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Travel Industry Merchant Services

by Kimberly Baylies on June 25, 2020

In 2019, travel and tourism provided 5.9 million American jobs and contributed approximately $2.9 trillion to GDP, globally.

Despite this, banks consider the industry high-risk. This can make it difficult to get a travel merchant account to accept payments.  

Travel Industry merchant services can be tough.  They have enough to worry about without having to worry about that...learn moreRecently the travel and tourism industry has taken a beating. Not only are they losing business now, like many others, but they’re having to refund most of their past sales. And to add insult to injury, there’s no way to tell when the customers will come back. 

Travel is a volatile business in the first place. Whether the industry is booming or not depends largely on the economy. Companies that offer travel experience seasonal peaks and valleys that affect cash flow. The industry can also be adversely affected by natural disasters such as an earthquake or volcano or weather. People are pretty likely to cancel a vacation if a hurricane just destroyed their vacation destination. 

Unfortunately, companies that sell travel and tourism packages are considered high risk for banks and processors. Many things contribute to banks categorizing travel as a high-risk business model. They have high ticket items. They are often working with third parties to bring the product to the customer. And they have a higher than normal incidence of customer charge backs. 

Travel merchant accounts are higher risk for banks.

The very nature of travel as a luxury purchase makes it more of a risk for cancellation. After all, it is not exactly a necessity for most consumers. This means that travel plans are at a greater risk for cancellations and refunds. 

Banks are a conservative bunch and travel industry merchant services are no exceptionTravel often involves combining several fairly high priced elements into one quote. High ticket items pose a greater risk for the bank processing the payments. In the event the purchaser changes their mind or cancels their trip, the refund can be significant. 

In addition, travel and tourism companies often partner with third-party services to create a travel package. A travel provider will often work with an airline, a hotel, and an excursion company to complete the travel package. The more parties involved in the transaction, the more opportunity for customer dissatisfaction. And oftentimes, customer dissatisfaction leads to higher chargeback incidence. 

Travel companies will also often accept payment for service that isn't provided until a future date. The concern is that there’s too much time between the time of purchase and fulfillment of service. The consumer could change their mind, there could be a natural catastrophe or a pandemic. 

All these points lead to a high chance of cancellations and chargebacks. Card issuers’ main goal is to protect their customers.  The credit card companies’ chargeback measures are put in place to protect their consumer. Chargebacks for large ticket items can put a travel business in a tough place financially. If a company cannot afford to refund the money, the processing bank is liable. This all translates to a large set of risks for the acquiring bank issuing travel industry merchant accounts. 


A proven and experience travel merchant account provider makes the differenceGet the best reliable and affordable travel industry merchant account.

For these reasons, travel companies need to pay close attention to their bottom line. Not only during hard times but all the time. Travel companies need a merchant service provider that can advise them on solutions that support success. And provide them at a price they can afford. 

Yes, travel is a bit more of a risk for acquiring banks. But it's also one of the most important industries in the country. The industry must be able to accept payments, and our banking partners know this. Just because travel poses a higher risk than other businesses doesn't mean there aren’t affordable merchant accounts. 

The travel and tourism industry operates through retail, eCommerce, mobile, and MOTO. Travel agencies often take payments over the phone. Hand keying in payment information into the payment gateway or virtual terminal. Because of this, travel businesses must be able to take payments in multiple ways. We can help. Whether you accept payments in your agency, on your eCommerce site, or over the phone, we have affordable solutions.  

Benefits of a domestic travel merchant account for accepting credit card payments.

Travel companies are not relegated to processing through offshore merchant accounts. We’ve forged strong relationships with domestic banks to bring domestic processing to our travel business partners. 

Domestic payment processing has many advantages.

Domestic travel industry merchant servicesWith domestic banks, merchants experience quicker underwriting and therefore, quicker approval.

Even though travel is a high risk, and that comes with higher rates, rates would be even higher through an offshore merchant account. Processing through a domestic bank means lower credit card processing rates in general. But, your rates aren't low just because they are through a domestic merchant account. Our strong banking relationships have enabled us to negotiate very competitive rates for our travel industry clients. 

You’ll also enjoy much faster funding times with domestic processing. And since you're not having to pay for wiring money, the overall costs and fees are lower as well. Domestic processing, competitive rates, quick funding, no extra wiring, or hidden fees all combine for a beneficial payment solution.


When you’re in the travel industry, domestic customer service is so important. Increased cancellations and chargebacks mean more need for customer service. You may find yourself needing to contact your payment processor more often than other businesses do. 

Not only do we offer domestic customer service through our offices, but so does the domestic bank. When you have a problem, call your dedicated merchant account advisor. And, after hours, you’ll be able to contact a U.S. based customer service agent capable of accessing your account.

Accept payments in all types of currencies, from all over the world, with dynamic currency conversion capabilities. Travel companies must accept payments from both U.S. and travelers across the globe. Dynamic currency conversion allows you to accept all types of currency, and easily convert to U.S. dollars for deposit.

The travel industry is unique in that they don't work with just any POS system. Travel companies must have a merchant account that can integrate with specialized POS systems. Our merchant account and payment gateways integrate easily with popular travel distribution systems like TravelWorks, Amedeus, Sabre any many more.

Fraud prevention safeguards and managing chargeback numbers are of utmost importance to the success of a travel company. Fraud and chargebacks cause significant money loss for travel merchants. Both of those can also cost a travel company their merchant account affecting the ability to accept payments. 

Our advisors will help you choose the best chargeback mitigation and dispute management services. In addition, our merchant accounts come with an extensive array of fraud-fighting tools that can be customized for your needs. All of these are important ways to help keep costs down and your merchant account operating reliably. 

Why Bankcard International Group (BIG) for your travel merchant account services?

Why is B.I.G. the best travel industry merchant account provider.Bankcard International Group is able to offer merchant accounts and payment solutions to a wide range of travel-related businesses.  Our long-standing relationships allow us to work with travel companies when others can't. Our solutions offer fair and competitive pricing for travel-specific niches such as hotel and airline ticket sales, vacation packages, and travel memberships.

If you're looking for a reliable and cost-effective solution to accept credit cards in your travel business look no further. We’ll take a consultative approach to ensure you’re fit with the best solutions for your business needs. Our staff of ETA- Certified Payment Professionals hold themselves to the highest professional standards. We promise credibility and transparency in your payment processing. And, we take pride in being here for you for the life of your business. 

Give us a call and be prepared to experience the “BIG Difference!”


Topics: High Risk Merchant Account, Travel Industry