Everything you need to know about virtual credit cards

Updated 1 month ago | 5 min read time

Virtual credit cards (VCC) are temporary, digital Mastercards that we use to facilitate payments from your guests on our platform. They function like regular credit cards and give you guaranteed payouts from us. They also save you time since you don’t need to pre-authorise or validate them.

In this article:

How virtual credit cards work

Virtual credit cards (VCC) are one of the payment options we offer to streamline the booking process for your guests. If guests choose to pay online, they can do so using their preferred payment method. We then load that payment onto a VCC that you can charge like a regular credit card. To know if your property has the option to join Payments by Booking.com with a VCC payout method go to Extranet > Finance tab > Payments by Booking.com.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about how we’ll send you payments from VCCs, how to charge them and how long they remain valid:

You’ll receive payments from your VCC in the extranet. We’ll send you a notification email along with the activation date.

  • Based on the activation date, you can enter the VCC details in your point of sale (POS) system and charge the VCC the same way you would any other credit card to receive your payment.
  • All VCCs must be charged within 12 months from the check-out date. After this point, you'll lose access to the funds and we won’t reissue a new VCC for the reservation. We’ll send you a reminder after the check-out date, and you’ll be able to see all your uncharged cards in the extranet by clicking Finance and then selecting Virtual cards management.
  • You can see all activated VCCs on the Reservations page, as well as on the Virtual cards management page, where you’ll also see all VCCs that still need to be charged or refunded.
  • We’ll send you a new VCC for every new booking you receive that’s payable via Payments by Booking.com. Each VCC has a unique card number, expiration date and CVC.
  • Every new VCC you receive will be activated according to the reservation policy. For non-refundable bookings, this is the same date as the booking date. For all other reservations, you can charge the VCC when the reservation becomes at least 90% non-refundable. If you are a new property or not following these criteria, you’ll be able to charge VCC one day after check in (for US at check in).
  • You can charge a VCC multiple times until it has zero balance left.

Your payment service provider may charge you a fee for using a virtual credit card. For more information, this article.

Charging virtual credit cards

To charge a virtual credit card (VCC), follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the extranet and click Reservations
  2. Click the guest’s name or reservation number
  3. Click View credit card details
  4. Enter the VCC’s details using your POS system
  5. Charge the room or unit rate the guest has paid

You can also see all your available VCCs by clicking Finance and then selecting Virtual cards management. Keep in mind that you’ll need to be logged in with admin access or an account that has appropriate access rights to be able to see the card details.


If you use a property management system or channel manager, you can find your VCCs under each reservation’s payment details. If you don't see this information, contact your Connectivity provider for further assistance.

What to do if you’re having trouble charging a virtual credit card

Here are the most common issues with charging virtual credit cards (VCC), and what to do to resolve them:

  • If the card isn't active yet, check the activation date on the Reservations page of the extranet.
  • If the card has insufficient funds, check that the amount you’re charging isn't higher than the room or unit rate, and try again. Keep in mind that certain fees and taxes may be excluded from the price. These fees are typically set on a per-person basis, such as city tax. You’ll need to collect them directly from the guest during their stay. You can see the amount available on the VCC and the charge breakdown for each booking on the Reservations page.
  • Check that the CVC code and expiration date you entered are correct.
  • If your POS machine merchant code is invalid, contact your payment service provider for help. You can only charge VCCs if you’re a merchant registered as an accommodation provider, but you can change your code if necessary.
  • If there’s a security lock, you’ve made too many attempts to charge the same card. Try again in 24 to 48 hours.
  • Check that you’re using the same currency as the amount the VCC is provided in. Using a different currency doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t charge a VCC, but it can lead to complications as you’ll need to get the exchange rate right.
  • Make sure you haven’t pre-authorised the VCC. If you have, you should either settle the authorised amount with the provided authorisation code, cancel the authorisation and charge it again or wait until the authorisation automatically clears after seven days, then charge it again.
  • If you’re asked to enter a zip code or postcode when you charge the VCC, you can use the guest’s, your own or ours – 1011 DL is the postcode for Booking.com’s headquarters in Amsterdam.
  • If your POS machine doesn’t support charging virtual cards, please contact your payment service provider for assistance. They might be able to offer you a different POS that supports online charging service.

If you’re still having trouble charging the VCC, contact us via your extranet inbox. For a more detailed explanation on charging VCCs, watch this tutorial video.

How virtual credit cards work with cancellations, no-shows and modifications

If you’re owed money because a reservation was cancelled or modified, or the guest was a no-show, you’ll be able to charge the VCC as per the reservation policy. The activation date of the VCC will be adjusted accordingly.

If you agreed to waive the applicable fees for the cancellation, modification or no-show but you've already charged the VCC, you'll need to refund the same VCC. You can do this even if the card has expired – just enter the current month as the expiration date instead. To find out more about refunding VCCs, take a look at this article.

How to deactivate virtual credit card payments

Here’s how to deactivate VCC payments if your property is based in the EEA, the UK or Switzerland: 

  1. Log in to the extranet.
  2. Click on the Finance tab and go to Finance Help to check if there is an option to switch from VCC to bank transfer payout. If yes, there is no need to opt out of Payments by Booking.com and you can start being paid via bank transfers.

If your property is based outside of the EEA, the UK or Switzerland and you wish to disable VCC payments, you need to opt out of Payments by Booking.com as we don't  offer the option to switch from VCC to Bank transfer payout method in your region. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Log in to the extranet.
  2. Click on the Finance tab, then go to Finance Settings. 
  3. Under Payments by Booking.com, click on Deactivate Payments by Booking.com.

More information about Payments

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