Best Merchant Accounts For Travel

Best Merchant Accounts for Travel

Selecting one of the right merchant accounts for travel agencies can be a complicated task. This is because the payment processing industry categorizes travel agencies as high-risk businesses due to the extended time period between the transaction and the delivery of the product or service to the customer. This time lag increases the likelihood of chargebacks and payment disputes, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

To make the process of choosing a provider easier, we’ve made a list of the leading travel merchant account providers. These credit card processors offer tailored services to cater to the specific needs of high-risk travel businesses. Many of these service providers specialize in e-commerce companies, but some also offer classic travel credit card processing services.

However, it is important to note that as these providers primarily serve high-risk industries, they may charge higher rates compared to standard credit card processing. Furthermore, some of these providers may offer their services through offshore merchant accounts. You must visit each provider’s website and evaluate the alternatives offered to pick the perfect fit for your travel agency to acquire the best pricing and service.

What Businesses are in the Travel and Tourism Category?

Which businesses are classified under the travel and tourism sector? There are several business segments that come under the umbrella term of the “travel industry.” Some of the most prominent ones include:

  • Airlines
  • Travel agencies and clubs
  • Charter companies
  • Ticket sales agencies
  • Cruise lines
  • Membership programs
  • Hospitality businesses
  • Travel tour operators
  • Hotels, resorts, and accommodation providers
  • E-commerce travel websites

These travel-related businesses greatly benefit from having a high-risk travel merchant account. It allows them to efficiently and securely accept payments from travelers anywhere and anytime. Fortunately, there is a vast network of travel merchants acquiring banks that can process card and electronic payments for these businesses in the travel industry.

 Why Travel Merchants Are Regarded as High-Risk

The travel industry is considered high risk due to the prevalence of chargebacks, which occur when a traveler disputes a transaction with their issuing bank. This issue results in an estimated loss of $25 billion per year for the travel industry. Effective management of chargebacks and fraud is crucial for travel merchants.

The high rate of chargebacks among travel merchants is caused by three major factors. The first is the high average cost of travel transactions. With tickets, accommodations, tours, and other expenses, travelers may be more likely to initiate chargebacks for “friendly fraud.” Secondly, the long wait between payment and travel can result in canceled trips or buyer’s remorse. Lastly, the history of bankruptcies and failures in the travel industry has caused banks to be wary of boarding travel merchants.

Fortunately, there are tools available for travel merchants to minimize the risk of chargebacks. A travel merchant account gateway offers a range of fraud-fighting tools that can be customized and managed by the merchants. Additionally, chargeback mitigation and dispute resolution services can assist travel merchants in avoiding chargebacks and successfully resolving disputes. These services provide early alerts when travelers dispute a transaction, giving merchants a refund, minimizing the risk of chargeback, and helping merchants fight and win chargeback disputes.

What is the Purpose of the Travel Merchant Account?

Travel merchant accounts are a special form of high-risk merchants that allows travel companies to safely conduct online card payments or other electronic transactions. Despite the fact that merchant-acquiring banks consider travel to be a high-risk industry, travel merchant accounts assist in mitigating this risk, enabling travel firms to keep functioning without payment processing interruptions.

The travel sector is now growing, as are the companies that operate inside it. To stay ahead, travel agencies need a solid travel merchant account that could keep up with their operations while managing consumer payments with simplicity and speed.

Our Picks for the Best Merchant Accounts For Travel

best travel merchant accounts
  • Payment Cloud
  • WorldPay
  • Durango Merchant Services
  • Instabill
  • Fiserv

Payment Cloud

PaymentCloud is a merchant services company that focuses in credit card payments for airlines.  They are a reliable and trusted provider of payment processing solutions for MOTO, eCommerce, and some other high-risk businesses. The company’s greatest assets are its personal advocacy and support to merchants throughout the account onboarding process and beyond.

PaymentCloud’s clients are mostly high-risk enterprises situated in the United States,  although the company also supports lower-risk merchants. The benefits of working with PaymentCloud include excellent customer support, no setup fees, and free credit card terminals. However, there are also some drawbacks, such as the need for more publicly disclosed pricing and better website navigability.

Despite these minor setbacks, PaymentCloud provides dependable services at a reasonable price. The company has a high reputation and positive reviews from customers, as well as strong recommendations from highly-respectable companies.PaymentCloud is a wonderful alternative for any travel-related firm that is classified as high-risk for whatever reason.


Worldpay is a well-established player in the payments industry, offering customized solutions designed specifically for your business. Whether you’re in the travel, cruise, or hotel industry, Worldpay promises to create a payment service that is tailored to your unique needs, providing your customers with a seamless and hassle-free payment experience across all platforms, including desktop, mobile, and virtual reality.

