It is common knowledge that hotels require a credit card or debit card to be put on file when a guest checks in for their stay. Many often wonder, however, if there is a difference between putting down a debit card and a credit card for most major hotels. Do hotels accept debit cards?
Credit cards remain the preferred payment source for hotels. This is because hotels can easily check credit limit amounts and place a “hold” against the visitors' credit. Most hotels, however, will accept debit cards in many instances, with some exceptions. The majority of hotels will require a certain amount of funds to be withdrawn on the debit card when booking, only refunding the amount after check-out.
Let’s discuss the benefits, and drawbacks, of using a debit card for your hotel stay.
How To Tell If a Hotel Accepts Debit Cards
It can be confusing to know beforehand what to expect because each hotel chain is a little bit different. In fact, some hotels don’t accept debit cards at all. This can put the guest in an uncomfortable situation if they show up expecting accommodations and are turned away.
If you do not want to use a credit card, the best option is to contact the hotel directly. Asking the hotel what their policy is regarding debit cards will prevent a complicated check-in. Most hotels also list their debit card policies for easy reference on their website.
Marriott, for example, does accept debit cards but will freeze funds for up to five days covering the cost of the stay plus extra possible fees. Additionally, they require the guest to authorize the full payment and fees should the guest leave without settling the bill.
The motel chain Super 8, on the other hand, does not accept debit cards at all. They require a valid credit card and a government-issued ID, and do not allow debit cards to act as substitutes for credit cards.
Why Not to Use Debit Cards at Hotels
Many consumers refuse to use debit cards for hotel stays. This is because the hotel will likely withdraw the funds in the account for the entire stay. Some hotels take significantly more depending on their policy. Certain hotels will charge the debit card up to double or even more, shocking guests who did not financially plan on having so much withdrawn.
The other frustration is how long the funds are held before they are returned to the consumer. When using a debit card, the hotel will take the amount out of the account upon booking. The money won’t be returned until well after the consumer has checked out of the hotel. These funds can be held for several days or even up to several weeks.
This can be inconvenient for hotel guests who may not have the cash in their account set aside for this. Many hotel guests have struggled to cover other expenses while waiting for their funds to be returned to their debit accounts.
Consumers have also run into the problem of a hotel charging the entire amount plus incidentals to their card, only to find out that the car did not have the funds available. This can result in the booking being declined. Or worse, the card overdrawing and charging the consumer extra fees from the bank.
Your experience using a debit card to reserve a hotel room will vary wildly based on the hotel's policies. Contacting the hotel first before you attempt a book with a debit card is your best option. Knowing their policy beforehand will prevent a potential headache from held funds or having your stay canceled because they don't accept your form of payment.