The Best Merchant Services for Travel Agencies in 2021

Map, passports, flight tickets and a coffee

By Rob Binns | Senior Writer | Updated: 15 April 2021

Your customers are going places – make sure your business is, too! Compare our top 5 merchant services providers for travel agencies, and start accepting credit and debit card payments.


There are maybe four things human beings need to do: eat, sleep, breathe… and go on holiday.

And, now that COVID-19-enforced restrictions are finally easing – and the revered prospect of actually being able to go away is beginning to return to the table – your travel agency needs to be ready for an influx of sun-starved holidaymakers.

And, let’s face it – no one books a flight, package holiday, or luxury villa and pays with a wad of cash. Your business needs to be ready to accept credit and debit card payments: online, over the phone, and from your office or physical store.

In other words, you’ll need a merchant services provider – but not from just any old provider. You need a way of taking high-value payments while staying safe and avoiding chargebacks. And you’ll need a provider that understands the line of work you’re in and what its unique challenges are – particular as the country begins to emerge from what’s been a tough time for the industry at large.

Put simply, you need a merchant account that’s going to meet the unique demands of your travel agency.

The five merchant services providers below lead the way for delivering value, efficiency and safety for travel agencies Because – unlike a long-haul flight – choosing the right provider doesn’t have to be a long and arduous journey!

Did You Know?

On a normal (that is, non-pandemic) year, Brits spend around £44 billion on holidays. Exactly how much sunburn that equates to we don’t know.


The top merchant services for travel agents in 2021

We compared five of the best merchant services on the market for travel businesses. Our handpicked suppliers reflect those best suited for the unique demands of travel agents. They’re suited to higher value, higher risk transactions, and have a track record in the travel trade.

Our top picks include Worldpay, Fiserv, Instabill, Retail Merchant Services, and CashFlows.

Scroll on to read our expert reviews of each. Or – if you just want to cut straight to the chase, and start comparing quotes now – we can help.

Simply complete our form below to furnish us with a few details about your travel agency's requirements. That includes your expected monthly turnover in card, whether you've used a merchant services provider before – and, if so, who – plus some details about your industry, and what type of card payments you're looking to accept.

Once you're done, we'll use that info about your requirements to pair you with one or more leading merchant account providers for travel agencies. If any are a match, one or more of these suppliers will be in touch with you directly, to provide tailored, no-obligation quotes and advice. 

It's free for UK-based businesses, and takes just 30 seconds to fill in. Hit one of the buttons below to get started!

Compare Quotes From Leading Merchant Services Providers for Travel Agencies and Save
It takes just 30 seconds...
1. Does your travel agency already accept credit and debit card payments? YES NO

Worldpay

Best for all-round excellence

With high-flying clients like Airbnb, Expedia and eDreams, Worldpay is one of the biggest names in the industry. With bespoke solutions that are completely tailored to your business – whether you’re a travel agent, or in cruises or hotels – Worldpay promises to craft the best, most bespoke payment service for you. It also claims to offer your clients a smooth and seamless payment experience: from desktop and mobile, all the way to virtual reality payments.

Worldpay also offers a customer support team specialising in travel sector payments. Its market-leading approach can help you reduce costs as well as fraud, while its innovative features can help you enter new markets and grow your business. If you’re a larger merchant operating internationally, Worldpay is the provider for you.

Pricing

Like its bespoke payment solutions, Worldpay tailors its pricing plans to your business.

Pros:

  • Accepts payments in 126 currencies
  • Over 20 years of experience

X Cons:

  • Not the best option for smaller businesses

Fiserv

Best for ecommerce solutions

With a strong selection of face-to-face and ecommerce payment solutions, Fiserv (formerly First Data) should be the first port of call for travel agencies with scalability on the brain. It has a history of innovation and success, processing the lion's share of all payments in the US, while boasting 50 years of experience supporting high-risk businesses on this side of the pond. Fiserv also aims to streamline and speed up your online transactions, meaning hassle-free staff, and even happier travellers.

Fiserv has a range of payment solutions ideal for your travel business. Its hosted payment gateway is ideal for taking big payments like flights or hotel bookings. And it takes the weight of PCI compliance off your shoulders while slotting soundly into the look and feel of your website.

Pricing

You’ll have to enquire for a unique package for your business.

Pros:

  • Solutions for both smaller and larger travel businesses
  • Large variety of payment options available

X Cons:

  • No travel industry-specific customer support team

Instabill

Best for high-risk transactions

When you’re taking high value, high-risk payments every day, you need to make sure your payment provider can keep up. Luckily, Instabill takes on the responsibility. Its risk management and fraud protection tools are handmade for travel agencies, while its flexible merchant services packages are tailored to selling airline tickets, hotel reservations, and even timeshares. Instabill welcomes high-risk businesses with open arms, and accepting several currencies is no problem, either. Insta-brill!

