This year beware of the day before the Ides of March: for UK-based TMCs it could augur ruin

Posted 11/01/2022 by Matthew Chapman

In 44 BC Julius Caesar was assassinated on the 15th March, a day that Romans knew as the festival of the ‘Ides of March’ and one that has remained ominous ever since.


But this year the fast-approaching catastrophic date for your TMC business should be one day before: Monday 14th March.


That is unless you are ready for the changes that PSD2 / SCA will have on credit card processing.


These are not football teams or airport codes. Instead this is a reference to the EU Payment Services Directive that will come into force on that day in the UK (European Union countries already implemented them last year, the UK opted to delay).


So what exactly will happen on that day that could be so damaging to a UK-based TMC? Basically two-factor credit card authentication will come into place requiring users to confirm payments via an SMS. That means that if your client has access to the card, but not the phone it is registered to, then they won’t be able to approve payments.


The corporate clients of TMCs, in our humble experience, often have just one card with sometimes up to hundreds of users – none of whom have access to the mobile phone it might, or might not, be registered to.


Whilst some TMCs charge some of the travel supplier payments on account, the prevalence of credit cards is strong.


And based on our conversations with UK-based TMCs recently many are either unaware of this upcoming change or simply have been too busy dealing with COVID crises.


What can be done to proactively avoid what would be a very stressful and embarrassing problem at a time when every last booking counts? Not to mention the risk of a client firing you.


We’ve been working with clients to help overcome this problem and have several recommendations that we’d be pleased to outline for you.


Caesar ignored the soothsayer’s warning to ‘beware the Ides of March’ and look what happened. We don’t claim to be soothsayers exactly, but you have nonetheless been warned.

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