Private Airline Merchant Accounts and Payment Gateways 

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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.

Private Airline Payment Processing

Welcome to Merchant Advice Service, your trusted resource for all things related to merchant accounts and payment gateways. In this article, we will look into the ins and outs of private airline merchant accounts and payment gateways. Whether you are a private airline operator or someone interested in understanding the unique requirements of this industry, we have got you covere

Private airlines merchant accounts

Finding a merchant account for a private airline company can be difficult. In the world of card payments, the travel sector has taken a battering in recent years with many companies going bust following the COVID pandemic. Sadly, that has a knock on effect for businesses successfully operating in the private airline space. Our ultimate guide will help you to navigate the world of private airline payment processing and help you find the best merchant account available to you.

Private airlines credit card processing

The majority of private airlines tend to process card payments in the following ways;


MOTO – over the phone using a Virtual Terminal

ONLINE – via an ecommerce store

BY AUTOMATED INVOICE – normally linked to a CRM system


Customers tend to make payment on a credit card or commercial credit card which are ordinarily charged at higher rates via the acquiring bank.

Private airlines merchant services

So, how do you find the best merchant services for private airline businesses? First of all it’s important to understand that not all high street and mainstream merchant account providers will consider travel applications and private airlines are no exception. This is because the travel sector is deemed high risk by merchant account providers.

Private airlines high risk merchant accounts

Why are private airlines high risk when so profitable? There are a number of reasons merchant account providers deem private airline business as high risk.


HISTORIC PROCESSING STATS – sadly lots of travel businesses collapsed following the 2019 pandemic where worldwide travel pretty much stopped. The banks are still recovering from these losses which makes them reluctant to handle similar transactions.


CHARGEBACK RATES – even pre-pandemic the travel sector experienced high levels of chargebacks, therefore fell into the high risk bracket when it comes to card payments.


HIGH TICKET ITEMS – some banks do not like to handle high ticket transactions, especially when they are few and far between i.e. low volumes of processing but at high amounts per payment.


LONG LEAD TIME – although not always the case with private jets, banks tend to feel uneasy when there is a long period of time in-between taking payment and the event itself.  As a result some payment processors will not settle transaction funds until after the date of travel, which can be problematic for cash flow.


Private airlines payment processors

With the elements of risk involved in processing private airline card payments, you can understand why there are limited options available for merchants to choose from. Lots of companies prefer to work with mainstream or well-known brands – however when it comes to private airlines, that might not always be possible with some companies opting for offshore payments solutions.

Private airlines payment providers

Before you apply to payment providers it’s important to understand that travel and private airlines sit within their processing criteria. Some work on a ‘case-by-case’ basis of acceptance. To increase the likelihood of getting your application accepted, you’ll be asked to provide the following documentation;


  • ID and proof of residency for shareholders/directors
  • Proof of business location
  • Licensing if required
  • Proof of membership to ATOL
  • Six months transaction history if currently accepting transactions
  • Cashflow forecast if not currently processing credit/debit cards


If you need help with your application or are unsure where to begin – you may wish to speak to a non-biased broker who has experience with similar applications. Speak to our experts today.

Private airlines online payment processing

Although the majority of payments for private airlines tend to be taken over the phone when the client is making the booking, some companies like the option of processing private airline transactions online. This means that flights tend to be booked via an individual website or more commonly via pay by link through automated invoicing. This can be part payment as a deposit for full payment depending on how the company operates. Remember that some acquiring banks will not settle payments until after date of travel.


Private airlines payment gateways

If your private airline is planning on accepting payments in the following ways, you’ll need a merchant account and a payment gateway; Virtual Terminal, MOTO (by telephone), Website/ecomm or pay by link. 


The gateway is the part which facilitates the online part of the transaction, encrypting customer card payment details and securely transferring these between acquiring bank and customer bank for authorisation. Put simply, choosing the best payment gateway provider for your private airline company is pretty important. Here’s what you need to consider;


  • Security levels: is always the first thing we look at – one being the best.
  • Payment methods: how the client can use the gateway – i.e. is it important for you to accept AMEX, ApplePay, PayPal etc.
  • Countries the gateway can service: not all gateway provides are international which can limit your airline company somewhat
  • Chargeback management: working with the right gateway provider for your airline company can help manage and object chargeback claims
  • Additional integration: of course, your gateway needs to integrate to your website and merchant account provider – but can it link in with your CRM or accounting software?  


If you’re in the jet charter business or any other private airline venture, understanding the higher risk associated with your industry is crucial when applying for a merchant account. Financial institutions often scrutinise processing history, chargeback rates, and credit scores when evaluating applications. 


Specialised payment processors can help you process payments efficiently, catering to high ticket transaction volumes that businesses like yours often experience. With the right guidance, applying for a high-volume, high-risk merchant account doesn’t have to be a daunting task. 


Merchant Advice Service is here to help you navigate the complexities of online payments and merchant processing, ensuring you find the right fit for your specific needs.

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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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