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Running a travel agency or tour company is an excellent way to make money. People spend millions of dollars each year on travel, and your business can tap into this lucrative industry. However, there are some obstacles you must overcome before starting your travel business. One of the hardest is obtaining a travel agency merchant account.
You need an e-commerce merchant account services so that you can accept credit cards as payment for products and services. Most people do not pay for travel services in cash, and most of your transactions will probably happen over the phone or internet. That makes it imperative that you accept credit cards so that you don’t lose out on business. The problem is that travel agencies, tour operators, and other firms in the tourism industry are considered high-risk merchants. This may seem frightening because there are higher fees associated with a high-risk merchant account, but it is not the end of the world. The hard part is getting approved for a merchant account.
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When most people think about high-risk businesses, they believe that gambling and adult content. However, the label also applies to startups, subscription-based businesses, and future fulfillment companies. The level of risk is not based entirely on the industry type or the negative historical associations. For instance, travel is a future fulfillment business because customers often buy products and services months in advance before they are delivered. This creates a long timeframe in which something can go wrong with the transaction, which means this business model comes with a higher risk.
Other factors that contribute to a business being put in a high-risk category are high ticket sales, geopolitical unrest, international sales, limited financial history, high transaction volume, and industries with high chargeback amount. Therefore, don’t be surprised if your merchant account provider places your business in a high-risk category until you have established your business and shown your ability to mitigate risk. Travel industry companies almost always get labeled as high-risk because they run on future fulfillment models and are subject to higher volumes of chargebacks.
The biggest reason that tourism industry companies fit into the high-risk category is the great potential for chargebacks. This is not the same thing as refunding a transaction after a travel service is canceled. A chargeback is a disputed transaction or fraudulent charge wherein the customer demands his or her money back. The processing bank is responsible for all sales, and when fraudulent activity occurs or something else goes wrong, the merchant provider is held financially accountable and must chargeback all the funds to the customer. The merchant account provider charges high-risk merchant accounts higher fees to cover chargebacks. Learn more about high risk payments.
One example of a possible chargeback situation in a travel agency is if a customer books an international travel tour one year in advance, and is charged upfront for the costs through a credit card. And then the travel agency experiences financial difficulties, goes out of business and is no longer able to fulfill the customer’s travel desires. The customer then files a chargeback claim with their credit card company to get a refund. The merchant provider is responsible for the loss and must chargeback the amount to the customer. The travel agency is ultimately held accountable for the damage, but the merchant account provider must make things right for the client before things are sorted out with the travel agency.
Even though merchant providers consider the tourism industry high-risk, there are things you can do to get the best possible rates. When you apply for an account, make sure that you show the stability of your business through bank statements and credit history. Also, be sure to demonstrate how you manage risks. This is easier to do if you’re switching payment processing companies. It’s very challenging for new travel agencies to get approved for a high-risk merchant account because it’s difficult to exhibit stability. You may have to work on improving your rates over time as you prove your business is less of a risk before you can get lower transaction prices.
Make sure to compare the rates of different merchant providers to ensure you aren’t paying more than you have to. Not all merchant account providers charge the same rates, and some are more experienced in working with high-risk businesses than others. There are hundreds of potential merchant account providers you could work with, so you need to do some in-depth research first.
If you’re having trouble getting approved by a merchant account provider because of the high-risk nature of your business, it’s time to look at HighRiskPay.com. As a payment processor, we have been in business since 1997 and have worked with thousands of merchants that would be typically considered high-risk, including many in the travel industry. You can apply for a merchant account through HighRiskPay.com and get approval within 24 to 48 hours. There is no application fee, and the process is fast. Plus, we approve 95 percent of applicants and work with people who have less than perfect credit — and even bankruptcy and foreclosure on their records.
One thing that makes HighRiskPay.com particularly appealing to new businesses and travel agencies is its Chargeback Prevention Program. We can alert you when possible chargebacks may occur so you can take action and reduce and contest these issues. Additionally, we can help you recover lost sales and keep your fees to a minimum. Our experience with high-risk merchant accounts is a great benefit to you.
Don’t sit around waiting for a merchant account provider to take on your high-risk business because it may never happen. Start with HighRiskPay.com so that you can get your business up and running in no time and accepting credit cards. We offer merchants competitive rates and help you minimize risks and chargebacks. It’s a great payment processing solution. Running a travel agency or another tourism industry business is possible if you start with a good merchant account provider that doesn’t charge rates that are too high to handle.
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