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Refunding virtual credit cards (VCCs)

Updated 2 months ago | 5 min read
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We offer a guided 60- to 90-day process for virtual credit card (VCC) refunds. The process is designed to give you both clarity and transparency on your cash flow, as well as enough time to administer refunds to avoid chargebacks.


In this article


When you need to refund a VCC

You’ll need to refund a VCC if you already charged it in either of these situations:

  1. You agreed to waive the applicable fees when a reservation was canceled, modified, or a no-show.
  2. A reservation was canceled due to a Force Majeure event. In these cases, guests shouldn’t incur any costs or fees for stays they couldn’t complete. Booking.com waives all commission on these reservations.

In both cases, we'll repay the guest, and you'll need to refund the same VCC associated with the reservation.


Refunding a VCC

You can charge the VCC the same way you would any other credit card. There are two ways to do so on the Extranet.

Under the Finance tab:

  1. Log in to the Extranet
  2. Click Finance, then Virtual cards management
  3. Click Virtual cards to refund to see all the VCCs you need to refund along with the reason, deadline, and amount for each one.
  4. Choose View card details and process the refund using your POS or credit card machine.

Under the Reservations tab:

  1. Log in to the Extranet
  2. Click Reservations, then select a booking number to access its details
  3. Choose View card details and enter the VCC details to process the refund using your POS or credit card machine

You can do this even if the VCC is expired – just enter the current month as the expiration date instead. We’ll return the money to your guest.


What to do if you’re having trouble charging VCCs

If you’re having trouble refunding a virtual credit card, you’ll need to reach out to your Payment Service Provider (PSP) to find out what went wrong and resolve the issue. The refund process may also differ according to your POS system or credit card machine. We recommend contacting your bank or financial institution for assistance.

Here are some common situations that might cause issues:

  1. Your POS or credit card machine is blocked. The main reasons for a block are:
  • You've already charged the VCC in the past. Each VCC can only be used once, after which the transaction info is no longer accessible to your POS machine.
  • The amount you’re trying to refund is higher than the available balance on the VCC.
  • Your provider doesn’t allow you to refund VCCs.
  1. You receive an unknown POS/credit card machine error.
  • If this happens and your PSP can't help, try again later or the next day.
  1. You don’t have enough funds at the moment.
  • You have a grace period of 60 to 90 days to refund VCCs. Make sure to have enough funds in your account before the due date to avoid a chargeback.

If you don’t refund a VCC in time, we'll initiate a chargeback to recover any lost funds.


Disputing a VCC refund

You’ll need to refund a VCC whenever we've refunded a guest for a reservation that was canceled or modified. The amount we paid you using a VCC must be returned to avoid a chargeback. If you disagree with a refund, you can always reach out to your local support team for help.


What if you've refunded a guest directly?

The reason you're being asked to refund a VCC is that we've already refunded the guest. If you refunded a guest yourself, ask them to return the amount to you or else they’ll get refunded twice. You still have to refund the VCC to us to avoid a chargeback.


What happens if you don't refund a VCC?

We'll send you reminders to refund a VCC over two to three months after we've refunded a guest. Not doing so in time or in full will result in us raising a chargeback to recover the funds.

You may also lose your eligibility to charge VCCs for future bookings before the check-in date.


What is a chargeback?

A chargeback is when a credit or debit card charge is reversed by an authorized bank. This process is put in place by banks to help resolve disputes between merchants and consumers. 

Once a bank approves a chargeback request, the bank refunds the original amount to the cardholder – in this case, to Booking.com. We'll initiate a chargeback if we've refunded a guest, but you didn’t refund us the VCC associated with the reservation on time. We’ll send you two email reminders before processing any chargebacks.


What is the timeline for chargebacks?

Once we refund a guest, you’ll receive an email with instructions for refunding the VCC associated with their reservation. There’s a 60- to 90-day period for you to administer the refund, during which we’ll send you two reminder emails.

Here's a breakdown of what you'll receive:

  • Day of guest refund: You'll receive an email confirming the guest has been refunded, along with details on refunding the associated VCC.
  • First reminder: On the third day of the next month, we'll send you a reminder email with all the details you need to process refunds. 
  • Second reminder: On the 15th of the month following the first reminder, we'll send you an overview of outstanding refunds with a request to process them to avoid chargebacks. 
  • Start of chargeback process: On the 30th day of that month, we'll hand over the details of outstanding refunds to our credit card company and the PSP to initiate the chargeback process.

Are there additional fees associated with chargebacks?

Payment service providers usually charge a fee for processing chargebacks. The amount varies depending on your payment set-up. To avoid incurring this additional charge, we recommend refunding VCCs within the specified due date.


More info about VCCs and Payments

Everything you need to know about virtual credit cards 

Cost savings and earlier activation dates for virtual credit cards

How Online Payments work 

Read our Payments FAQ

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