The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) is launching a new scheme known as the AFTA Insolvency Chargeback Scheme aka AICS, which is designed to support consultants when suppliers fail.

Providing cover from 1 September, the scheme will protect Travel Agents against consumer chargebacks when suppliers collapse and the consultant has already passed the customers money onto the supplier.

AFTA compared the scheme to an insurance product, but without the profit requirements and policy complexities, and according to group’s Chief Executive Jayson Westbury, it’s the “missing link in the travel agency reform agenda”.

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“Since I came into this job nearly 10 years ago, this issue has frustrated and concerned Travel Agents and each time a supplier has collapsed the Agent has been left holding the debt and the concern of covering the chargeback from the customer.”

Jayson Westbury, AFTA Chief Executive

“Now AICS resolves this matter once and for all and it will come at next to no cost to the Travel Agent.”

Although operating as its own entity with an independent Board and Chair, consultants who want AICS protection will still need to be ATAS accredited.

Consultants will also need to have merchant facilities provided by an approved AICS merchant service provider, so far this only includes TravelPay. AFTA expects to bring other merchant service providers onboard over the coming months to give Agents more choice.

Jayson Westbury

Additionally, AICS merchant service providers will be contracted to collect the AICS contributions as a part of the surcharge rate that the merchant can pass onto the consumer. This will only be available to those merchant service providers who elect to become approved by AICS.

“As new and innovative merchant services become available to Agents I am confident that not only will this Scheme answer the questions on credit card chargeback, they will also provide Agents with better access to affordable merchant facilities for their businesses.”

Jayson Westbury, AFTA Chief Executive
AFTA members will be receiving an information pack about the Scheme in the coming month and it is expected that the transition to AICS and the merchant service providers involved will be as simple and seamless as possible.

ATAS accredited travel agencies are invited to register their interest in the Scheme by clicking here.

What do you think of the new scheme?