Travel & Tour Operator High Risk Merchant Account

What Travel Merchants Should know about Card mills

What Travel Merchants Should know about Card mills


Post cards now have another purpose other than sending love and affection, it's now used as card mills.

There's this growing customer unrest in Southern Arizona about a travel agency offering two round trip fares to any place in the U.S. using the much-relied on post card. A card mill is a term in the travel and time shares industry which signfies an offer made by a company to thousands in the form of an identification card that is sold for a significant fee.

Endangering your travel agency business

By possessing card mills, your customers can have access to every segment of the travel industry including winning freebies, discounts, and yes, even commissions when they sell travel. Whoa, sounds too good to be real, right? Well, it is. There's no such thing.

Taking the example from the report in Southern Arizona, the cards allegedly have the logo of an airline as to show that it is valid promotion, but when the airline was called for verification, it denied any reference or connection to the promo. Voila, a classic scam.

As a travel merchant, it is strongly recommended to never accept or accommodate card mills. If a customer goes to you and presents a similar card, tell them that they have to be affiliated to a recognized travel agency or register as an independent travel seller with the Cruise Lines International Association or the Airlines Reporting Corporation.

Avoid sending out cards as much as possible

Be very careful to promote your travel packages as people will get suspicious that you're actually giving out card mills. Lesson learned, just don't market using post cards. There are a lot of ways to advertise your travel promos or tours without resorting to making them look like a personalized greeting card or credit card application. If you want to recruit travel agents, then post a recruitment ad. Card mills are one of the things a travel merchant like you should not venture to at all costs.

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