How the AFTA Insolvency Chargeback Scheme (AICS) can protect your Travel Agency
You may have been wondering how the new Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) Insolvency Chargeback Scheme (AICS) will impact your agency and exactly how the credit card surcharging changes will work.
The stress of a supplier collapse is an enormous problem in our industry. Traditionally, the travel agent is left holding the bad debt when a customer makes a chargeback in the case of a wholesaler insolvency. There has been a massive gap in the system, meaning agents are not protected and have to ultimately chase funds from liquidators to cover customer chargebacks. Unfairly, the options for chargeback insurance have been complicated and expensive until now. The solution for agency chargeback insurance has now been introduced via the AICS scheme.
Travel agents Australia-wide witnessed the problem first-hand when Ansett and Air Australia collapsed several years back. Fortunately, AFTA has now come up with a cost-effective solution to provide better protection. The AFTA operated AICS chargeback scheme includes merchant service fee changes and chargeback insurance for incidental wholesaler insolvency.
How do the credit card surcharging changes work?
By registering with AFTA as an AICS authorised agent, a small surcharge will be added on all customer credit card payments, therefore meaning you as the agent will be covered in the result of any supplier collapses. You must first elect to be AICS approved. There will be more information for AFTA members on the actual merchant service fee rate of the AICS scheme, by the end of August 2017.
For example, your customer books their trip with their credit card via your travel agency, the credit card payment includes the AICS contribution.
If a supplier is unable to deliver on the service due to wholesaler insolvency, the customer will ask for a chargeback. It is at this stage that the bank takes the money from your account. Once you become an AICS member as part of the AICS scheme, you automatically have chargeback insurance. This now means your ATAS accredited travel agency can claim the chargeback amount from AICS. If you are not an AICS member, you may have to try and recover the funds from a liquidator.
Travel agents can sign up for this established system and benefit from financial protection provided by the AICS scheme.
The Australian Federation of Travel Agent (AFTA) last week announced that TravelPay is officially the first AICS approved merchant service provider.
What is TravelPay?
As well as now being AICS approved, TravelPay is a well-established, key player in payment solutions processing in the travel industry. TravelPay has stringent governance processes, efficient systems and already services hundreds of travel agents using an online payment portal and layby options.
Chief of AFTA, Jayson Westbury, said that AFTA sought to partner with established and reputable merchant service providers with stringent governance procedures. He wanted the provider to have efficient, easy to use systems and extensive experience in the travel industry. He stated that TravelPay ticks every box in this regard.
What are the benefits of TravelPay?
TravelPay is the first AFTA approved payment solution for the new AICS scheme. There is no cost associated for you in the changes to electronic payments. It’s quick and easy to get set up on the AICS scheme and you can choose from multiple payment methods including a virtual terminal, customer payment portal and instalment payment plan. All cards are accepted by TravelPay.
You can even impress your customers by customising the portal with your own brand. There is no bond to pay, allowing you the ability to regain bank bonds from your current provider.
Andrea Slark is TravelPay’s CEO (Part of Zenith Payments). She said that TravelPay is really excited to be partnering with the Australian Federation of Travel Agents and its members. She stated that the AFTA Insolvency Chargeback Scheme is a cost-effective solution to provide chargeback insurance when suppliers collapse.
Who is TravelPay?
TravelPay is operated by Zenith Payments, a leading payment facilitator with over 12 years’ experience across many industries, including travel.
Zenith Payments is 100% Australian owned and operated, well established in the industry and is an innovator in the travel industry. Many members of the Senior Management team have extensive travel industry experience including agency and airline leadership roles – over 100 years’ experience in total between them.
The TravelPay team can advise you about the MSF changes as part of the AFTA Insolvency Chargeback Scheme as well as provide assistance with registration onboarding. TravelPay also provides face-to-face team training to help you improve your payment process. TravelPay is known in the industry to provide a high level of advanced support. We can go through any questions you may have on the AICS scheme credit card surcharging/ credit card cost of acceptance.
Why will your customers like Travel Pay too?
There is a number of easy payment options to choose from, which ultimately will save them time. They will be satisfied that all their travel bookings can be done in the one spot – a one stop shop. Any card can be used via the system and it is highly secure. You won’t need to take credit card bookings on the phone anymore once TravelPay is in place.
There are also layby payment instalment solutions available with TravelPay, making it affordable for customers to be able to commit immediately. You can even upsell the customer to a higher value package as the customer can pay it off over time. You can get 100% of the travel cost within three days of the actual booking and any supplier can be used – cruises, flights, packages, travel insurance etc. The best part of it is that you can lock in the exchange rate for the best possible price and the customer can pay for their travel interest-free over two, three, four, five, six or ten months.
What are the different payment methods TravelPay offers?
You can choose the way in which you process payments via TravelPay, including:
- Merchant WebPay – online payments in your agency;
- Public Webpay – online payments processed by the customer from their own home 24/7;
- Card terminal in your office; and
- Layby instalments as described above.
For more information about TravelPay go to: www.travelpay.com.au or call 0411 222 120.
AFTA members will receive more information about the Australian Federation of Travel Agents AFTA Insolvency Chargeback Scheme over the coming weeks.