By Taz Bareham — 1 Apr 2016
Making credit card payments online is the norm among today’s consumers, especially when paying for travel-related purchases.
This is why your ability to process your customer’s credit card is integral to making it convenient for both them and you.
This is your chance to learn:
Some of you may think that at the moment, you don’t need to set up credit card processing online because taking payments the old school way of cash on arrival still works just fine. However, if you stick with this approach, you’re actually missing out on a huge piece of the pie. Customer like to know that their bookings are 100% confirmed, and they know this when they can have their credit cards processed online and make the payments then and there.
In a survey of credit card users, 62% of them said they used their cards to buy travel products, and those aged 50 and up were actually more likely (68%) than those aged 18-49 (55%) to use their cards. This shows that people of all ages use their credit cards to purchase travel-related products online.
Some more numbers about exactly how prolific credit cards are come from statistics about Australian credit card usage. We spend an average of $22.9 billion ($17.1 billion US) every month using credit cards, and there are only 24 million of us. Scale that up to a population of around 320 million in the United States and you can imagine how large the numbers get. Credit card transactions account for some big money, so it is a very relevant issue for everyone.
There are two options when it comes to processing credit card payments online.
This is done through a merchant account and is essentially a two-step process. The first step is to create a merchant account, after which point you select a payment gateway to process the payments. This method essentially creates a link between your customer’s bank account and your business bank account, which then allows you to accept debit and credit card payments.
The first way to set up a merchant account is through a bank. Banks are highly regulated and generally are not very friendly towards tour operators who are just starting out. They tend to be quite risk-averse and as a result they either reject applications from small businesses with a high chance of returns or refunds, or they charge a large fee. If this is a common occurrence for your tour, we highly suggest that you go with the deferred payment processing instead of a merchant account. More will be said about deferred payment processing below.
Credit card companies are another way you can get a merchant account. Small businesses generally get their accounts this way because credit card companies are a little more accommodating. Some of them will require you to maintain an account with their bank as well.
Thirdly, there are third-party providers of merchant accounts. It is quick and easy to sign up with these providers, but once again they are not ideal for rapidly growing businesses because they often charge quite high fees. PayPal is an example of a third-party provider which is easier to sign up to than a bank or a credit card company.
Fees are a big consideration when setting up a merchant account. There are fees such as application fees, per-transaction fees, monthly minimums, discount rates and chargebacks. These fees often depend on factors like how long you have been in business, your personal credit rating, average transaction value, total sales, the type of industry you are operating in, and other factors as well. They are all considerations that you need to take into account when researching which is best for you.
This is the second step involved in setting up a merchant account. Rezdy is integrated with several payment gateways such as Authorize.net, Braintree, Paymentexpress, eway, First Data, NAB Transact, Ogone, PayPal and Westpac Payway. Within your Rezdy account, you are able to look at each of these and evaluate their respective strengths and weaknesses.
When a customer places an order through your website, that order will be submitted through your Rezdy account or through your online booking agent. Once that’s done, the online booking agent will contact the payment gateway, who will then confirm payment with the booking agent, and then settle payment to the bank. Once that’s processed, funds will be transferred to your account.
Another processing option that you have is deferred payment processing. This is done through what Rezdy calls the Rezdy Vault. Setting this up first involves getting a Point of Sale System, which is an external system that you’ll use, and then setting up the Rezdy Vault within your Rezdy account. You do need to know that this system is only semi-automated – the payments will not be made automtically the same way they would be with a merchant account and a payment gateway.
A deferred payment processing method is really good for tour and activity operators who have a high chance of cancellations due to, for example, bad weather. This is because, if the payment is processed automatically and the activity is then cancelled, you have to go through the hassle of organizing a refund. If it is deferred, you collect the card details and then apply payment only when necessary, i.e. once the activity has taken place.
The Rezdy Vault provides a secure credit card authorization which can be used with the Point of Sale system. It acquires the credit card details from the customer through the online booking system and stores them securely, but you then manually process the payment when you need to.
The main advantage of the Rezdy Vault is that there is no additional cost, because the Vault simply securely stores the card information for you to manually process later.
For a full walkthrough of how to use the Rezdy Vault, as well as more information about payment gateways and merchant accounts, please take a look at the webinar at the top of the page. Please feel free to send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll give you a call and help you through it if you have any further questions.