People don't book their holidays and hotels on a 9 to 5 basis, and your merchant account shouldn't work this way either. Instabill’s secure servers handle transactions in real-time; what’s more, its dedicated phone support team are available around the clock. So you can get the advice you need, no matter what the time zone.

Pricing

A quote will depend on your expected turnover and transaction volume. You’ll need to get in touch for more detailed pricing.

Pros:

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Great if you do a lot of business in the US

X Cons:

  • US-based – not as honed to the specific needs of UK businesses

Retail Merchant Services

Best for customer satisfaction ratings

It doesn’t matter whether you do the bulk of your business in person or online: Retail Merchant Services offers plenty of simple ways to take high value payments. Already comfortably catering to thousands of businesses across the UK – including hotshot hoteliers Best Western – we reckon it’s pretty well-equipped to help propel your business to new heights.

And in terms of what their customers are saying about them online, RMS soar above the competition. 4,420 reviewers awarded RMS five out of five stars on Trustpilot – 94% of the total. It’s not just RMS’ illustrious clients in the travel industry that love them – it’s the people on the ground too.

Pricing

Prices are available on enquiry. Or you can fill out this form to get quotes and save by comparing top suppliers.

Pros:

  • Customer service available late and on weekends
  • Understands UK businesses

X Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer support specifically for travel businesses
Did You Know?

Pre COVID-19, there were around 40 million visits to the UK by overseas residents every year – who spent almost £50 billion annually!


CashFlows

Best for chargeback avoidance

CashFlows offers straightforward, intuitive, and – most importantly – affordable merchant services for UK travel agencies. It’s simple to set up, and streamlines your workload – think downloadable reports, transparent customer support, and top-notch fraud protection. That means you'll save both time and money, and be free to grow your business, rather than simply run it – not to mention resting easy, with fewer chargebacks cluttering your desk!

Pricing

CashFlows claims to offer much lower rates than its rivals, but don’t give exact details about pricing. So you’ll have to enquire if you feel CashFlows is the option for you.

Pros:

  • Flexible payment gateway solutions
  • Quick on-boarding process

X Cons:

  • Less experienced than other merchant account providers here

Expert verdict

Whether you’re a hotel hotshot or a brilliant B’n’B booker, there’s a merchant account for your business.

Worldpay is the best all-rounder and comes with a big name and one eye on the future. Retail Merchant Services has a track record of making their customers happy. And Fiserv can help your travel business branch out into a truly global outfit.

Convinced? Pop your details into our short form for tailored quotes. Or read on to cover your bases before you choose.


3 things to consider before jumping in

How do you take payments?

How you take payments will depend on how big your travel business is, where your clients come from, and how much money you take at a time. We’ve broken down the options based on how you want to accept payments.

 Online:

You’ll need a payment gateway to accept online payments. These act as a bridge between accounts, facilitating payment and providing security. They’re hosted by the payment provider you choose, or integrated within your own website. Selling higher-value goods like flights or package holidays online? A payment gateway is a must-have.

 In store:

Does your travel business rely on face-to-face dealings with your clients? If so, it’s likely you take a lot of payments in person. Which means you’ll need a merchant account that offers some of the best credit card machines for small businesses. Cash payments are being phased out, and without a reliable PDQ solution, you are exposing your business to unnecessary risk.

 Mail or phone:

If this is how your travel agency does business, you need a merchant service with a virtual terminal. As well as letting you take payments remotely, they’re great for storing data and tracking payments.

What kind of volume of card payments will you be taking?

This is a big deal, and will almost certainly decide which merchant service is right for your travel agency.

Each provider will have different pricing: some offer flat rates, others offer a fixed transaction fee, while you’ll often encounter a combination of the two. Other providers work on a sliding scale depending on the amount of card payments you take per month. Make sure you’ve compared quotes, and know which company will save you the most money in the long run.

Where is your business coming from?

Does most of your travel business deal with inbound clients from overseas? If you aren’t dealing with international payments now, you will be soon. Make sure you take into account what the fees are for borderless transactions – and pick the merchant account service for travel agents that’s the right fit for you!

Compare Quotes From Leading Merchant Services Providers for Travel Agencies and Save
It takes just 30 seconds...
1. Does your travel agency already accept credit and debit card payments? YES NO
Rob Binns Expert Market
Rob Binns Senior Writer

Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings to the table industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, business loans, fulfilment, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny (socially-distanced) corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.

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