According to research by Statista.com, revenue for the travel and tourism market is expected to hit $637.70 billion in 2022. And it is projected to hit $949.60 billion by the year 2026.
Within the travel and tourism market, it is also expected that 74% of the total revenue will be produced by online sales by the year 2026.
The travel business industry continues to expand rapidly due to the number of individuals in both the U.S. and other countries wanting to explore the world.
Why Is A Travel Merchant Account High-Risk?
If you are a traveling merchant that operates mostly online, you will need to process both credit and debit card payments. The only way to make these payments is via a designated travel merchant account. Just know that you will not qualify for a traditional merchant account because it is considered high-risk.
The main reason that travel company is considered high-risk is due to the greater incidences of chargebacks than lower-risk businesses. It has been cited that the travel industry suffers almost $25 billion in chargebacks and fraudulent transactions annually.
The following are more reasons why traditional payment providers will not serve travel merchants with a merchant account:
- High ticket prices: Taking a trip is a massive investment. Airplane tickets, hotel rooms, cab fares, meals, the list goes on. To bear the expenses, some consumers have been known to commit “friendly fraud”. What that means is that, even though they authorized a transaction, they dispute it. So this turns into a chargeback for the travel merchant.
- Purchases made way in advance: Trips are typically planned well in advance, several weeks or months back before the actual departure date. The time that exists between the transaction made and the day of the trip can lead to a change of plans, a change of mind, or some type of life event, where the customer will need to cancel a trip, leading to a chargeback.
- Risk for the industry: If travel businesses declare bankruptcy or suffer from some sort of financial difficulty, banks are usually the ones left holding the bag. Worse, if the chargebacks exceed a certain ratio, banks can be slapped with fines as well.
What To Look For In A Travel Merchant Account
When it comes to choosing the best travel merchant account for your business, you must look at the needs of your business. You must also seek the expertise of a provider that is well-aware and equipped to handle all of the challenges that come with operating within a high-risk industry.
Here are some more important features that a reputable and trustworthy travel merchant account provider should offer:
- Competitive rates: Having lower processing fees enables your business to continue growing without having fees eat away at your bottom line.
- Quick approval times: The quicker you get approved for a merchant account, the quicker your business can start processing sales. Approvals made between 24-72 hours are ideal.
- High volume processing: Having a payment gateway that can process high volumes and is made for high-risk companies is ideal.
- Accept multiple currencies: The importance of accepting many types of currencies can not be emphasized enough. By expanding what you accept, you also expand your customer base and encourage them to come back.
- Security: Having a PCI-Level 1 secure payment gateway as well as chargeback mitigation and anti-fraud tools is a must, especially in this high-risk industry.
- Accept mobile payments: More than ever, customers are making their purchases on their mobile devices. Your business will greatly benefit if you can easily accept payments from customers paying with their mobile device
- Top-rated customer service: If something were to go wrong with your payment gateway or some other technical glitch that prevents you from processing payments, you will need help right away. Ensure that your provider has top-rated customer service and they can be reached, 24/7, to resolve any issue you may have.
What You Need To Apply For A Travel Merchant Account
Before you apply for a travel merchant account, consult with your chosen provider to determine which official documentation they require. The more open and honest information you can give to your provider, the greater the chances of having your travel merchant account approved. Here is just some of the information that is typically requested by a merchant account provider:
- Personal and business financial statements
- Company EIN document
- Proof of operating address
- Driver’s license of the principal owner
- Articles of incorporation
- Business plan
- Voided check proving business bank account
How To Apply For A Travel Merchant Account
Once you have acquired all of the necessary documentation, it is time to apply for a travel merchant account. All you need to do is visit your chosen provider’s website and fill out an online application. Once the online application is completed, you can submit all of the aforementioned documentation.
Some other tips to mention to your provider as you are going through the application process are the following:
- Offer your provider information on how your business combats chargebacks. As an example, you can prove that you offer excellent 24/7 customer service.
- Sharing what your travel business does and where the bulk of the sales take place (whether online or in-person)
- Business policies (return policies/refund policies)
The payment provider will conduct its underwriting, where they will identify your level of risk, based on all the information and documentation provided.
U.S. travel merchant accounts can take a few days, between 3-5 business days. International travel merchant accounts can take a lot longer, between 5-10 business days.
Open Your Travel Merchant Account Today
A travel merchant account will enable your business to have the financial security and flexibility you need to offer the best service for your customers. Securing and partnering up with the best travel merchant account provider is the best decision you can make.