In this day and age, customers now have multiple options at their fingertips when booking travel services and airline charters online. Despite the plethora of options available for customers, most travel services do not have the luxury of multiple choices when obtaining a merchant account. Due to the multiple risk factors involved in the travel industry, most low- to medium-risk processors will not even consider approving travel merchant accounts. This unfortunately causes this booming, mainstream industry to be classified as high-risk.

Once an industry is categorized as high-risk, there are limited options available for a traditional merchant account. Most high-risk travel accounts are issued with steep processing rates, fees and/or reserves. This creates additional obstacles for merchants in the travel industry. It is imperative that online travel services provide reliable, secure payment processing to ensure that customers can book their travel plans without difficulty. If this option is not available, customers will choose a different travel company. Due to this, most travel services and airline charters have no choice but to accept the undesirable rates, fees and/or reserves issued for a high-risk account.

How does such a mainstream industry get classified as high-risk? Travel services and airline charters are notorious for chargebacks. Not only do most accounts suffer from excessive chargebacks, the amounts are usually for high-ticket values. These factors make most banks and processors hesitant to approve the account. In many cases, the risk is much greater than the reward for the acquiring bank/processor.

Unlike many other high-risk industries, chargebacks in the travel industry are difficult to prevent, despite travel services and airline charters being centered around customer service. There are many reasons that customers may issue a chargeback. For instance, a customer may wish to cancel or change their reservation but has missed the timeframe in which they can modify their reservation. If a flexible refund policy is not in place, these customers may initiate a chargeback. Some customers may be unhappy with the service provided and initiate a chargeback with their credit card company.

Another factor for classifying the travel industry as high-risk is how most transactions are processed. Most travel reservations fall under the category of “card-not-present.” This is when the customer uses their credit card online or books over the phone. Fraud happens more frequently with card-not-present transactions, which also increases the number of chargebacks. Excessive chargebacks can be devasting for a business. It can cause the business to have its merchant account rates raised, closed and/or be placed on the TMF/MATCH list.

At Performance Card Service, we have partnered with numerous payment processors that understand the obstacles that occur when trying to obtain a merchant account for travel services and airline charters. Along with our processors, we work to ensure our merchants in the travel industry receive excellent customer service and support to give their business the best chance of longevity. Contact one of our experienced staff members today for a free consultation.

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