Duffel Lockup
Guide

Collecting and making payments

Learn how you and your customers can pay for flights using Duffel Balance or Duffel Payments.

How do I pay for flights with Duffel?

Collecting payments in the travel industry, especially for flights, is complex. If you want to learn more about getting started with travel payments, check out our article Processing flight payments is complex from our series on the 5 misconceptions of starting a travel business.

There are two ways you can pay for flights with Duffel:

  • Duffel Balance
  • Duffel Payments

Duffel Balance acts like an e-wallet where you top up your balance by bank transfer. We use those funds to pay airlines for flights. You still need to find your own Payment Service Provider (PSP) to accept payments from your customers.

Duffel Payments is an API for charging customers with credit or debit cards and the funds flow directly through to Duffel for us to pay the airline. It’s available for businesses in over 20 countries and allows you to accept payments in 135+ currencies.

Can I choose when to use Duffel Payments and when to use Duffel Balance?


You can switch between Duffel Payments and Duffel Balance at will, and you can even use both at the same time for different customers or different bookings.


Duffel Balance

Who’s it for

Duffel Balance can be used by existing travel sellers or established businesses outside the travel industry that want to start selling flights.

New travel businesses with large investment that can support unpredictable cash flow requirements with surges or falls in passenger demand can also benefit from using Duffel Balance.

How it works

Travel sellers start by topping up the balance with cash before it is needed, then when a customer buys a flight, Duffel transfers funds from the balance to the airline via their preferred payment method.

In comparison to the typical payment flow, the complexity moves from the travel seller on to Duffel.

Diagram illustrating the flow of money from travel seller to airline without Duffel paymentsDiagram illustrating the flow of money from travel seller to airline without Duffel payments

Travel sellers can charge customers once via their PSP for additional revenue-generating services on top of the flight price, and they will only need to top up the balance to cover the cost of the flight and airline-provided extras. Everything else is margin that the travel sellers retain.

Since Duffel handles the complexity of paying airlines via their preferred payment method, travel sellers can focus their time and energy on building their business.

Considerations

In order to use Duffel Balance, travel businesses will still need to work with a PSP and pay fees to receive funds from travellers.

How to access

  1. In the Dashboard, go to 'Balance’
  2. Select 'top-up' to add funds to your account
  3. Once the funds arrive, you can use it to make bookings
  4. You can also set a notification to be alerted when the balance is running low to avoid any bookings getting blocked for insufficient funds. Head to ‘Settings’ to input your threshold.

Common questions about Duffel Balance

How do I top up my Duffel Balance?

When you set up your account, depending on where your business is based you may be presented with the option to make your first Duffel Balance top-up using your credit/debit card. This is shown during onboarding, and this top-up will arrive in your account immediately.

If credit/debit card payment is available, you can make the payment from any card issuer, including electronic banks.

After this first top-up your balance can be topped up via two methods only:

  1. Bank transfer
    • To use bank transfer, go to your Balance page on the dashboard, choose 'Top-up balance' and follow the instructions there.
  2. Duffel Payments
    • To use the Duffel Payments method, explore the section below.

Why can’t I use a credit card after the initial top-up?

As you are familiar with operating a business, card transactions are expensive to process. If we enabled card payments for all top-ups, unfortunately, we would need to increase prices to cover the costs.

How long does it take to top up my account after the payment is made?

Your balance will be topped up as soon as it clears our bank account. This is automated provided you included the reference number for your balance.

The time it takes to reflect in your balance can depend on the payment type, your bank, and the time zone you operate in.


Duffel Payments

Who's it for

Duffel Payments is best suited for new travel businesses as they may not have the cash flow to handle pre-payment for flights or have difficulty getting approval from a PSP.

How it works

Travel sellers start by integrating Duffel Payments and choosing either to use our PCI-compliant Payments component on their website or to build out the functionality themselves.

In comparison to the typical payment flow, our Payments API allows you to seamlessly handle payments through to the airline without having to manage cash flow upfront in the Duffel Balance. You can also easily handle refunds, reconciliation, and markup.

Diagram illustrating the flow of money from travel seller to airline using Duffel paymentsDiagram illustrating the flow of money from travel seller to airline using Duffel payments

Travel sellers can offer their customers the option to pay by any major card such as Visa or Mastercard, across 135+ currencies. Travel sellers also control the price the customer sees and can retain any additional markup as profit.

Duffel Payments helps travel sellers by managing the risk of new businesses to combat the lengthy application and approval process and the large bonds needed to get started with a PSP and transaction settlement services. We also don’t require any upfront guarantees or approvals.

Considerations

Duffel Payments is not currently available in every country. The 22 countries currently accepted are:

  • UK: United Kingdom

  • Europe: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain

  • Australia: Australia

  • US & Rest of World: United States

How to access

Step 1

When you sign up, select the country for your team. If your country is one of the 22 accepted for Duffel Payments, you will then have access to implement it.

