Everything you need to know about virtual credit cards

Updated 2 months ago | 5 min read

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-authorize or validate them.

In this article:

How virtual credit cards work

Virtual credit cards (VCC) are a payment option we offer to streamline the booking process for 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. VCCs are available to all partners in countries that have Payments Service 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 on 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 it the same way you would any other credit card for payment.
  • All VCCs must be charged within 12 months of the check-out date. After this period, 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 uncharged cards will be visible on the Extranet’s Virtual cards management page.
  • You can charge VCCs for up to 12 months after check-out.
  • You can see all activated VCCs on the Reservations page, or by clicking Finance, then Virtual cards management – here, you can also see a list of all VCCs to charge or refund.
  • For every relevant booking you receive, we’ll send you a new VCC number.
  • Each VCC has a unique card number, expiration date, and CVC. These are never reused.
  • 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 as long as you’re eligible for the early VCC activation feature. Otherwise, you’ll be able to charge one day after check-in.
  • You can charge a VCC multiple times until it has zero balance left.

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

To access the Reservations page, you’ll need to log in with admin access or an account with appropriate access rights.

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

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

  • If the card isn't active yet, check its activation date on 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, it means you’ve made too many attempts to charge the same card. Try again in 24 to 48 hours.
  • Use 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 because you’ll need to get the exchange rate right.
  • If you can’t charge a VCC in the currency it’s loaded with, convert the currency and charge it.
  • There's no need to pre-authorize a VCC. If you do, you should either settle the authorized amount with the provided authorization code, cancel the authorization and charge it again, or wait until the authorization automatically clears after seven days, then charge it again.

For a more detailed explanation of charging VCCs, watch this tutorial video.

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

If there’s a cancellation, no-show, or modification to a reservation and you’re owed money, we’ll send you an email with updated VCC details you can charge.

If you agreed to waive the applicable fees for reservations that were canceled, modified, or marked as no-shows, and you already charged the VCC, you'll need to refund the same VCC. You can do this even if the VCC 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.

More info about Payments

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