alexjamesbrown — 2012-03-06T09:57:17-05:00 — #1
I'm currently planning an application along the lines of a hotel reservation website (similar to booking.com, hotels.com etc… but on a smaller, more local scale)
My plan is to charge customers for their stay, and transfer this fee, less our commission, to the vendor (hotel)
Ideally, I'd like to transfer the funds to the vendor via BACS transfer.
Obviously, this would be best if it could be automated, via an API
I spoke to Albany, however they don't offer exactly what I'm after
I'm wondering of anyone knows of such a service? Or another possible workflow?
jestep — 2012-03-07T16:44:23-05:00 — #2
Assuming you are wanting to accept credit cards for payment, it's going to be very difficult to impossible to set this up exactly as you are describing. Taking payments for other companies is called aggregating, which is very difficult to setup and prohibited with most US processors. The main reason is that when a customer makes a chargeback, you end up covering it, but the company you paid has the majority of the money. This creates a liability vacuum where your exposure is many times your gain for the transactions. Next, this is also for a travel related product which is virtually impossible to get setup in the US. Travel and advanced bookings are the highest risk legal service that you can accept payments for.
I don't know what sort of effort you are wanting to put into this. The last few aggregating account's I've seen required monetary reserves of several hundred thousands, to several million dollars, plus a rolling percentage of all sales. After that, you can distribute the money however you want to. There are various ACH services that offer API's. Realistically, I would try to come up with an alternative mechanism to get paid. If you're serious about doing something like this start looking for aggregating merchant accounts. You're not going to find an all in one service that I know of. You will need the credit card acceptance side and a second ACH or other direct transfer system for all this to happen properly.
alexjamesbrown — 2012-03-08T03:15:41-05:00 — #3
yeah... i think you may be right.
what a lot of others do (booking.com, laterooms.com) is send the hotel the credit details by fax, to secure the booking
This sounds insecure to me though... but they're all at it!
What do you think?
ted_s — 2012-03-08T03:19:57-05:00 — #4
To even take a credit card and store it requires one of the highest levels of PCI compliance which is not a cheap excessive. Sending it out to a third party from there just opens up a whole new mess and if something goes wrong at any point the fines for a breach when you violate the rules are huge.
If you want to compete in the space you should be thinking about how to make payments a part of a serious disruption. It's not going to be easy but that's how you end up with a really serious win.
alexjamesbrown — 2012-03-08T03:28:20-05:00 — #5
Yeah.. I know.
But that's what those sites do. I looked up how to become a partner / add my hotel... and that's what they say.
Basically, they don't take payment. they FAX the customers details to the hotel.
To be honest, this makes me nervous even booking with them in the future? I travel to asia quite a lot, and I don't think I fancy my credit card details FAXED to a shady hotel somewhere??
Not quite sure what you mean by "how to make payments a part of a serious disruption" - any chance you could elaborate?
Thanks for your post
ted_s — 2012-03-08T12:28:54-05:00 — #6
When you think about businesses that succeeded in any industry these days it's ones who identify an existing "scary", "old" or "backwards" market and introduce a very radical perspective to it as opposed to those who just try and fit in. There's no disrespect in fitting in and you did mention aiming for a smaller scale but I'd suggest the opportunity is there [from your comments] to do more.
For example, Square looked at the existing small to mid sized model and said they could simplify transactions by giving merchants an easier way to take cards and more insight / management behind it. Prior to that merchants in stores had terminals to swipe cards and generally clunky software that handled payments with another system needed to even think about inventory or customer. That still exists but at $4bn in transactions they're disrupting it by moving as much of the "this is how it's done" attitude to the side.