What to Know Before Getting Started
It can be difficult for travel agencies to choose a merchant services provider. The credit card processing industry generally categorizes travel agents as a high risk business type due to the fact that most travel agency transactions take place long before the actual product or service is delivered to the customer. This leaves travel merchants open to chargebacks and other payment disputes, which are costly procedures that deter many merchant services providers from offering travel merchant accounts.
To help you find the best payment processor for your travel agency, we have compiled a list of the top travel merchant account providers below. These credit card processors provide various high risk merchant services for travel agents. Most of these providers are geared toward e-commerce business types, although some offer options for traditional travel credit card processing. The fact that many of these businesses are chiefly high risk providers means that merchants should expect to see higher rates than they would pay with standard credit card processing. Additionally, merchants should be aware that many of these providers offer their services via offshore merchant accounts. In order to obtain the best rates and service, make sure to click through each provider’s website to find the right fit for you.
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Why We Chose These Merchant Account Providers
eMerchantBroker.com is a Los Angeles, California-based company that offers high risk e-commerce processing solutions including travel merchant accounts. The company’s products include ACH processing, an online payment gateway, merchant cash advance, and a chargeback management system to help merchants dispute and resolve chargeback claims. eMerchantBroker.com places an emphasis on providing credit card processing for travel businesses.
eMerchantBroker.com offers custom pricing for each merchant and maintains a low complaint rate relative to its size and merchant portfolio. Our review of eMerchantBroker gives the company an “A” rating overall and the BBB assigns the company a rating of “A+.”
Based in Woodland Hills, California, PaymentCloud is a merchant account provider that specializes in serving high risk business types. The company’s products and services include point-of-sale solutions, mobile phone swipers, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, EMV-compatible terminals, and merchant cash advances. PaymentCloud is a good option for travel agencies and timeshare companies.
PaymentCloud provides a dedicated account rep to all new merchants for the life of the account. The company has not received any negative complaints on consumer forums, and it customizes its pricing according to each merchant’s business type and processing history. The BBB does not maintain a profile for PaymentCloud at this time, but CPO gives the company an “A.”
Host Merchant Services
Host Merchant Services is a Newark, Delaware-based merchant account provider that is capable of placing domestic travel and tour industry merchants. The company’s products and services include point-of-sale solutions, online marketing tools, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, mobile credit card processing, gift and loyalty programs, merchant cash advance, and offshore merchant accounts for certain business types. Host Merchant Services specializes in e-commerce businesses and provides a free website and email address to interested new merchants.
Host Merchant Services has received only positive feedback on public forums, with most reviewers singling out the company’s customer service for praise. Host offers interchange-plus pricing with no early termination fees to all of its merchants, but rates may differ for merchants in the travel industry. The BBB gives Host an “A+” rating, and CPO also gives the company an “A+.”
Secondary Merchant Account Options
Durango Merchant Services
Based in Durango, Colorado, Durango Merchant Services offers traditional credit card processing and offshore payment processing for high risk businesses. The company was founded in 1999 and provides credit and debit payments, e-commerce solutions, payment gateways, and eCheck processing services to high risk and TMF merchants in the travel industry. Durango is also able to place certain travel-related business types like timeshare advertising, vacation rentals, and hotel reservations.
Durango typically sets its pricing for each account according to the merchant’s business type and processing history. The company enjoys a clean complaint record across all consumer protection websites and regularly receives positive reviews with regard to its sales and support teams. Our review of Durango Merchant Services awards the company an “A+” rating at this time, and the Better Business Bureau is currently granting the company an “A+” grade.
Founded in 2009, Payline Data is a positively reviewed all-purpose merchant account provider that is also capable of serving certain high risk industries including travel merchants. Payline’s products and services include POS equipment, mobile payment acceptance, merchant cash advance, and an online payment gateway with direct QuickBooks integration. Payline is able to serve most travel merchant types, but it can only process payments for airline booking services that have been in business for more than ten years.
Payline Data typically offers interchange-plus pricing with no early termination fees, but it customizes its high risk pricing according to each merchant’s processing history and business type. Payline routinely receives positive feedback from merchants and has very few complaints across all consumer protection websites. Our review of Payline Data awards the company an “A+” rating, while the BBB gives it an “A.”
Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Vantage Payments is a merchant account provider that can provide both domestic and offshore merchant accounts for high risk merchant types including travel industry merchants. The company’s products and services include remote deposit capture, European direct debit, call center services, multi-currency support, web design, and SEO assistance. Vantage can serve most types of travel agency, but it is not recommended for discount travel businesses.
Vantage Payments currently has a clean complaint record across all review websites, which is an impressive feat for a company specializing in offshore merchant accounts. Our review of Vantage gives the company an “A” rating at this time, while the BBB gives Vantage an “A+.”
Based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Instabill is a credit card processor specializing in high risk merchant accounts. The company’s website advertises travel industry card payment processing for airline tickets, hotel reservations, and vacation home rentals. Instabill also provides offshore merchant accounts, a payment gateway, payment processing in over 160 currencies, and AVS (Address Verification Systems) as a fraud prevention measure.
Instabill has very few recent online complaints relative to the hard-to-place nature of the businesses it serves. Our review of Instabill currently assigns the company an “A” rating, and the BBB is awarding Instabill a grade of “A” based on three complaints in the last three years.
Electronic Transfer Inc.
Electronic Transfer Inc. is a high risk merchant account provider operating out of Spokane, Washington. Founded in 1989, the company is able to offer a wide range of services to merchants in the travel industry, including a payment gateway, POS equipment, tokenization, MOTO options, recurring billing, hosted payment pages, and an online shopping cart. Electronic Transfer is only able to place merchants located in the U.S. with a valid street address.
Electronic Transfer has a remarkably low complaint rate relative to the amount of time it has been in business and offers custom pricing to most of its high risk merchants. The company currently has an “A” rating on CardPaymentOptions.com and an “A+” rating with the BBB.
If your business offers travel industry merchant processing, please leave a comment in the comment section below or contact us through our contact page in order to get listed in this article.