Conquest Vacations Thursday said it has entered into a five-year agreement with Moneris Solutions Corp. to handle all of its credit card processing.


Conquest is Canada’s largest independent tour operator, flying almost one million passengers a year. Most of Conquest’s packages are sold by travel agencies and then payment is routed through to Conquest.

“”When the public wants to book for these holidays, they go to a travel agent. In 85-90 per cent of the cases, people nowadays pay by credit card,”” said Simon Bala, Conquest’s vice-president of finance.

Conquest was using separate companies to process MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club charges, but all four will now be handled by Toronto-based Moneris, a company jointly owned by Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank.

“”It’s easier to deal with one entity and any problems can be handled all in one place,”” said Bala, adding that, “”you can also negotiate better because you’ve got bigger volume.””

The transactions will be conducted through Moneris’s private IP network. “”It’s instantaneous processing. As soon as the credit card is entered it’s processed through them and we can get confirmation on it,”” said Bala.

Conquest employees will have access to Merchant Direct, Moneris’s online reporting tool that allows card transactions to be viewed at 7:00 a.m. the following morning rather than waiting until the end of the month.

Kevin Tait, senior manager of communications, Moneris described it as being similar to online banking for customer accounts. Business users, however, can break down and analyze data to suit their needs. Conquest, for example, can see credit card breakdowns per agency they deal with or as a lump sum.

“”It’s got a lot of advantages in terms of information gathering,”” said Bala.

Merchant Direct is “”really becoming most popular with companies like Conquest that have a deal with multiple locations,”” added Tait. “”They can see exactly where all the funds are coming from (and) what time they’re coming through. It’s the ability to see individual locations and then consolidate.””

There are people who still prefer to pay for their vacations by cheque, according to Bala, but they are few and far between.


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