With a customer support team that specializes in the travel sector, Worldpay’s market-leading strategy can help you lower costs, reduce fraud, and expand into new markets. If you’re a prominent merchant operating on an international scale, Worldpay is the right choice for you.

Like its payment solutions, Worldpay’s pricing plans are also tailored to your business. The company accepts transactions in 126 currencies and has more than 20 years of experience, making it a reliable partner for any business. However, smaller companies may find that there are better solutions for their needs.

Durango Merchant Services

Durango Merchant Services has carved a place in the high-risk merchant world by offering its services to businesses that might be turned down by traditional financial institutions. They cater to various travel-related industries such as travel agencies, tour operators, travel planning and reservations, and more. Their services will make payment collection easier and lower the danger of chargebacks.

Durango advertises some of the most reasonable travel payment processing prices, with discount rates ranging from 1.95% to 4.95%, authorization costs ranging between $0.15 and $0.25, and monthly fees ranging between $5 and $60. However, charges may differ depending on the merchant they are working with. It’s advisable to contact Durango directly to acquire a precise idea of their fees.


Instabill is a company that places a strong emphasis on security and protection. Its fraud protection service is designed with the needs of travel agencies in mind, offering a range of risk management solutions to help minimize the occurrence of chargebacks and protect against fraudulent transactions.

In addition to its focus on security, Instabill also provides tailored merchant service packages for travel agencies. These packages are designed to accommodate payments for travel tickets or hotel reservations and include the ability to handle such payments in real-time.

Instabill understands that the success of a travel agency depends on reliable and efficient payment processing. That’s why they offer 24/7 customer support, with a dedicated phone support team available at all times to assist with any errors or problems that may arise during the payment process. This support is designed to provide a quick resolution to customers from all over the world, ensuring a smooth payment experience for everyone involved.


Fiserv is known for its long-standing history as a reliable merchant services provider. With over half a century of experience, they have established themselves as a top choice for high-risk merchants. Their tailored solutions cater to a wide range of businesses, from small startups to large enterprises, ensuring that each client receives a bespoke service that perfectly fits their needs.

One of the key features of Fiserv is its seamless integration with websites. They aim to provide customers with a smooth and effortless payment experience, no matter the device they use. It helps to increase customer satisfaction and reduce the risk of chargebacks, as payments are processed quickly and efficiently.

In terms of pricing, Fiserv keeps its rates confidential, as they vary greatly depending on the needs of each client. To get a better understanding of the costs involved, it’s best to reach out to them directly. Nevertheless, Fiserv’s commitment to delivering high-quality services to high-risk merchants, combined with their years of experience, makes them a trusted and dependable choice for any business needing a reliable merchant services provider.

Things to Consider When Choosing The Right Merchant Account Provider for Your Travel Agency

When selecting a merchant service provider for a travel agency, there are several important factors to consider to ensure the provider meets the specific needs of your business.


 A smooth integration process with your existing facilities is crucial to ensure that you can continue to operate effectively. This is especially important in today’s world, where mobile payments are becoming increasingly popular, especially for last-minute travel and tour bookings. Look for a provider that offers mobile payment solutions to expand your reach and cater to customers who prefer to transact using their mobile devices.


Not all merchant service providers are suitable for every sector of the travel industry. Some may only cater to travel agencies and destination marketing, while others may offer services for cruise ship and airline bookings. Make sure your chosen provider accommodates your business’s specific sector(s).

Extent of services

Some merchant service providers may only offer merchant account services, while others go the extra mile and offer payment processing and payment gateway solutions to handle everything from accepting and processing customer payments to fraud protection and chargeback prevention. Consider the size of your business when deciding on the extent of services you need. Smaller ventures may not require the same robust fraud protection and chargeback prevention features as larger travel enterprises.


Good customer support is critical, especially in the event of a dispute. Make sure you choose a provider with a responsive customer support team that you can easily reach and communicate with. Direct merchant service providers that handle everything in-house tend to have better customer support as they are not reliant on outsourcing.


In conclusion, finding the right merchant services provider for a travel agency can be a complex task, as the payment processing industry views travel agencies as high-risk businesses. However, there are several providers specializing in providing merchant services for high-risk travel businesses.

These providers offer various tools and services to manage chargebacks and fraud, which are common issues in the travel industry. It is crucial for travel agencies to evaluate the alternatives offered by each provider and choose the one that best fits their needs. Among the leading providers are Payment Cloud, WorldPay, Durango Merchant Services, Instabill, and Fiserv. Each provider has its strengths and weaknesses, but all offer dependable services at reasonable prices.

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