The credit card processing industry currently classifies the travel business among the dreaded “high-risk” class of economic ventures. This due to the fact that most travel agencies finalize transactions prior to the day of travel, which means the customers pay in advance. The early payment leaves the merchants open to chargebacks due to unforeseen changes in travel plans as well as other payment disputes.
Finding a merchant account for your travel agency will therefore be a lot harder than you think. Furthermore, the suitability of an account for the particular needs of your business further brings down the number of options available. Regardless, asking around and doing a little extra research will reveal reasonable companies, which specialize in offering high-risk merchants the payment solutions they need to propel their businesses forward.
What a merchant account can offer your agency
Whether your agency is in the real world, online or both, you can take full advantage of the products that come with a travel agency merchant account, despite being a high-risk endeavor. High-risk specialists offer a merchant both traditional and internet-based credit and debit card processing, as well as ACH and eCheck payment services to ensure customers have a broad range of payment options at their disposal.
Additionally, a reputable provider can get you a fully integrated online payment gateway, which will allow your clients to buy travel tickets directly from your website, without unnecessary redirects that might otherwise slow down the booking process. Leading players such as eMerchantBroker will even go the extra mile and evaluate your travel agency individually to provide the plan that best suits your method of doing business.
Other things to consider
A travel agent can benefit greatly from a merchant account, but before signing up there are a few essential things you should take into account.
For starters, high-risk providers generally match the risk associated with your business with their product prices. Expect therefore to see higher rates than you would pay with a standard payment processor.
Domestic vs Offshore accounts
Many high-risk processors offer domestic merchant accounts for travel agencies, but because the pull the provider into a contract that is bound by the law of the land, a merchant is better protected by the law against fraud and payment disputes.
Offshore accounts have the advantage of free international trading and exposure to international customers, but in the event of a dispute, merchants may lack legal means to defend themselves. Companies offering offshore travel agency payment processing also tend to charge very high rates and fees.
Before settling for a payment services company, ensure you know exactly what is right for your agency, and whether the options you have lined up have the capability to meet your requirements.