Do Hotel Deposits Get Refunded?

Everyone has seen extra pending charges on their card when they check into a hotel and then wonder if that deposit gets refunded once they check out. 

While different hotels have different policies regarding forms of payment, how long it takes to get your money back, and what charges get taken out of that amount, your money is safe. 

Most of the time, you’ll get your deposit back from the hotel. However, the hotel will take out of the deposit any charges or damages to the room during your stay, and it may take between one and two weeks for it to appear in your account. 

How Do Hotel Deposits Work?

When you make a hotel reservation, the hotel puts a hold on your credit or debit card, taking a deposit that secures your room and serves as protection for the hotel if you cancel or damage the room. 

This deposit is called an incidental deposit and is used for convenience for both the hotel and the guest. 

When you check out, the hotel subtracts any charges you made to the room (like at their market, room service, or rentals) and any damage fees. Then the deposit is refunded or removed from your account.

Incidental deposits are charged differently, depending upon your form of payment. 

In most cases, hotels require you to present a debit or credit card for this deposit, but you can pay with cash if you visit the hotel before your stay. 

The hotel places a hold on your credit card account if you use a credit card. The charge will appear as a pending charge and won’t go through, but it temporarily affects your credit limit. At check out, this hold is removed, and you are charged for your room and any additional charges you made to the room. 

For debit cards, the hotel can’t place a hold on your account. Instead, they charge the amount to your card at check-in, the money comes out of your account, and then the hotel refunds your account after you’ve checked out. 

If you pay with cash, the hotel holds your deposit at the front desk during your stay. You should get a receipt for the amount you give them at check-in and another when you get the money back at check out. 

Credit cards are the best way to pay for hotels by far. This is because the hotel can remove the deposit hold from your account as soon as you check out without a waiting period. This is because, with a credit card, the hotel can place a hold on your account without processing the charges.

Debit cards work as long as you have enough money to cover the room rate and taxes, but it can take up to two weeks for the deposit to be processed and refunded to your account. 

Always inquire what the deposit amount will be for your room and check your billing statement to ensure the hotel made no mistakes. 

Why Do Hotels Take a Deposit?

Hotels take a deposit from guests to protect themselves and provide convenience to their guests. 

If you cancel outside their policy, it ensures they didn’t reserve a room and get no money for it. 

The deposit also protects the hotel if you damage the room and try to refuse to pay for damages. They have authorization at check-in to charge your card, and you won’t be able to dispute the charges. 

Deposits also it more convenient for the guests staying there and the staff. You can grab snacks at the hotel market, rent movies, upgrade your internet service, and several other things at most hotels just by chagrin it to your room. 

The deposit prevents the guest from making extra transactions with staff or possibly having to leave their room. 

It’s also easier on the staff because it saves them time going through a transaction. 

When Do You Not Get Your Deposit Back?

You usually get your deposit back, but you may not get the total amount. 

Anything you charge to your room, whether that be room service, items from the market or gift shop, premium wi-fi, or movie rentals. 

Those charges are subtracted from your deposit before it gets refunded to you. 

You can also lose some of your deposit if you rack up damage fees with the hotel. For example, they’re entitled to keep money from your deposit if you smoke in a non-smoking room, break things, or damage the room. 

If the damages exceed the deposit, you must pay more. 

In some cases, the hotel can deny you a return of your deposit. 

The hotel can keep your deposit if you cancel your stay outside the accepted cancellation terms. Be sure to read their cancellation policy carefully and know that you agree to it when you confirm your booking. 

You can also lose your deposit if you’re kicked out of the hotel. Breaking the hotel’s rules can result in you being asked to leave and is considered a breach of the terms you agreed to when you confirmed your booking. 

These rules range from noise complaints to drunken behavior, smoking in your room, or threatening other guests. 

You can find a complete list of the hotel’s rules in their terms and conditions on their website and can read them when booking. However, since you agree to those terms, you aren’t entitled to a refund if you are the one that breaches the terms. 

In this case, the hotel is not required to refund your deposit. 

How Long Does a Refund Take?

How long it takes to process your refund depends on your payment method. 

Credit cards and cash are the fastest. With a credit card, the hotel can instantly remove the hold from your account at the time of checkout. With cash, you receive your deposit back when you check out, minus any charges to the room. 

Debit cards can take a few days to a couple of weeks to refund. The hotel must charge the card rather than leave a pending charge. 


In most cases, the deposit for your hotel room will be refunded after checkout. It may take a couple of weeks to show up in your account, but it will get there. 

The deposit you receive may be less than you paid. This is because anything charged to the room and any damages to the room is subtracted from the deposit before refunding you. If you didn’t make any charges, expect to get the total amount back.