The travel industry has recorded a steady growth in the last few years. And with the standard of living improving, with people saving more to spend on leisure travel, it is expected to grow even further. Thus, a travel-related business can be very lucrative. But, there’s a catch to it - standardized banks and credit card processors shy away from travel-related businesses as they are “high risk”. The Travel Industry and its High-Risk Tag. One way to understand the “high-risk” nature of the travel industry is to think about how you make your travel arrangements. Travel Industry companies include Vacation Rentals, Hotel Booking Companies, Timeshare Classifieds, Rentals, Relief, Escape, Deed Transers, Advertising & Marketing compaies, RCI Points Companies.
With impulsive travellers as an exception, most people decide travel dates and make the necessary reservations days, sometimes months, in advance. Payments are issued against these bookings confirming the same. Almost all payments are made online using credit cards; cash transactions are becoming a rarity these days. Sometimes, a customer might cancel the trip. He might be unable to travel due to unforeseen circumstances or may claim that the services provided were misrepresented. In such a case, customers generally demand a reimbursement of the advance payment by filing a chargeback with the issuing bank. A travel agent acts like a middle-man. He books hotels, tickets, vacation packages on behalf of his customers. These are expenses against the bank until the customer clears all bills. If a customer disputes a transaction by means of a chargeback and wins the claim, it can result in heavy financial losses.
This is the primary reason banks reject or deny applications from start-up travel agencies. Nonetheless, you need to have a system in place that accepts cashless payments online for the convenience of your customers. This is where setting up a merchant matters.
Despite the risk, you will come across several payment processing companies willing to work with you. But as a start-up, you need a merchant account that not only process payments efficiently, but also helps mitigate risks in case of a chargeback or dispute. Here’s what you should look for when choosing a safe and reliable payment gateway.
The payment processing partner you choose should know the nitty-gritties of your business and industry. They should offer all the payment processing services your business is expected to provide customers. Additionally, they must have the experience to deal with the unique challenges posed by a travel-related business at no additional cost.
A travel agency must carefully review all the services a merchant account promises to provide your organization. They should offer options for cash transactions (for brick and mortar businesses), online credit and charge-card processing, ACH and eCheck payment services so that your customers have a wide range of payment options to choose from. Most accounts accept VISA, MasterCard, Amex and Discover. Payment gateway integration is another feature to look for in a payment processing partner. With an integrated gateway setup, customers can book hotels and buy tickets at your website, without being redirected to the parent site. Request information on the types of currencies and types of credit and debit cards a merchant account accepts and whether it entails any conversion fees. An international payment facility will help improve customer experience for customers from other countries. It will also be great if the provider has an automated recurring payment facility in place. It saves time to customers who make repeat purchases.
Draw up an estimate of the cost involved in setting up a merchant account for your travel-related business. The rate will be commensurate with the features offered and the risk involved. Understand the break-up of the fee structure under different heads and at what rate each one is charged; it usually includes a set-up fee, administrative costs and transaction fees. Some providers give you an option between a per-transaction cost and a fixed monthly fee. The volume of your business will enable you to decide which one will be most profitable. Check the conditions related to cancellation and chargeback fees.
As a business your prime goal is to instill confidence in the minds of your customers. This applies both to the services you offer and the measures you take to protect their privacy. Everytime customers make payments, they submit sensitive financial information. A safe payment gateway ensures customer data is stored securely and not misused. Seek information from the providers on the mechanisms they use to protect customer identity and data.
Prompt customer support is an important requirement for a merchant account. Probe into how the provider offers customer support to the business and its customers in the event there is a problem. Check the medium of communication, availability in terms of time and the charges, if any.
The purpose of setting up a merchant account is to enable faster, safer and convenient payments. The provider should offer all the necessary support to ensure that your merchant account is up and running as soon as possible. Airlines, tour operators, rental businesses, hotel and motels can benefit from setting up a merchant account. Choose the right merchant account to boost profits for your business and to ensure you stay way ahead of the competition.Sign Up Today
Three easy steps to accepting credit cards.
Complete the online Merchant Application. Remember, there are no setup fees.Sign up
Upon approval, normally within 48 hours, you will receive an email with your account credentials.
Log into your gateway account or mobile application to process credit cards.