Cost savings and earlier activation dates for virtual credit cards

Updated 3 months ago
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For virtual credit cards used to charge guests who pay online, Booking.com has two updates: First, for partners who meet the eligibility criteria, we will reinstate activation dates to those before the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve switched to a new virtual card type that’s 25% cheaper to charge.


All reservations involve money transactions. To streamline the process for reservations where guests choose to pay online, Booking.com uses virtual credit cards (VCC) that you can use to charge your guests. Here’s what the entire process looks like in more detail:

  • When 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 email you a notification once you receive the VCC in the Extranet, which includes the card’s activation date and its unique, one-time info. You can then use the VCC details to charge it the same way you would any other credit card.

Reinstating earlier VCC activation dates for eligible partners

To help you in mitigate the unpredictability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to temporarily change the activation dates 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 due to VCCs.

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

To ensure the safety and security of our partners and guests, we’ve reinstated the activation dates of VCCs back to what they were before 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 in the past 12 months.
  • Have used 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 remain eligible, they can continue to benefit from earlier virtual card activation. Visit the Extranet to read more about this.

For partners who are already eligible and have an established payment track record, putting this into practice means that:

  • Non-refundable reservations can be charged using the VCC on the day a reservation is made.
  • Partially refundable reservations can be charged using the VCC once a reservation becomes 90% non-refundable.
  • All other reservations can be charged using the VCC on a guest’s check-in date.

We hope this explanation provides clarity about the criteria for partners to use resumed activation dates of all VCCs and its improved control of cash flow.

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. As it is for any credit card, there are processing fees for charging these.

To support partners with operational costs, we’re pleased to announce that Booking.com has switched to a new type of VCC that’s 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 the Extranet to learn more about VCC processing fees.

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