Let’s be real — no one really ever pays for travel services and bookings with a wad of cold hard cash. And that’s why businesses in the travel industry will always have to have the facilities that accept and process electronic payments whether in-store or online. The only trouble there is that not all merchant services are tailored to cater to the unique needs of travel agencies.
Canceled flights, changes in schedules, and yes even global pandemics, can give travel customers a reason to dispute a payment. And that’s why businesses in the travel industry are considered high risk. Fortunately, there are a handful of merchant services for travel agencies out there that understand these challenges and make room to accommodate the ever volatile ecosystem where travel transactions occur.
Having been around for the best part of 20 years, Worldpay works with some of the biggest names in the travel industry. In 2018, the formerly UK-based company was acquired by the US firm Vanity, but retained its name. Presently, they cater to brands like AirBnb and Expedia, which says a lot about the quality of the merchant services they provide.
Worldpay offers both in-store and online solutions for travel companies, allowing businesses to accept payments in more ways than one. For digital and online payments, they provide merchant accounts, payment gateways, and virtual terminals.
What really gives Worldpay an edge over its competitors is that everything is in-house. That means all of the payment processing services they provide are performed by their own company. They don’t outsource any features, which definitely makes it much easier to get technical support in case anything hiccups happen along the way.
If longevity was the name of the game, then Fiserv takes the cake. This merchant services provider has been around for over 50 years, making them one of the leading institutions for high risk merchants. Much like Worldpay, Fiserv provides tailored, individualized solutions that are specifically developed for each individual client they work with.
With solutions that are intended for both small businesses and enterprises, Fiserv has perfected the art of scale by matching the features and services they provide with the size and extent of your venture. They also seamlessly integrate with your website so your customers can enjoy hitch-free payment options that accommodate the options available to them.
Much like most other merchant service providers, Fiserv’s rates are kept hush-hush. That’s mainly because their charges fluctuate widely between clients, so it really depends on what you need from their company. The best way to get an idea of what they charge would be to reach out to them directly.
Maintaining a focus on security and protection, Instabill’s robust fraud protection service was designed with travel agencies at the core. They offer risk management solutions that work to reduce the occurrence of chargebacks, and fraud protection tools that safeguard your business and customers against unscrupulous transactions.
But more than just security, Instabill also caters to the needs of travel agencies by way of their bespoke merchant services packages that are developed to take payments for travel tickets and hotel bookings. They also accept and process these payments in real-time for added convenience for you and your consumers.
On top of everything that’s been said, Instabill also delivers 24/7 customer support that targets and troubleshoots errors or problems during the payment process. Their dedicated phone support team is available any hour of the day, allowing customers from all around the globe to get prompt resolve anytime.
This large direct processor offers the full range of payment processing services you might need for your travel agency. And because they process everything in-house (like Worldpay), you can expect fewer roadblocks between you and prompt resolve in case you come face to face with any problems during a transaction.
Boasting a perfect rating with the Better Business Bureau, Electronic Merchant Systems offers merchant account services, high-value payment processing, point-of-sale terminals and solutions, mobile credit card processing, virtual terminals, and gift and loyalty card programs that are individualized for travel agencies.
While they might not be the strongest when it comes to customer support, and although their rates may be slightly more expensive than what you might find elsewhere, Electronic Merchant Systems’ all-in-one solutions might be a fit for bigger travel companies that want quick processing for high volumes of transactions.
Although they might be fairly new to the game, DigiPay has earned quite a reputation as one of the most reliable payment processors and merchant account service providers for travel companies. Headquartered in California, the company has only been in business for the past 7 years but has yet to receive any customer complaints on their BBB page.
Working best for small to medium-sized travel companies, DigiPay offers basic solutions that are considered the bare minimum for businesses operating in the travel industry. They provide simple integration, enhanced reporting tools, and a seamless merchant dashboard that makes all of their services features accessible and user-friendly.
Perhaps the most intuitive of their tools would be their chargeback alerts and fraud and chargeback management tools. With a full understanding of the risks involved with travel agencies, DigiPay provides layers of protection that minimize the risk of chargebacks and mitigate fraud.
A well-known name in the high risk industry, Durango Merchant Services has wiggled its way into the high risk merchant niche by offering its services to businesses and ventures that might often be rejected by traditional, conservative institutions. They provide merchant accounts and payment processing solutions to various sectors involved in travel.
These include travel agencies and agents, tour operators, destination marketing organizations, business and travel planning and reservations, destination management companies, tourism services, and visitor centers. Their tailored services encompass a wide range of solutions that hope to streamline payment collections and reduce the risk of chargebacks along the way.
According to Durango, they offer some of the most competitive rates for travel payment processing including 1.95% to 4.95% discount rates, authorization fees ranging from $0.15 to $0.25, and monthly installment rates from $5 to $60 per month. Of course, these charges may still vary depending on the specific merchant they’re working with. As with any other payment processor and merchant service provider, the best way to determine their actual rates would be to reach out to them directly.
Obviously, there’s quite a lot of variety when it comes to merchant services for travel agencies. So it helps to really understand what your business needs before you take on that new contract. Here are a few considerations you might want to take into account to narrow down your options and find a merchant service provider for travel agencies that actually meets your requirements.
Whether you operate in-store, online, or both, it’s important that you find a provider that offers seamless integration with the facilities you have available. Mobile payments are big in this day and age, especially for last-minute travel and tour bookings. A provider that can offer mobile payment solutions can help you expand your reach and cater to customers that might be more comfortable transacting with a mobile device.
While a lot of merchant service providers might advertise themselves as travel agency-friendly, some of them might not be available for every sector of the travel industry. For instance, some might only cater to travel agencies and destination marketing.
Others can offer services for cruise ship and airline bookings. So it helps to know what specific sectors they accommodate. If your business traverses different sectors, then it’s important to choose a merchant service provider that can accommodate all of the different areas you’re a part of.
How far do their services extend? Sometimes, these providers will only offer merchant account services, while others go the extra mile with payment processing and payment gateway solutions that give you pretty much everything you need to accept and process payments issued by your customers through a variety of channels.
When considering this aspect, also account for the size of your business. Sometimes, small ventures won’t need the same robust fraud protection and chargeback prevention features that travel enterprises might benefit from.
The last thing you’d want in the middle of a dispute would be a merchant service provider that you can’t reach. Customer support plays a big role in your satisfaction with your provider, so it helps to check to see just how responsive they are (or aren’t.)
Generally speaking, direct merchant service providers or those that process everything in-house tend to perform better from a customer support standpoint since they handle everything on their own instead of outsourcing their tasks.
Travel agencies and travel companies need unique solutions that allow them to keep up with the demands of their volatile ecosystem, and that’s precisely what these merchant services for travel agencies claim to offer. Make sure to measure your business’ needs, consider the ins and outs, and compare rates and charges to pick an option that’s truly a fit for your distinct needs.