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Just reading your message. I do exactly what you do
and really works for me. Deposit first, if they have not paid i
do cancel the booking myself. Guests has 24 hours to get back
to you , if not you can cancel the booking yourself much easier.
I have the same problem very high cancellation due to not reading my deposit
policy or wanting to bring extra people when my apartment sleep two people.
i use to give guest a lot of time to pay there deposit when it was time to pay they changed there mind about the booking now i give them 24 hours to pay there deposit.
booking,com should hi light our deposit so guest can read, our guest certainly chose not to.
Reading above post charging commission when guests do not arrive is not on..
I agree with Stay your comment above. I charge a 50% deposit they EFT the money straight to my account. I don't get cancellations because I have half there money. Then the balance in cash on arrival. I don't work with credit card machines. If they do cancel you have there deposit. Best way to do it..