NEW YORK -- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. signed on with the
National Processing Co. (NPC) commission settlement program, which
requires some agents to pay fees to get their commissions.
NPC has been converting suppliers to its Agent's Choice
settlement program, which provides more automated features than had
been provided previously.
But with Agent's Choice, agencies pay fees -- usually $2 per
supplier -- each time commissions are paid, if they do not sign on
for both electronic funds transfers and basic electronic
Until its previous NPC contract expired this month, RCCL
continued to do business with NPC outside the Agent's Choice
Its statements were mailed to all agents, but for agencies
receiving payment from other suppliers electronically, the money
from Royal Caribbean and Celebrity was included in the funds
transfer rather than being paid with paper checks.
The cruise line said it had only two choices -- taking
commission payment in-house and reverting to manual procedures, or
going with Agent's Choice in order to ensure electronic settlement
It said taking the procedure in-house and issuing printed checks
would have been a step backward for the significant numbers of
agencies that already had been receiving commissions from Royal
Caribbean and Celebrity electronically. Besides, a spokeswoman
said, agents who get electronic distribution "love it."
Therefore, in a letter to the trade announcing the change, the
company encouraged agents to opt for NPC's basic package of
electronic services in order to avoid paying fees to NPC.