Travel Merchant Accounts For Secure Global Payments

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Travel merchants need to accept payments from customers throughout the world. Secure payment processing is vital to the success of your travel business.

Strong Growth for International Travel

The travel industry is booming and it’s getting younger. According to the Boston Consulting Group, millennials (16 to 34 year olds) are close to 23% more likely to travel abroad than those older than them.

This means a wave of young, enthusiastic travelers are shaping an age-old industry. They want to fly to exotic locations, try unique cuisines and pay for it all online. Forward looking travel companies are already looking at ways they can cater to this growing market for young international travelers.

If you offer hospitality, transportation, travel agency or other travel related services, you’re probably looking at innovative marketing, sales and customer services tactics to get the attention of young travelers. What you probably don’t pay attention to is the payment infrastructure in place to accept payments from these potential clients.

It’s easy to assume that the vast, global payment system will take care of all the transactions that come through to you. You might assume that card payments from a British teenager or a refund to an Indian college group are all automatically taken care of by the big banks and government agencies. But it turns out opening your business to foreign transactions exposes your business to a whole set of risks.

What are the Risks for International Payments? 

 A global survey conducted by ACI Worldwide and Aite Group  with the help of 6,000 businesses spread across 20 countries found that the rate of fraud was increasing annually. Small and medium sized businesses who interact with customers from around the world were particularly at risk.

BNP Paribas, a French bank, also states that businesses are more prone to card fraud when they interact with customers from high risk areas. This includes countries with particularly high rates of corruption or prone to political and economic risks.

Risky developing countries are not the only ones that pose a threat in terms of card fraud. In fact, the payment network in the United States is known to be particularly vulnerable and the country accounts for more losses due to card fraud than all other countries combined.  

Then there’s the risk of chargebacks. Chargebacks are when customers initiate a complaint and get their money back through an acquiring bank. The rate of fraud in these cases has been steadily increasing. The Airlines Reporting Corporation has published a guideline for tour operators and travel agents to prevent chargebacks. The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) has a similar handbook that states the rules and regulations for card transactions.

As an international travel business, you can’t really avoid foreign transactions. Most of your clients or suppliers may be abroad. You may have to handle a basket of different currencies and work with a number of foreign companies. Not only is it difficult to manage the currency volatility and differences in regulations, but it is also incredibly hard to secure international transactions.

Because of the high ticket sales and multiple currencies, traditional banks and payment operators classify a travel business as ‘high risk’. This makes it difficult for a travel company to process payments for clients.

Businesses in the travel and tourism sector are increasingly turning to other, more secure options for payment. For instance, a travel merchant account can help your business safely interact with the global payment network and avoid most of these risks.

How A Travel Merchant Account Helps You

A travel merchant account is specifically designed for businesses that operate in the travel and tourism sector. These accounts follow all the regulations set forth by the international authorities and have special tools to help reduce the risks involved.

Travel merchant accounts are Level 1 PCI DSS compliant, which means your payments are secure regardless of their origin. These accounts can also help you boost sales by accepting payments through multiple channels, such as echecks, ACH, and localized payment networks.

Your  high ticket transactions through a travel merchant account can be split between a number of acquiring banks, to help mitigate the risk of fraud. Online tools and automated services offer you a way to manage your customers and significantly reduce the rate of chargebacks at your business.


The global payment system has evolved and a travel merchant account is the best way to keep your business at the forefront of a changing industry.

A travel merchant account is the perfect way to adapt your business and help it survive in this new, interconnected world. All your payments are brought together under one, secure account which lets you focus on building sales and helping customers.

You can apply for a travel merchant account for free and quickly gain access to the global payment network. Most processors prefer high volume merchants that will process a minimum of $100,000 a month.

Merchant accounts are established in the jurisdictions where your customers are located.  This lets you:

  • Save money on processing rates by taking advantage of lower intra-region interchange rates
  • Reduce expesnes you money by elimiating cross-border processing and foreign exhcnage fees
  • Offer payments in local currencies
  • Get more sale by providing popular alternative payment options at checkout

How are you handling your international payments for your travel business?

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The world is a lot smaller than it used to be. Connected devices and free trade have allowed people to transact business without borders. Every business now has the potential to be completely global from the very first day it starts operating.

Business services are location-independent and manufacturing services have been steadily migrating to other parts of the world. And payment processing is also migrating offshore.

  • Some high risk merchants find it easier to obtain offshore merchant accounts than domestic ones.
  • Higher capacity processing.  Offshore merchant accounts seldom have caps on volumes
  • Quick incoproation.  Setting up an offshore corporation is fast & inexpensive. 
  • Many entrepreneurs prefer registering offshore entities to mitigate political risks and maintain confidentiality.

Growth of Global Ecommerce

According to Transparency International, setting up an offshore entity is likely to cost less than $1000 and take less than ten minutes. This makes it really easy for entrepreneurs to set up location-independant companies that can attract business from all over the globe.

This has allowed trade to flourish. According to the US Federal Reserve and the WTO, global trade has skyrocketed in recent years. Global merchandise exports totaled $18 trillion in 2014.  It’s easier than ever to create a multi-national organization.

While it might be easy to conduct business across borders, transactions are still limited to your location. You business has the potential to expand if only you can offer a truly global payment platform to all your customers. Payment system are the only bottleneck to global trade.

Payments Bottleneck

The global financial system has failed to keep up with international trade. Off shore businesses are considered high risk merchants by banks and conventional financial firms.

High risk merchants find it difficult to set up merchant accounts and receive payments from customers. Card payments are complicated by the bureaucracy of different jurisdictions. Banks operate on different time-scales which slows down the process. Not to mention the archaic tax regime in different parts of the world.

The opaque nature of offshore entities and the inability to track beneficial ownership details is what worries the banks. But legitimate business interests are harmed by this lack of trust. Banks either refuse to do business or charge extortionately high fees, regardless of the business model or reputation of the firm.

For an offshore company conducting business in the United States, the barriers to quick and easy card payments are immense. This stifles economic growth and innovation.

A Better Solution

Payment providers can offer better solutions to high risk merchants. Including offshore merchant accounts.

An offshore merchant account allows you to transact seamlessly across borders. The transactions are processed completely swiftly and securely. Chargebacks and fraud are reduced and the platform allows you to manage multiple currencies simultaneously.

This payment gateway has the potential to serve as a competitive edge. The quicker payment system allows you to manage cash flows more effectively and offer a quicker service to customers from across the globe.


To sum up, global trade and commerce is rapidly expanding. Opening a multinational business is now easier than ever. But your global business is limited by the local payment infrastructure.

A well-selected offshore merchant account will help you overcome this barrier. Offshore accounts offer a number of advantages that will help your business flourish.

How can your business benefit from an offshore merchant account?

Contact today