Easing Diplomatic Relations with Cuba Present Opportunities for Travel Agencies

Feb 12, 2015

As diplomatic relations ease between the United States and Cuba, many more Americans are considering trips to visit our island neighbor to the south. This presents a golden, but time-critical, business opportunity to EMB clients with travel merchant accounts. As the travel path to Havana becomes easier to navigate, there will be tourists lining up to visit the Caribbean hub.

The truth is, despite the embargo, it has been possible to visit Cuba for a long time. There are established agencies specializing in different kinds of visits to Cuba: some with home-stays, others emphasizing the cultural history of Havana. Yet, the changes in the diplomatic relationship between the two countries will alter the practical aspects of visiting Cuba, but perhaps more importantly the perception of Cuba as a possible tourist destination.

The keep-at-an-arms-length relationship between the US and Cuba has kept many American tourists from considering a trip even though Cuba is basically within arm’s distance now. With the perception changing about the travel restrictions, now is the time to capitalize on the rush of tourists that are sure to follow.

For those with travel merchant accounts, this is a chance to try to formulate some vacation and tourist packages for Cuba. Establishing your small business as a safe and great way to visit Cuba will pay dividends for years to come. There’s little to lose; even if diplomatic relations go south again, it is likely the actual ability to visit Cuba will remain as it did before. However, if prevailing perceptions in the US consider Cuba as a practical and attractive tourist destination, now is the time to get your toe in that door.

By setting up a package and establishing some relationships in Havana for tourism, your travel agency can make a low risk investment that has some spectacular potential for an excellent return on your investment.

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Having a merchant account allows an account holder to take advantage of merchant cash advances. When a merchant is approved for an advance, the business agrees to receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future credit card sales.

Pricing varies depending on the merchant’s industry, past credit card processing history, the type of business seeking the account, average ticket sales, and average transaction volumes.

Yes, EMB works with merchants who are building their credit, as well as those who have poor credit. EMB also approves merchants that have no credit card processing history and businesses that have lost their merchant accounts due to high chargebacks.

Several factors influence a merchant’s risk level. Though only one factor likely will not get a merchant classified as high risk, a combination of these may: business size, location, and industry, credit score, credit card processing history, a industry’s reputation for excessive chargebacks, a prior history of high chargeback ratios, and whether a merchant exclusively sells online.

Virtual terminals are stationed on a merchant’s website, making it easy for customers to make a payment or purchase online. Merchants or a payment processor can easily set up virtual terminals, so online businesses can accept credit and debit card and e-check transactions.

A merchant account is a business account with an acquiring bank. Without this business account, which actually works more like a line of credit, a merchant cannot accept and process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses need a merchant account to accept major credit cards via a static point-of-sale terminal, mobile card reader, or through a virtual payment gateway.

After filling out EMB’s simple online application and submitting any necessary, requested documents, many merchants get approved within 24 and 48 hours.

EMB specializes in working with high-risk merchants. EMB works with many merchants, including but not limited to businesses in these industries: gambling and gaming, adult entertainment, nutraceuticals, vaping and e-cigarettes, electronics, tech support, travel, high-end furniture, weight loss programs, calling cards, e-books and software, and telecommunications.

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