Thursday, June 21, 2012

Credit Card Processing Guidelines for Cruise Lines

Credit Card Processing Guidelines for Cruise LinesCruise line businesses are considered exceptionally high-risk by Visa and MasterCard and consequently are required to implement specific credit card processing practices that are often quite different from the ones followed by most other types of businesses that take credit cards in lower-risk types of settings.

To remain in compliance with Visa and MasterCard rules and to keep your customers satisfied with your services, you need to follow these procedures:
  1. Request an authorization approval for any additional fees that were not initially authorized. To obtain the transaction authorization approval for the additional amount, follow these guidelines:
    1. Follow your regular authorization process.
    2. If the issuer declines the additional authorization request, call your customer and request an additional method of payment, like a check or another card.
  2. If the issuer declines authorization for the additional amount, settle only the initially approved amount. More particularly, you will need to:
    1. Request settlement of the amount that is already authorized, leaving out any of the additional charges, for which the issuer has not given authorization.
    2. Contact your customer and request a different form of payment for the declined amount.
  3. Whenever the originally authorized amount is greater than the actual cost of the cruise, submit an authorization reversal for the balance. You can't charge your customer for any amount above the actual cost of the services he used, even if the amount was authorized.
  4. Implement the final authorization rule and the 15 percent rule. At the check out at the end of the cruise, an authorization approval is required in the following situations:
    1. If, for some reason or other, an authorization approval was not initially obtained. I don't need to elaborate on this requirement, other than to say that you should avoid such circumstances.
    2. You were given an authorization approval initially, but the eventual transaction amount is greater than the initially authorized one. In such instances you will have to use the 15 percent rule to estimate whether or not another authorization approval is necessary. Following is a step-by-step guide on how you can to do this:
      1. Begin by adding 15 percent to the initially authorized amount.
      2. Then compare the total received above to the actual transaction amount.
      3. If the actual amount of your service is greater than the total you calculated, you will have to receive an additional authorization approval for the balance.
  5. Obtain approval to the terms and conditions of the sale from your customer. It is essential that your customers are given access to all terms and conditions of the service, prior to the reservation. More to the point, the following details will have to be disclosed and accepted:
    1. The sale's amount, including all applicable fees.
    2. How any additional fees will be disclosed on the cardholder's monthly card statement and when they will be assessed.
    3. The way your business name will be shown on your customer's statement.

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