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Old 02-07-2010, 06:14 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
654 posts, read 3,107,010 times
Reputation: 567

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I am planning on doing a trip in a couple of months to Seattle and wanted to know if using a debit/check card to book a hotel several months in advance will be a problem?

I don't have a credit card and really don't have a desire to get one since my credit isn't good enough to get one (would never qualify with a high enough limit anyway). I do know that hotels can place holds on cards for the room rate plus tax and other possible extras during my stay. I do have a seperate checking account with a different bank that I can use to put aside money for the hotel, plus extra to be sure that it will be enough to cover everything so my check card I have for that account will be only used for the hotel and nothing else. I have another check card I can use for regular stuff.

Shame that people without credit cards are somewhat discriminated against because either we are not able to get one, or have made the choice not to carry one. I have booked many flights with my debit card with no problems in the past but I guess hotels are a different beast.

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:43 PM
 
Location: In the sticks, SC
1,642 posts, read 4,521,298 times
Reputation: 1080
I agree with you. I feel the bs you have to go through using debit vs credit is ridiculus, not just with hotels, but with rental cars also.

So I just don't tell them I'm using a debit card. I just paid for a hotel room with a debit card. I never brought it up over the phone, or when I paid for the room. I have a little sticker from a rental car company that covers up the "debit" on the card. Everything went through smoothly
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:59 AM
 
50 posts, read 538,974 times
Reputation: 65
I, too, feel your pain! However...I work in for a Resort (and have worked in the Hotel Industry for over 10 years) so I'll try to explain this practice.

When you present a Debit Card for payment at my Resort, we will pre-authorize that card for your full amount (your nightly room rate, plus taxes, PLUS an additional $100, in case you charge anything to your room). By doing a pre-authoriziation, this basically "holds" the money in your checking account. It is not charged yet, but there is a hold on that money.

So, let's say we pre-authorize your card for a total of $600. If your checking account balance is only $500, then it will get declined. If your checking account balance is $700, then it will be approved. HOWEVER...let's say you still have outstanding checks that haven't cleared yet...totaling $300. After we place a pre-authorization onto your Debit Card, then your outstanding checks clear...guess what? When we go to charge your Debit Card the Full Amount when it's time to do so, we'll get a Decline! So...if you just leave the Resort without checking out at the Front Desk (as many travelers do, assuming the Front Desk will just run the card on file for payment), the Resort isn't getting paid for your room charges! The Resort Staff then has to take the time to follow up with the guest to get a valid Form of Payment. This can be extremely difficult at times.

When we place this "hold" on your money, you cannot have access to it any longer, until we release that hold. So, if your balance was $700 and we "hold" $600, you cannot go to the ATM an withdrawl $200, or use your Debit Card at the mall for $350. A lot of guests complain to us about this...but why are they complaining!?!? If they plan on paying for their Resort charges with their Debit Card, why are they spending the money in that Checking Account if there isn't enough to cover ALL of their obligations?!?!

When you leave a Credit Card for payment, the same process occurs, however...the difference is, if we pre-authorize $600 on your Credit Card, it is much less likely that we were get a Decline on the payment at the end of your stay. Typically, when you use a Credit Card for payment, it pulls that amount from your Available Limit immediately, so there's no waiting period. This is true for purchases made at a store, online, at a Resort, etc.

Over the past few months, at my Resort specifically, we are really having issues with using Debit Cards as payments, because the above scenario is happening a lot. My Accounting Departments wants us to NOT accept Debit Cards as a Payment Method AT ALL! They want to only accept Credit Cards. My Department has fought this tooth and nail...even though there are challenges for the Resort to accept Debit Cards as payments, we understand that there are folks out there, like this OP, who simply do not have a Credit Card, but do have Debit Cards. Just because you do not have a Credit Card does not mean that you do not have the money to pay for your hotel stay!
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:06 AM
 
50 posts, read 538,974 times
Reputation: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by mongoslade223 View Post
I agree with you. I feel the bs you have to go through using debit vs credit is ridiculus, not just with hotels, but with rental cars also.

So I just don't tell them I'm using a debit card. I just paid for a hotel room with a debit card. I never brought it up over the phone, or when I paid for the room. I have a little sticker from a rental car company that covers up the "debit" on the card. Everything went through smoothly
I also want to add...we at the Resort can tell if the card you present is a Debit Card or a Credit Card...there are several "secret" ways to tell the difference, both by the card itself and from the computer.
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:29 PM
 
1,492 posts, read 6,956,260 times
Reputation: 1427
Don't worry too much about it because I've used my debit card for years and years and never have had an issue. Many charge your stay at check in...so by the time you leave as long as you've not made any additional purchases or charges...any 'hold' will be released and by the time you get home you won't even see it on your online banking.

