Minimising Payment Risks of phone payments: The Smart Way for Travel Merchants

Minimising Payment Risks: The Smart Way for Travel Merchants

In the fast-paced world of travel, where last-minute bookings and spontaneous adventures are all in a day's work, efficiency and convenience are paramount. However, in our pursuit of streamlined operations, it's crucial not to overlook the critical aspect of payment security.

The Risks of Over-the-Phone Payments

For travel merchants, or what we would call travel agents and tour operators, taking card payments over the phone (MOTO) has been a go-to method for ease and speed. However, this seemingly simple transaction hides a multitude of potential risks.

The primary concern is the exposure to Payment Card Industry (PCI) fines. PCI Compliance is a set of standards designed to ensure all companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. Failure to adhere to these standards can result in hefty fines, damaging your bottom line.

Additionally, the risk of chargebacks for fraud also looms large. In these instances, if the cardholder disputes a transaction, claiming it was not them, in our experience the merchant rarely will win the dispute. This not only results in a direct financial loss as you may have paid for the holiday that the fraudster has enjoyed, have to refund the cardholder and pay a chargeback feed to add salt to the wound, but it does not stop there chargebacks will negatively impact on your reputation with the card schemes and acquirers.

Avoiding the Pitfalls

So, how can travel merchants avoid these pitfalls? The answer lies in adopting safer payment methods such as embedded payment pages or payment links. These methods can not only eliminate the potential for PCI fines and fraud chargebacks but also enhance the customer experience.

Embedded Payment Pages and Payment Links

An embedded payment page integrates directly into your website, providing a seamless customer experience. The customer enters their own payment details directly into this secure page, meaning you do not collect any card details and avoid any PCI risk.

Afterwards, the customer will be prompted to authenticate themselves with their card provider using Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) or 3DS. Typically, they will either log into their app or enter a code that has been sent to them via text message.   This will transfer the liability from the merchant (travel agent or tour operator) to the customer's card issuer. As a result, you will no longer be held responsible if your card has been fraudulently used.

Not all travel agents or tour operators offer an online checkout option, but you can still ensure the same level of protection by using payment links. Instead of collecting card details over the phone, you can conveniently send a secure payment link via email, SMS, or even social media. The customer can then click on the link and securely complete the transaction on a dedicated payment page, utilizing their stored card details or convenient options like Google and Apple Pay. This method is not only faster than verbally sharing card details with a person or an automated system that keeps asking for repetitions, but it also provides an added layer of security.

Felloh: Your Partner in Secure Payments

Recognising the need for safer, more efficient payment solutions for the travel industry, Felloh has developed a platform that makes implementing these methods simple. Our platform is designed to integrate seamlessly with your existing operations, minimising disruption and maximising security.

With Felloh, you can quickly send payment links or embed payment pages, ensuring a secure transaction every time. Additionally, our platform removed the need for complicated PCI Compliance, reducing the risk of fines and safeguarding your reputation.

Written by
Will Bicknell
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