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Published on Thursday, October 5, 2017

Advantage publishes guide to help agents combat ban on card charges


Advantage Travel Partnership has published a 12-page guide for its members designed to help them offset the impact of a ban on charging customers for card payments.

The ban, which comes into force on January 13 2018, means agents will no longer be able to pass on payment surcharges to their customers for transactions made by credit or debit card, including those made by Mastercard, Visa, Amex, PayPal and Apple Pay.

The Advantage guide tells members to firstly calculate the annual amount paid in card payment merchant fees and the resulting percentage of profit, although it recommends an over-estimation of the 2016/17 merchant fees as consumers are expected to increase their use of card payment after the ban.

Agents can use a simple downloadable calculator tool to help make their calculations.

The paper then suggests ways agents can cover the shortfall, including renegotiating commission with suppliers, revising and tracking conversion, or selling ancillary products.

It goes on to advise on upselling, motivating and incentivising sales staff and finding new business leads, and outlines money-saving tips, such as printing in black and white instead of colour and using Freephone numbers.

It also includes a directory of third party supplier 'partners' who offer 'quality, value services', including financial planning, HR and sales training.

"We hope our members find the profit protection guidance helpful and insightful and it inspires them to take steps to protect their businesses ahead of EU's Payment Services Directive 2 coming into force," said Advantage group commercial director Paula Lacey.

"We cannot emphasise enough the significance of PSD2 and how taking action now can help lessen the impact it will have on business.

"The Advantage membership is broad and diverse and one size does not fit all and there is no single 'silver bullet' solution but by publishing the guidance paper we are offering some practical advice to help our members understand the impact and mitigate the additional costs resulting from the new legislation."

Meanwhile, Advantage is urging its members to assist ABTA in its lobbying by providing evidence of the detrimental effect on their businesses ahead of a statutory review currently set for 2019.

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  • Advantage does not address the question

    What a load of sales guff the Advantage guide is. Everything there is what agents do anyway. The issue is not addressed in any meaningful way.

    By David McGregor, Monday, October 9, 2017

  • Why the law change

    THe EU have decided that some sellers inc Travel Companies have charged customers more than it costs. THis is very true since we are a small business and our charge from the processing company is less than larger businesses charge customers and those businesses would be able to negiotiate a much better rate than we can. If more of Monarch's clients had used credit cards the cost of repatriation to the uk on its demise would have been less.

    By Paul Johnston, Sunday, October 8, 2017

  • Should be OK to charge exact costs

    Whilst overcharging for 'finance costs'/credit card charges at a high flat rate is clearly wrong, it is crazy to expect agents to swallow finance costs based on the total cost to customers, when they are only being paid a percentage commission. Why can't the exact finance charge be passed on to those who use credit cards, rather than calculating the potential cost & having to charge that to all customers regardless of how they pay.

    By Sylvia Cook, Thursday, October 5, 2017

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