Top tips for choosing card acquirer in the travel sector

Key to the success of any business is the ability to accept payments for goods and services

Choosing the right card acceptance provider can be both confusing and time consuming. Nowhere is this truer than in the travel sector, where agents are traditionally required to provide acquirers with expensive up-front indemnity payments due to the risk associated with the industry.  Tony Mooney, Business Development Director, First Data Merchant Solutions, offers his top five tips for travel agents when choosing a card acquirer:

  1. Bank is not always best
    There is a well versed myth that business owners need to use payment services from their business banking provider, however, this is not necessarily the best option. Make sure you do your research and contact a range of providers directly, the more questions they ask about your business and your future plans, the more likely they are to come up with the right deal for you.

  2. Reduce your fees
    We all know that travel is a risky business and as a result many travel agents are required to pay high security fees to their acquirers, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Independent card acceptance providers can often offer unique terms based on their industry knowledge and approach to risk. By measuring risk on an individual business basis, suggesting ways to reduce exposure and a range of ways to provide it, the amount of security required can be reduced  - which will ultimately support your bottom line and increase cash flow.

  3. Know where you stand
    In turn cash flow is the life blood to any business and knowing how much you have in the kitty at any given time is imperative. Online reporting resources offered by card acceptance providers can not only give you a 24/7 digestible overview of transactions but also a back history, so you can track how your business is fairing today compared to the previous year, month or week.

  4. Make sure you are compliant
    All businesses that process card payments are required to be PCI DSS compliant to make sure both you and your customers are protected, and cardholder information is stored and transmitted securely. In order to ensure that you achieve and maintain your compliance chose a card acceptance provider which offers a PCI DSS compliance programme as this will take you step by step through the process.

  5. Beware of card fraud
    While card fraud has fallen significantly thanks to the introduction of Chip & PIN for face to face transactions, travel companies remain at risk from online and over the phone card fraud. Your card acquirer can advise you of specific checks you can carry out to improve your protection. For example, enabling 3D Secure, such as Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode, for ecommerce payments adds an additional layer of security for both travel agents and consumers.