WorldFirst?
Henriksson: Amex is predominantly used by retail customers paying for flights. AvCard is most commonly used by corporate flight departments booking extra lift.
Our partnership with WorldFirst will mitigate foreign exchange risk, which means we can offer competitive exchange rates and enable high-speed transfer of payments.

Corporate Jet Investor: You launched at NBBA last year. Why has no one targeted charter payments before?
Henriksson: There are a couple of reasons. Charter is still a niche industry and it has been under the radar. We obviously have the Avinode Marketplace so are already committed to it.
The other thing is that most companies targeting financial transactions – fintech start-ups – are focused on consumer payments. They are looking at high volume, low value transactions. We are doing the complete opposite. PayNode is about making high value, low volume transactions easier.
High value, low volume transactions have to be handled differently because of compliance. WorldFirst is already very experienced at that. Together with WorldFirst, PayNode will increase the speed of payments, apply automatic reconciliation and processing, and provide a transparent system that helps protect merchants from wire fraud.

Corporate Jet Investor: How big an issue is foreign exchange?
Henriksson: We estimate that more than 15% of charter bookings in North America and 25% in Europe involve cross-currency, cross-border bank payments. Someone is always taking an FX hit on these. WorldFirst specialises in this and offers much more attractive rates.
WorldFirst is a fantastic partner for this, although it will also help speed up domestic transactions as well.

Corporate Jet Investor: How many customers have you signed up so far?
Henriksson: We have more than 100 customers. The majority of these are in the US – mainly because we only went live in Europe in June. The vast majority are existing Avinode or SchedAero customers as PayNode is fully integrated into the system, but we do also have new customers who are just managing their payments via PayNode. We are aiming to get 300 customers by the next NBAA Convention.

Corporate Jet Investor: There are lots of companies attempting to disrupt business jet charter. Do they worry you?
Henriksson: It is great that we are seeing so many people target business aviation and that there is capital going into business aviation technology.

Avinode has always been about using technology to make business aviation more efficient. As a group, we continue to develop new solutions that help our members do business more efficiently and profitably and PayNode is about disrupting the charter payment market.

Corporate Jet Investor: What is the biggest objection you get to companies using PayNode?
Henriksson: People are always concerned about changing systems and the same is true about how companies collect payments. People need to change their behaviour to make their business more profitable. We are here to help work with them on this and help make the transition easy.