Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to Accept Credit Cards for Your Cruise Liner

How to Accept Credit Cards for Your Cruise Liner
If you own or manage a cruise line business, your payment processing practices will vary, at least slightly from the ones followed by other merchants. In this post I will offer a series of best practices to be implemented each time you accept credit cards for payment for achieving best results:
  1. Get an incremental authorization approval for any on-board charges. To obtain an incremental transaction authorization approval from the card issuer for the additional payment amount that the customer has generate on board of the cruise liner:
    1. Follow regular authorization procedures to get an approval for the incremental amount.
    2. In case the approval is declined, do not force the transaction and contact your customer and request an alternative form of payment.
  2. If incremental authorization approval request is declined, settle only the cumulative approved authorization amount. Following best settlement practices will help you limit customer disputes and chargebacks which will then lead to minimizing your processing costs and possible losses when card issuers reject incremental authorization requests. You should:
    1. Only settle the approved authorization amount and do not include any of the additional on-board charge amounts for which authorization was declined.
    2. Contact your customer and request another form of payment for the declined incremental amount.
  3. If the originally approved authorization amount exceeds the actual cost of the cruise, submit an authorization reversal. To finalize the settlement and to avoid tying up your customer's line of credit when the authorization amount is above the actual costs, you will have to submit an authorization reversal for the difference between the originally authorized amount and the actual cost of the cruise.
  4. Use the final authorization rule and the 15% rule. Whenever customers check out at the end of a cruise, authorization approval is only required when:
    1. An authorization approval was not originally obtained. If that is the case, you have to authorize the total transaction amount.
    2. An authorization approval was originally obtained, but the actual transaction amount is higher than the initially authorized amount. If that is the case, you will have to apply the 15% rule to establish whether or not an additional authorization is needed. Here is a step-by-step guide on how this is to be done:
      1. Add 15% to the initially authorized amount.
      2. Compare the result to the final transaction amount.
      3. If the final transaction amount exceeds the result, you will have to obtain an additional authorization for the difference.
  5. Prominently disclose all terms and conditions of the sale. Your customers must be fully aware of all terms and conditions of the sale prior to the booking. In particular, the following details need to be provided:
    1. The sale’s amount and related booking fees.
    2. How the fees will be disclosed on the cardholder's monthly statement.
    3. When these charges will be billed.
    4. How your business name will be shown on the cardholder's statement.
Make sure you require that your customers accept the terms and conditions by clicking on an "Accept" or "Agree" button on your website.

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