Here is an interesting 'how stuff works' about how anyone knows just by looking at any credit card number if it's a Visa or MasterCard....if it's a debit or credit card.
HowStuffWorks "Credit Card Numbers"
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:35 PM
 
Location: In the sticks, SC
1,642 posts, read 4,521,298 times
Reputation: 1080
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buns View Post
I, too, feel your pain! However...I work in for a Resort (and have worked in the Hotel Industry for over 10 years) so I'll try to explain this practice.

When you present a Debit Card for payment at my Resort, we will pre-authorize that card for your full amount (your nightly room rate, plus taxes, PLUS an additional $100, in case you charge anything to your room). By doing a pre-authoriziation, this basically "holds" the money in your checking account. It is not charged yet, but there is a hold on that money.

So, let's say we pre-authorize your card for a total of $600. If your checking account balance is only $500, then it will get declined. If your checking account balance is $700, then it will be approved. HOWEVER...let's say you still have outstanding checks that haven't cleared yet...totaling $300. After we place a pre-authorization onto your Debit Card, then your outstanding checks clear...guess what? When we go to charge your Debit Card the Full Amount when it's time to do so, we'll get a Decline! So...if you just leave the Resort without checking out at the Front Desk (as many travelers do, assuming the Front Desk will just run the card on file for payment), the Resort isn't getting paid for your room charges! The Resort Staff then has to take the time to follow up with the guest to get a valid Form of Payment. This can be extremely difficult at times.

When we place this "hold" on your money, you cannot have access to it any longer, until we release that hold. So, if your balance was $700 and we "hold" $600, you cannot go to the ATM an withdrawl $200, or use your Debit Card at the mall for $350. A lot of guests complain to us about this...but why are they complaining!?!? If they plan on paying for their Resort charges with their Debit Card, why are they spending the money in that Checking Account if there isn't enough to cover ALL of their obligations?!?!

When you leave a Credit Card for payment, the same process occurs, however...the difference is, if we pre-authorize $600 on your Credit Card, it is much less likely that we were get a Decline on the payment at the end of your stay. Typically, when you use a Credit Card for payment, it pulls that amount from your Available Limit immediately, so there's no waiting period. This is true for purchases made at a store, online, at a Resort, etc.

Over the past few months, at my Resort specifically, we are really having issues with using Debit Cards as payments, because the above scenario is happening a lot. My Accounting Departments wants us to NOT accept Debit Cards as a Payment Method AT ALL! They want to only accept Credit Cards. My Department has fought this tooth and nail...even though there are challenges for the Resort to accept Debit Cards as payments, we understand that there are folks out there, like this OP, who simply do not have a Credit Card, but do have Debit Cards. Just because you do not have a Credit Card does not mean that you do not have the money to pay for your hotel stay!
If the funds aren't available at the time the bank clears the check, I would think that the account would end up going into overdraft. The hotel wouldn't lose any money. I still see no difference in using a debit or credit card. The funds are witheld either way....the bank can't get their money either if there is a hold.

I have used my "stickered" debit card at hotels and for car rentals and have not had an issue.
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Old 02-09-2010, 03:11 PM
 
50 posts, read 538,974 times
Reputation: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by mongoslade223 View Post
If the funds aren't available at the time the bank clears the check, I would think that the account would end up going into overdraft. The hotel wouldn't lose any money. I still see no difference in using a debit or credit card. The funds are witheld either way....the bank can't get their money either if there is a hold.

I have used my "stickered" debit card at hotels and for car rentals and have not had an issue.
The difference is...we are pre-authorizing money up front...not charging. So...if we pre-authorize the money, THEN some outstanding checks clear, then when we go to make a charge it is declined, because now there is not enough money in the checking account to cover our charges. When we pre-authorize a dollar amount, we don't get any of that money right then. We have to wait until the guest checks out, then place a charge in order to collect our money.

I'm not trying to say do or don't use a Debit Card for these types of transactions...this is just my "insider" point of view and professional experiences.
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Old 02-09-2010, 04:56 PM
 
Location: In the sticks, SC
1,642 posts, read 4,521,298 times
Reputation: 1080
Quote:
Originally Posted by VegasGrace View Post
Don't worry too much about it because I've used my debit card for years and years and never have had an issue. Many charge your stay at check in...so by the time you leave as long as you've not made any additional purchases or charges...any 'hold' will be released and by the time you get home you won't even see it on your online banking.

Here is an interesting 'how stuff works' about how anyone knows just by looking at any credit card number if it's a Visa or MasterCard....if it's a debit or credit card.
HowStuffWorks "Credit Card Numbers"
I saw where they could tell what type (visa, master card) but I did not see anything in the article that said where they could distinguish debit from credit.
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:32 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,449,524 times
Reputation: 8158
Some motels won't even accept cash anymore.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:24 AM
 
50 posts, read 538,974 times
Reputation: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
Some motels won't even accept cash anymore.
Very true. My Resort doesn't not accept cash...we just highly discourage it. And...we'll typically only accept cash as a full payment at the time of check-out...never at check-in. We always require a credit card on file at check-in(or debit card, in some cases...).
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