Partial screenshot of the Duffel dashboard sign up pagePartial screenshot of the Duffel dashboard sign up page

Step 2

Next, explore our guides to learn more about implementation:

  1. To start collecting customer card payments with a component on your website, follow our Collecting Customer Card Payments implementation guide
  2. If you’re also integrating with our API to start selling flights for the first time, please read our Quick Start implementation guide

Partial screenshot of the Duffel documentation showing the "collecting customer card payments" guidePartial screenshot of the Duffel documentation showing the "collecting customer card payments" guide

Step 3

When you’re ready to take live payments for flights, you’ll need to verify your organisation by selecting Activate your team in the app.duffel.com homepage. You'll then be guided through our verification process. This is not required for use in the test environment.

Duffel dashboard activation page for organisation in countries where Duffel Payments is not supportedDuffel dashboard activation page for organisation in countries where Duffel Payments is not supported

Duffel KYC step with Stripe for organisations in countries where Duffel Payments is supportedDuffel KYC step with Stripe for organisations in countries where Duffel Payments is supported

Common questions about Duffel Payments

Which airlines can I take payments for using Duffel Payments?

Duffel Payments can be used to take customer payments for any airline you can access through the Duffel platform.

View the full list of airlines

What payment methods are supported?

We support all major card types today, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

We do not yet offer support for e-wallets (Apple Pay for example) or Buy Now Pay Later payment methods. If there are additional payment types you need to serve your customers please contact us at help@duffel.com

If you are already using alternative payment methods you can use alternative payment providers and top-up your Duffel Balance in the Dashboard to pay for flights using bank transfers.

In what currencies can I charge my customer?

You charge your customer in 135+ currencies.

We currently do not have an acquirer. If we use Duffel, do we need one?

Duffel Payments effectively acts as the acquirer, providing the infrastructure to accept credit and debit card payments. It is primarily targeted for use to instantly pay airlines as part of the booking process, but can also be used to take payments for other services too.

I already have an active account with Stripe. How can I integrate it with my Duffel account?

It isn't possible to use your existing Stripe account with Duffel Payments. You would have to set up a new Duffel Payments account. But you could choose to use Duffel with your own Stripe account separately. Here are your options:

  1. Collect payments from your customers using your existing Stripe account, and pay Duffel by topping up your Duffel Balance by bank transfer. You will need to top up before you can make flight bookings, so this can be a bit tricky from a cashflow perspective. Learn more in the section above.
  2. Set up a new Duffel Payments account and use that to collect payments from your customers. You won't need to top up your Duffel Balance by bank transfer, as we'll use the money from your customers' card payments to pay for flights. We can pay out leftover money to you.

Why wouldn’t I just create my own Stripe account or use my existing payment processor — why use Duffel Payments?

If you already have your own existing payment processor, you can absolutely use that.

You can also choose Stripe for your payments, or you can use Duffel Payments. They both allow you to collect card payments from your customers.

The big benefit of Duffel Payments is cashflow - you don't have to top up your Duffel Balance ahead of time, pay for customer's flights, and then get the money to cover those flights from your card provider/Stripe later. It's all integrated instead and the money you’ve collected from your customers is available immediately to book flights.

How do I make Duffel Payments and my own payment mechanism work together? Will I have to create two separate Duffel accounts?

No, you don't need to do that. You can utilise Duffel Payments to charge cards, and you can also utilise the Duffel Balance concept to top up your balance and pay for flights that utilise your own payment mechanism that way. For this you'll need some cashflow in place.

What do I do if Duffel Payments is not available in my country?

If you are based in a country that isn’t currently available, we might be able to work with you if you have a legal entity (company) in another country.

If you're not able to use Duffel Payments, that doesn't mean that you can't use Duffel. It just means that you would need to use another payment gateway to accept payments from customers, and then you'd have to pay Duffel using the Duffel Balance.


Common questions about charging your customers for flights

Can I charge my customer partially via card and partially via another payment method?

Yes. At the time of booking any remaining funds required to cover the cost of the flight, beyond what's taken in the card payment, will be taken from your Duffel Balance. It is your responsibility to ensure you have enough money in your Duffel Balance to cover the total price of the flight or the order will fail to go through.

You can do this by topping up your balance via bank transfer.

You will receive notifications if your balance is low.

Can I charge a customer for items other than a flight?

Yes. For example, you could charge a customer for a flight, hotel room, and travel insurance in one transaction. Or charge another customer just for a hotel room.

Duffel Payments can be used as a generic payments service provider to charge for other services outside of the Duffel platform, but be aware that to access money to pay other suppliers will require you to manually request a payout.

What does my customer see on their credit/debit card statements?

The business name you see on credit and debit card statements refers to the merchant of record. Your customer will see your business name in their statements as the merchant of record.

Learn more about what it means to be the merchant of record.

Try it out on your own for free today

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