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Only cash and credit cards in IN FLIGHT Commerce

Have you ever wondered why payments inside flight are taken only by Credit Cards or in cash?
We all are asked to turn of our wireless devices as soon as we board a flight. Have you ever wondered how the swipe machines are able to communicate for transactions in real time and why debit cards are not accepted for transactions?


While the credit cards are swiped during the flight, the real transactions take place only once the flight is on ground. The swipe machine holds basic information based on the magnetic chip on the credit card. The transactions are uploaded to the systems when the flight lands.

The only way to detect fraud in such cases is the modulo io checksum of the credit card number. But several frauds happen and airlines have dedicated staff to deal with these frauds. A maximum transaction limit per card is also set such that car can be used only for a maximum value.


Debit cards can’t be used for this purpose because unlike Credit Cards, debit cards work in real time and hence the transaction needs to be done at the time of swipe which is not possible on air apart from the airplanes flight to ground communication system. 

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