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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    19

    Angry 3rd party processor for non-US travel site

    Hi,

    Having serious problems in finding credit card processing in USD for Hong Kong based travel site. Our bank can do only HK-Dollar and all 3rd party processors I've come across apply rolling reserve percentages that cannot be sustained by a travel site. Anybody with similar experience who could help? Many thanks.

    Rgds
    Thomas

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    localhost
    Posts
    3,510
    I dont know of any 3rd party processor that doesnt have rolling reserves for obvious security reasons, WorldPay is an excellent multi-currency processor backed by the Royal Bank of Scotland, but again a rolling reserve applies.

    There should be at least one bank in Hong Kong that can provide a multi-currency merchant account, perhaps HSBC.
    MattF - Since the start..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    19
    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for response. Incidentally been in contact with both companies you had mentioned: WorldPay turned us down on account of our product portfolio, they wanted us to take hotel bookings only (we sell any kind of travel service between Shanghai and Bali), and HSBC is asking for a minimum deposit in a six digit neighbourhood.

    We are thinking of setting up shop in the US, but that's time consuming and therefore we're looking for a interim solution with a third party processor (rolling reserve is OK as long as it's not 10 or 15%).

    Any advice is most welcome.

    Regards
    Thomas

  4. #4
    Try Citibank in Singapore. I used to work for a online travel site (not Singapore-based, selling hotels, tours, and flight tickets) that uses Singapore Citibank to accept USD transactions.

    However as a coder, I am not sure of the financial arrangements (whether a deposit is required, etc) between the online site and the Bank.

    Best regards,
    HooYinn FONG
    PagesGarden.com - Budget Web Hosting
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    19
    Hi HooYinn,

    Many thanks. Will try so first thing tomorrow morning (I live in Singapore). That's certainly the last address I would have tried (I thought they are in consumer business only).

    Thanks again & best regards
    Thomas

  6. #6
    You are welcome.

    There is an ecommerce department that handles this, and surely that department doesn't deal with anything in the consumer banking business.

    Citibank in Hong Kong also has an eCommerce team but I'm not sure if USD is possible, we used HKD and CNY with them back then.

    Best regards,
    HooYinn FONG
    PagesGarden.com - Budget Web Hosting
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    19
    Well, thanks to all, but so far we weren't very successful, I'm afraid. Citibank in Singapore was everything else but forthcoming and said they're limited to Singapore Dollar (I'm not sure whether this is true, I had a feeling that my call was very very unwelcome).

    We are still out there looking, having some contacts and two proposals on hand, none of which make us very happy. Anybody else with any ideas, most welcome.

    Rgds
    Thomas

  8. #8
    The main thing with Travel is that you basicly sell products in advance and Visa & Mastercard hate this.
    The credit card processor is basicly liable for your transaction well after the consumer has recived their travel product and if they purchase a skiing holiday in the Summer that window of liabilitie is rather long.

    When looking for 3rd party processing ensure that:

    - They are an approved aggregator with Visa / Mastercard and not just some outfit riding merchant accounts until they're switched off

    - That you are paid weekly

    - That you will infact recive your rolling reserve back after the typical 180 day time period.

    Many thanks

    G

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    London
    Posts
    2
    That's ture. There are some processors special dealing with high-risk merchant account. But it is very difficult to get paid weekly. It's normal about 2 weeks to 4 weeks.

    Regards

  10. #10
    For weekly payments you may wish to look at:

    www.paysystems.com
    www.process54.com
    www.worldpay.com

    Thanks

    G

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    19
    Thanks to all for good advice. I have contacted all of the companies mentioned in this thread and have gotten fairly quick response from all of them, but without success so far (have yet to receive feedback from paysystems).

    What G said above with travel being charged upfront (very often long in advance) is certainly true and the other thing is the charge back ratios in travel, which seem to be a major problem.

    We were even prepared to setup a subsidiary in the US with bank account and all but were told that this wouldn't make the problem go away, much to our surprise.

