Most hotels require a credit card to book a room. Usually, with a credit card, the reservation is charged as a preauthorized payment – or temporary hold – that is removed after a set number of days.
But what happens if you don’t have a credit card?
Fortunately, at some hotels, you can book a room with a debit card. Unlike a credit card, however, you will have to pay more upfront to cover any possible damages or in-room charges. The hotel will refund any unused funds after you check out.
This process, known as a debit card hold, is more inconvenient than a preauthorized charge on your credit card.
If you’re using a debit card to book a hotel, you’ll have to budget for the additional costs before making your reservation.
The Challenges of Booking a Hotel With a Debit Card
When a hotel places a hold on your debit card, it can cost significantly more than the price of the room.
Hotels will often add a certain amount to ensure that you can cover your stay and any potential damage to the room.
The hotel will authorize your card before you check in, so crunch the numbers before making your reservation.
After you check out, the hotel will release the hold, but the refund can take a few days to go through.
Depending on your card issuer, it might even take weeks.
If you plan on using a debit card for your entire vacation, remember that you may not have fraud protection.
It’s an issue you should consider if vacationing in another country.
Read Also >> Can You Book A Hotel With A Prepaid Card?
Hotels That Allow You To Book With a Debit Card
Various hotels allow you to book with a debit card, from big chains like Hilton and Wyndham to smaller, individually-owned properties.
If debit cards aren’t accepted where you want to stay, negotiating is easier if you’re dealing with a boutique hotel.
You can always contact the owner directly and state your case.
If you’re booking a well-known hotel online, call and ask whether you can book your stay with a debit card.
If you’re using an online travel agency, look for hotels that accept debit card bookings.
If you want to escape the hurdles of debit card blocks, book a room that isn’t prepaid.
You’ll still need your card to make a reservation, but the hotel may allow you to pay cash for your stay.
Regardless of how you pay for your room, always read the fine print to avoid uncomfortable situations.
Read Also >> When Do Hotels Charge Your Credit Card?
Tips on Booking a Hotel With a Debit Card
Even though debit cards have their pitfalls, there are a few things you can do to guarantee a stress-free hotel stay.
1. Ask About the Hold
The first thing you should do is find out whether the hotel accepts debit cards. If they do, ask about the authorization.
This information is posted if you’re using a reputable third-party site, like booking.com.
If you can’t find the info you’re looking for, call the hotel directly – they’ll tell you their standard hold amount.
Payment/hold policies are usually transparent when booking directly through a hotel website.
2. Understand the Hotel’s Cancellation Policy
Many hotels allow you to cancel your reservation at least 24 hours before check-in, but I recommend notifying them earlier, if possible.
If you don’t cancel your reservation in time, most hotels have strict policies about payment, and the amount varies depending on the hotel and your reservation.
It also varies for specific booking sites, as third parties have separate policies.
3. Reduce the Length of the Hold
Providing your PIN during reservation may help reduce the time to access your funds after check-out.
Not providing your PIN means your transaction will be treated as a credit charge and may lead to a longer hold.
4. Review Your Bill at Check-Out
Checking out in person isn’t mandatory if the hotel has a card number on file.
After your reservation ends, they’ll check the room and charge any additional costs or refund the amount of the hold (minus your stay).
However, I still recommend going through the process for the simple reason of reviewing your bill.
Mistakes can happen, and unknown charges are common.
Checking out in person gives you a chance to resolve any issues, ensuring you only pay for what you use.
After the hotel releases the hold, check your account to confirm the charges are correct.
Paying for a stay with a debit card is not unheard of, but if you have a credit card, I recommend using it instead.
You’ll have to budget for additional costs if you pay with a debit card.
If you don’t want to use a credit or debit card, prepaid cards are a viable option.
They’re not accepted everywhere, but they do give you options.
Whichever method you choose, review the hotel’s policies to know what to expect.