Travel agents: How to turn PCI DSS headache to your advantage

While some travel agents will be dreading the arrival of new card payment rules in March, others will be looking forward to a business boost. So why all the smiles?

March is here so that means that IATA-accredited travel agents need to be compliant with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) to combat the risk of fraud — or face being left out in the cold.

The new rules relate to how travel agents store, process and transmit people's payment card data. But the path to PCI DSS compliance can mean you face five hazards when you attempt to lock down how you handle card payments over the phone, web and mobile apps.

However, some organizations in the travel industry are discovering there's a big upside— if you find the right partner to provide PCI DSS compliance for you.

When PCI DSS is good news
Achieving PCI DSS compliance by outsourcing your card-handling processes to a trusted partner can be great news for travel agents. Put simply, it can give you three clear advantages:

Advantage #1: More focus on what you do best

While your competitors become bogged down with the hefty costs, risks and complexities of sorting PCI DSS compliance for themselves, you can be free to focus more on your products, services and customers. You can also avoid being haunted by the daily dread of your systems and contact center being infiltrated by card data fraudsters.

Advantage #2: A boost for customer confidence

Today's consumers are increasingly aware of card fraud and various scams. So, it's good to share the news that travellers' card details will be extra secure when they make payments on your website, via your mobile apps, or over the phone to your contact center team. Customers will no longer have to worry about reading out card numbers to a complete stranger when paying thousands of pounds for their holidays. The right PCI DSS solution will make the process secure and seamless.

Advantage #3: New channels to delight customers

With the right PCI DSS partner, you'll be able to quickly offer new payment channels to your customers — and be 100% confident about their security. You can get the edge over competitors by letting your customers make secure payments via Live Chat over the web, Apple Pay over the phone, and self-service payments via IVR and mobile apps. These innovations don't take months to plan and deliver; they can be rolled out quickly.

Clients in the broader travel industry, from Air France to Al Fresco Holidays, have found the right partner to handle the many complex challenges of PCI DSS on their behalf. Another good example is Carnival, the global cruise company headquartered in Miami.

Carnival's contact center for their UK business now takes PCI DSS compliant payments 24/7. The center receives card payments from customers and agents over the phone. Transactions can be processed speedily. But thanks to innovative technology, agents don't hear any card numbers — and these sensitive details aren't recorded by systems either. You can read more about their success here.

Looking for the best path to PCI DSS compliance?

Download your free copy of our definitive guide to PCI DSS. You'll discover everything you wanted to know about secure payments — and how they can work best for travel agents.

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Posted by eckoh at 8:44 AM on Mar 13, 2018

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