Merchant accounts for travel agents

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Libby James
Merchant Services Expert

Libby James is co-founder, director and an expert in all things merchant services. Libby is the go-to specialist for business with more complex requirements or businesses that are struggling to find a provider that will accept them. Libby is regularly cited in trade, national and international media.

Merchant services for travel agencies

According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) 41% of people  travelled abroad during 2016, and all of these also holidayed within the UK too. The prediction by ABTA is that this will increase again during 2017 so, therefore, will the need for travel agent merchant services. In more recent years, the travel industry has been disrupted somewhat following the global COVID pandemic.

Customers booking high value holidays expect to be able to pay using credit or debit card. Using a credit card provides added security and protection, so if something were to go wrong with the holiday provider, hotel or airline there is some insurance against the transaction. The same customer protection now applies to both debit and credit cards.

High risk merchant facilities for travel agents

Merchant providers see travel agency payment processing and airline merchant accounts as a high risk sectors. This is due to the number of chargebacks and fraud historically issued within the industry. On average the time between booking a holiday or flight to actually attending is 90 days – leaving a large window for the chargeback to take place.


Why are travel agencies high-risk?

Obtaining travel agency payment processing can be tricky, due the high-risk label but there are still a number of options available to businesses. Equally you may have already secured a merchant account for a travel company that has been given notice to terminate the contract between you and your existing provider. The reason for this is that the merchant account provider is constantly assessing their risk profile and may decide to get rid of a more risky, high turnover business in favor of numerous lower risk businesses.

Switching merchant accounts

Despite being given the ‘high-risk’ name tag, face to face transactions within airline and travel industries are deemed slightly lower risk. Depending on volumes its worth reviewing and switching theses accounts regularly. Chip and Pin terminals and providers can be very competitive when it comes to travel agents credit card fees so it’s worthwhile shopping around.


Payment gateway for travel agents

Taking payments online in high-risk industries can come with its added complications. Avoiding fraudulent transactions, and ensuring your customers feel secure when purchasing a holiday online becomes paramount. Things to bear in mind when looking for a high-risk payment gateway for a travel company are it’s PCI-DSS compliance level and the PSD2 security.

Payment gateway for terminated travel industry merchants

Acquiring banks are constantly reviewing their risk portfolio, meaning that travel or flight merchants that were once accepted to process are terminated or served notice. This can happen because they have too many high-risk companies onboard, too many in that specific sector or because the criteria surrounding those merchants has been reviewed.

For this reason, some travel agencies choose to use multiple merchant services providers, meaning if you are terminated with a short time frame, you can still process with the ‘back up’

If you have been terminated, our specialist providers can help to find alternative solutions.


UK based travel agency credit card processing

It feels a little unfair that UK based travel firms struggle to obtain merchant accounts. Despite falling under the travel category code, the following businesses should be able to secure reasonable rates and settling times;

  • UK holiday lets
  • Bed and Breakfasts
  • Holiday parks
  • Caravan companies

What to expect when applying for merchant accounts

High risk applications tend to take a little longer than others. It’s important to prepare your application so that when in underwriting you’ve provided answers to all possible questions. This increases the likelihood of approval first time round.

Using a merchant services broker will help you to work out where your travel business will best fit. It’s wise to expect slightly higher processing fees and a rolling reserve under new terms.


Terminated merchant accounts for travel agents

Obtaining travel agency payment processing can be tricky, due the high-risk label but there are still a number of options available to businesses. Equally you may have already secured a merchant account for a travel company that has been given notice to terminate the contract between you and your existing provider. The reason for this is that the merchant account provider is constantly assessing their risk profile and may decide to get rid of a more risky, high turnover business in favour of numerous lower risk businesses.

Payment gateway for travel website and face-to-face payments

At Merchant Advice Service we specialise in securing merchant accounts for high risk businesses. Our advisors experience in dealing with merchant services for travel companies and high risk applications is extensive and we’re confident we can help you, no matter how unique your enquiry.  Whether you are searching for the best payment gateway for a travel website or airline payment solutions our advisers are on hand to provide expert, impartial advice. We focus in the following areas;

  • merchant services for travel agents
  • online travel agency payment processing
  • payment gateway for travel website
  • chartered jet merchant accounts
  • airline merchant account
  • airline payment processing
  • airline payment gateway

Online payment gateway for travel website

To process payments online businesses require both a travel merchant account and supporting payment gateway. The high risk payment gateway ensures that customer card details are kept secure while processing the transaction, this is especially important in high value purchases. For further information refer to our guide in finding the best payment gateway for travel websites and flight centres. Finding a payment gateway for travel industry merchants isn’t as difficult as some may believe, we work with specialist providers who will accept travel applications.


Travel agents credit card fees

Merchants wrongly assume that travel and flight centre merchant fees due to the high risk category tend to be hugely expensive. Transactions don’t have to be as costly as you may expect, using a providers who are specialist in travel payment solutions will ensure your application is underwritten expertly and therefore fair rates offered. If you are a start-up business with no transaction history, you may wish to start with one provider often at higher rates then move once business and turnover increases. We recommend comparing accounts regularly to ensure you do not pay over the odds for travel card payments.

Merchant accounts within the travel industry don’t have to be complicated. For advice on secure travel payments speak to one of our expert advisers today for a no fee, no obligation quote.

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Libby James

Libby James Co-founded Merchant Advice Service alongside David Bird in 2016. Her finance background, coupled with retail and customer service experience, gave Libby the drive to bring transparency and non-biased advice to the world of merchant services. Having come from the heavily regulated mortgage and insurance industry, Libby found it puzzling that other financial sectors lacked regulation and transparency leaving customers confused and unable to make informed decisions when it came to accepting card payments. This was soon to become Libby’s obsession!

With the help of some of the industry’s best, Libby began to research acquiring banks, complex terminology/regulation, and the problems customers experience within merchant services and payment gateway markets. She spent years on sourcing solutions for complex clients, which previously others were unable to assist with. Libby established relationships with brokers and banks which would soon form the cornerstone of Merchant Advice Service. As a result Libby has been featured in high-profile publications across the web.

Libby is proud to be the entrepreneur’s champion, supporting start-up businesses regularly. Her industry insights can often be found on LinkedIn where she provides free of charge advice and money saving pointers. It’s safe to say she has her finger on the pulse of everything card payments related.

Libby speaks of her experience in founding and running Merchant Advice Service…

‘Merchant Advice Service is one of my greatest achievements to date. We help business owners to overcome card processing issues which can become detrimental to their business. We assist SME’s in finding suitable card payments solutions, helping them create their vision. Each and every day is different, exciting and fore filling. As technology advances I can’t wait to see the way in which the merchant services market advances, and I’m pleased that our business will play a part in educating company owners along the way.’

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