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How do I enable/ allow credit cardsfor security deposits?

Currently, the only option is a cash security deposit. How can I enable or allow guests to use a credit card for their security deposit? 

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9 Replies

6
Isle of Wight …

I have had lengthy discussions with Booking.com over their refusal to allow us to collect a damage deposit. They insisted we take cash until we reach a certain number of stayed bookings. We argued that this carried a risk to us - sure enough, we had guests through Booking.com who trashed one property.

A solution now agreed on is that when a guest makes a booking, they get an automatic message asking them to pay the damage deposit by bank transfer. Even though the Booking.com system says that guests pay this by cash on arrival, Booking.com have allowed us to ask for this by bank transfer.

Unfortunately, guests are not checking their inboxes and reading their messages. It's not just this automatic message - a few days before they come, we send them another message with directions and the code for the key safe - half the guests don't read this either as they phone up to ask how to get in to the property. This problem happens only with Booking.com and happens with multiple properties on Booking.com. We don't have any problems with bookings that come in on TripAdvisor, AirBnB or HomeAway.

Last night I spoke to a Booking.com support person and they have suggested that we put it in the Fine Print, which is shown on the booking confirmation page that many guests are printing out. Property > View Your Descriptions and scroll down to The Fine Print and click "Can't find what you're looking for above?".

The Booking.com support told me they will forward it to whoever makes the changes and it will take a couple of days before it shows up. I'm hoping this will make a big difference and reduce the number of calls we get. Of course, it would be much easier if Booking.com changed their systems to be similar to AirBnB ......

 

1 month ago
1
Susanne Schwedhelm

Hi Howard, 

first things first, that way you'll be able to change it right away:

Update your policies in the policy section of the extra-net. You can choose to make it mandatory for the guest to provide a valid credit card number with CVV to complete the reservation. In the same section, you can also check the box for the complete address and a valid phone number of the guest which supposedly booking.com then verifies (I am not too sure about that, though). Booking.com will then include the CC information on the reservation. However, they DO expect you to authorise the card yourself, which for us was not possible. No bank has been willing to provide us with terminal given that we only have two rooms. We were thinking of Paypal as a way to accept CC payments but then discovered that Booking.com now offers the complete handling of guest payments though their system - for a price, of course....they will charge 1.1% of every transaction that is through them. The room charge, excluding 15% commission and 1.1% handling fee will be deposited directly into your account, approx. 2 weeks after the end of the month in which the guest stayed. You might have to wait for your money for up to 6 weeks.

We have switched to that option only recently and have not had a payout yet, so I cannot recommend this way of working with them with a clear conscience. I am secretly dreading the day things go wrong, but we had no other choice: it was either this option or closing down due to revenue loss. I will keep you posted as to how things went as soon as we had a payout.

It has had an impact on the number of fake bookings, though, reducing the number of cancellations to almost 0.

I believe we all have the same problem here: small establishment, no CC terminal.

Booking.com is NOT HELPFUL at all, stringing us along as CASH only, taking their commission per Direct Debit out of our bank account, which I find unacceptable.

Needless to say that we have lost an unsupportable amount of revenue to fake reservations (be it for a visa application, mostly by North Africans) that turned out to be no-shows.

By necessity, we had to learn how to identify these fake bookings as soon as they came in because booking.com straight out refuses to process cancellations of the false reservations in a fast and uncomplicated way. Just the opposite: it still takes up to a week or more and several messages/phone calls/emails to customer service to get them to cancel the most obvious phoney bookings and even then, one has to watch the extra-net like a hawk to have them removed. Over the last two years, we have lost approx. 50% of our revenue only by "people" blocking the availability. Which made us wonder if booking.com is the partner we wanted.

In my opinion, this business practice is just wrong and keeps us as a small B&B dependent on the OTAs.

But we all know who has the longest breath and profits from our work in a way we never will: booking.com

 

 

1 month ago
4
Janefryer

I cant take a cash deposit, I live an hours drive away and if its not a same day changeover, I do not want to be driving back just to give the cash back.  Also some guests leave at 5am.  The result is we cannot take a damage deposit unless we go through paypal which charges us yet more commission on that we already pay.  I complained about a guest recently who did not actualy damage anything but left it a total mess and worse than that, went to the airport leaving the front door swinging open.  All I received were 'sympathies'.  This person is not blocked from bdc just from booking with us at my request.   How can I warn anybody else without having a guest review system which is sadly lacking here.

I have only non-refundable rates which means no cancellations.  Why does everyone not do this?

 

Jane.

1 month ago
6
Isle of Wight …

That sounds very similar to my situation - see what I said above about the automatic message templates and taking damage deposits by bank transfer, see if that helps

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1 month ago
1
Lynne Harvie

I've raised the same issue, as cash on arrival/returned on departure doesn't work for self-catering where there is too much to check as a guest is leaving, and very risky for owners (especially if there were to be a dispute)

I've had various responses (all contradictory) to my query.  I may try the automated message/card payment option, but would be much better is booking.com just said that the owner will advise how to pay the damage deposit, rather than say it's taken in cash, then have us contradict that by asking for card payment or bank transfer (which is not a very safe way for a customer to pay the deposit)! 

Also - what happens if the guest won't pay the deposit?  Assume as that's a condition of booking, it can then be cancelled?

1 month ago
6
Isle of Wight …

Booking.com have said that if guests don't pay the damage deposit, contact Booking.com and they will contact the guest. Naturally, if we have to do this, whoever it is in Booking.com support will tell us to collect the deposit in cash on arrival - and then we'll have the whole debate again and again with them.

It will also be a pain to keep checking the bank account for the deposits and to keep contacting Booking.com. If we have to do this often, maybe Booking.com will realise they are spending too much time on this and better to go for the simple option of reserving the damage deposit against the card when a guest makes a booking.

I will only send the directions and the code for the key safe once the guest has paid everything, including the damage deposit. So no damage deposit, no entry to the property.

1 month ago
2
Barry Reilly

My thoughts on both methods...

For cash, setup a dropbox to receive it in the hallway or room itself.

 

For card payments, ask if paypal is something they have, it's easy to do PayPal.me payments or paypal phone bump payments. 

PayPal also let's you cancel refund as needed to return.

 

There is a provider I have seen many use in taxi, plumbers,locksmith called SumUp.  It's a small card reader with contact less feature.

 

Seen plenty of ads for it on facebook

1 month ago
4
Janefryer

Hi Barry,

I am no techno.   The card payments you suggest are all chargeable presumably. Not really viable for me with just one apartment for 4 months a year. And if using paypal, time consuming also.

Do not quite understand the cash drop box.  If they leave the cash in the box as a damage deposit, surely somebody has to still go and refund at the end of stay.  Does it work like an honesty box?

Bank transfer is a possibility but as others have said, they don't read the messages.  In my autumated welcome template I ask folk to contact me directly on my email address from theirs so that I can send them all the arrival details and info on the apartment  Mostly I get no response so I send it to the email address provided on the site and still no response.  The last guest whatsapped me a photo of the corner of our street saying "where do I go now?".  When I questioned him as to whether he had read the arrival details I sent out, he admitted his email address was out of date so never received anything from booking.com.   Others speak very little English so asking them to make a bank transfer would probably not wash.

It really has to be bdc who take it automatically and refund it automatically after 7 days like all the other OTA's.

1 month ago
6
Isle of Wight …

It would be really easy for BDC to authorise cards for a damage deposit - I really have no idea why BDC want to be so troublesome about this. All we can do is keep asking for it .........

 

1 month ago