Cost savings and earlier activation dates for virtual credit cards

Updated 2 months ago
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With respect to virtual credit cards used to charge guests who pay online, Booking.com has two updates: firstly, for partners that meet eligibility criteria, we will reinstate activation dates to those prior to the COVID-19 pandemic; secondly, we are pleased to announce that we have switched to a new virtual card type that is 25% cheaper to charge.


All reservations involve money transactions. And in order to streamline the process for reservations where guests choose to pay online, Booking.com uses virtual credit cards (or VCC) that you can use to charge your guests. In greater detail, the entire process looks like this:

  • When your guests choose to pay online, we facilitate their transactions based on their preferred payment method and your property’s policies by loading the payment onto a VCC.
  • We then send you a notification email once you receive the VCC in your extranet, which includes the card’s activation date and one-time, unique information. You can then use the VCC details to charge the card the same way you would any other credit card.

Reinstating earlier VCC activation dates for eligible partners

In an effort to support you in mitigating the significant unpredictability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we took the decision to temporarily change the activation date for all VCCs to one day after check-in. This change was intended to help reduce the high and last-minute workload associated with cancellations and refunds owed to VCCs.

We did this while expressing our intention to reverse the change as soon as it became safe to do so. And we now believe that in certain circumstances this is possible.

So to ensure the safety and security of our partners and their guests, we have reinstated the activation date of VCCs to be what it was prior to COVID-19. This will be offered to eligible partners who meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate timely processing of monthly invoices, according to payment due dates.
  • Have no unpaid or written-off invoices for the past 12 months.
  • Have been using our online payments service for the past 3 months.
  • Do not have current chargeback disputes on Booking.com virtual credit cards.
  • Have 6 months of partnership with Booking.com, including validated guest stays and reviews.

As long as partners continue to be eligible, they can continue to benefit from earlier virtual card activation. Visit your extranet to read more about this.

Put in practice, for partners that already are eligible and have an established payment track record, this means that, for example:

  • For non-refundable reservations, they will be able to charge the VCC on the day that the reservation is made.
  • For partially refundable reservations, they will be able to charge the VCC when the reservation becomes 90% non-refundable.
  • For all other reservations, they will be able to charge the VCC on the guest’s check-in date.

We hope this explanation provides clarity about the criteria for partners to retain resumed activation dates of all VCCs, and with that, better cash flow control.

Reduced costs in processing VCCs with Booking.com

Booking.com partners with VCC issuers, which allows us to provide our partners with the VCC payout method. And as is the case for any credit card, there are payment processing fees involved when charging them.

To support partners with operational costs, we are pleased to announce that Booking.com has switched to a new type of VCC that is 25% cheaper to charge. Depending on your agreement with your payments service provider, you should see a reduction in the fees you pay for virtual credit cards from Booking.com. Visit your extranet to learn more about VCC processing fees.

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