    Being reasonably well funded and having been in the travel industry here in Asia for decades doesn't mean that you get what you want, I had to learn the hard way. In the end we'll stay with our bank in Hong Kong and charge HKD, I see it coming (their fees are about one fourth to one fifth of what I've been quoted so far from many high-risk processors).

    Anyway, thanks again for advice and any other idea is most, most welcome.

    Rgds
    Thomas

  12. #12
    Hi Thomas,

    Having digged out the business card, I realised that it's not the ecommerce team that I dealth with last time. It was the eCommerce team in the Global Consumer Banking department. You might want to give it another try.

    Sorry to have given you the wrong information earlier.
    HooYinn FONG
    PagesGarden.com - Budget Web Hosting
    http://www.pagesgarden.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    19
    HooYinn,

    Thanks for looking up again, will definitely try again. I had a definite feeling that my call was not really welcome, which matches the experience I had with each and every bank I spoke to in SE Asia (StanChart, HSBC, DBS, some local banks in HKG, even our own bank needed some arm-twisting to talk about cc processing). Will call Citbank and let you know.

    Rgds
    Thomas

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    London
    Posts
    2
    Don't give it up. As I said there are many other processors specially dealing with high-risk merchant accout. Talk soon.

  15. #15
    If you're talking to those who only handles local businesses, then that's the kind of respond you get. We had the same problem too.

    I got confirmation from my ex-work mates that Citibank HK can also handle USD, but they couldn't tell me which department handles it, nor can they tell me the commercial arrangements.

    Some banks do allow you to charge your customers in USD, but they will convert the charges back to the native currencies, i.e. HKD or SGD when the $ goes into your account. Just make sure you are not using this kind of services coz the conversion loss will almost kill you, especially for air tickets sales in the case where airlines no longer pay commission.
    HooYinn FONG
    PagesGarden.com - Budget Web Hosting
    http://www.pagesgarden.com

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Singapore
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    This is sooo typical: I visited Citibank in HK and was plainly brushed off; staff said they'd do only consumer accounts there, no corporate business whatsoever. I didn't quite believe it then but didn't bother to ask any further and just moved on..

    Another experience with friendly front desk banking staff.

    Thomas

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    19
    Cindy,

    Thanks for email, I'd say it's a fair and even judgement, very much along the line what the industry would say in my case. Tell you details via e-mail.

    Thomas

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    19
    Hi,

    The final note in this case: we've been turned down by paysystems and 2checkout and for the time being we'll go with our bank in Hong Kong in HK$. It appears that travel is creating too many problems and without processing history nobody wants to touch you, except companies charging some 5 or 6% discount fee and a rolling reserve of 10%, which is not feasible for a business like ours. Hard to believe, but our equity partner is a $50m company extending a parent guarantee for all revenues and still nobody's interested in that.

    Anyway, that's it for now and many thanks to all for their comments and help, it's much appreciated.

    Best regards
    Thomas

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Moscow & Amsterdam
    Posts
    26
    Thomas,
    the reason why You have a problem is that there are "cross board acquiring prohibition" rules in place by VISA and MC.

    Normally it's gonna be very impossible for You to obtain a Merchant ID outside of Asia for Your business in US$ unless You can establish an EU company and look for MIDs there.

    The problem You gonna have is that it's extremely difficult I think to do a due diligence process for essentially an Asian business (no matter where it is registered).

    However if You have decent turnover and clean history, why not?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    19
    Hi,

    We're a bit weary by now about the promises we've heard: merchant account in some offshore jurisdiction, a bank in Eastern Europe, a cc processing company in the Middle East - I'm not feeling very good about this.

    As for setting up shop in Europe: would be much easier for us since the company is essentially owned by EU citizens. However, our focus is the US outbound market and business experience tells me you should be where your market is, even in the days of the Internet. We certainly would have opened a subsidiary in the US if there would be a chance to get decent rates, but this doesn't seem to be the case (without trading history).

    So, we're going to try with our bank in Hong Kong and in six months or a year or so we'll see where we're heading. Needless to say, the security stuff alone the bank is asking for will cost us dearly.

    Anyway, thanks for your advice and comment.

    Regards
    Thomas

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