US Bancorp to buy TravelBank, the travel platform supported by Will Smith, for $ 200 million

 Banks see the integration of travel and expense products as an effective way to improve their own credit card offering to customers, corporate or not. Expect more deals before the end of the year.

Matthew Parsons

Banks are moving forward to achieve travel and spending platforms, as the pace of digitization of payments accelerates.

Now TravelBank, a corporate travel agency backed by actor Will Smith, has been acquired by US Bancorp, parent company of US Bank.

The U.S. bank said the acquisition allows it to accelerate the integration of digital payments within the business segment. The agreement was signed on November 14, 2021 and the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but Skift understands the deal was worth about $ 200 million.

CEO Duke Chung will move to the bank and TravelBank will continue to serve its existing customers including other banks. For example, it already connects to American Express corporate cards to provide conciliation and better visibility of spending.

The U.S. bank’s buyout comes several months after credit card company Capital One led a $ 170 million round of fundraising for online travel agency Hopper. Hopper’s “technology” offerings now account for most of its revenue.

“Many companies have travel systems and employee expense reports that are paper-based, are not mobile-compatible, and require extensive manual labor,” the Bank of the United States said in a statement. “The all-in-one TravelBank platform, which easily synchronizes with common accounting systems, automates this work and can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each organization.”

Meanwhile, the stock price of software company Expensify remains encouraging after its public listing last week.

TravelBank and US Bank had been working together since September last year, with a partnership that integrated the travel agency into the US Bank instant card, to create an all-in-one solution for corporate expense management .

US Bank also partnered with Chrome River in 2019 to launch an expense tool called Expense Wizard, which combines virtual payments and expense reports with a chatbot. “You don’t need to remember all of these details or extract your calendar to get the details because you already captured them at the time of purchase,” Bradley Matthews, senior vice president of corporate payment systems, said at the time.

The pandemic was relatively friendly with TravelBank, with its list of home delivery customers. It counts DoorDash, Caviar and Grubhub as customers, which expanded as millions of people switched to takeaway food at local restaurants during the blockades, with employers often picking up the tab.

Its new owner is now well placed to take advantage of the recovery of corporate travel for years to come. “We are focused on giving companies more confidence, control and comfort in the management of payments and expenses. TravelBank will help us accelerate these efforts, ”said Shailesh Kotwal, vice president of payment services at US Bank.

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