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Taking payment - At check in or check out?

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Copperhead

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Keep in mind that in order to get chargeback protection, you need to be using a lodging certified credit card gateway, and take payment at check-out. You pre-auth at check-in to show you got a swiped card on the check-in date, then you charge on check-out to send data on the length of stay. This gets you the best rate and the best chargeback protection.
If you are not on a lodging gateway then it doesn't really matter as your date information doesn't pass through anyway and you are pretty much on your own for chargeback protection..
JBanczak said:
Keep in mind that in order to get chargeback protection, you need to be using a lodging certified credit card gateway, and take payment at check-out. You pre-auth at check-in to show you got a swiped card on the check-in date, then you charge on check-out to send data on the length of stay. This gets you the best rate and the best chargeback protection.
If you are not on a lodging gateway then it doesn't really matter as your date information doesn't pass through anyway and you are pretty much on your own for chargeback protection.
We run their card when the reservation is made thereby verifying the card. This is performed by a manual keying of the number in the form of a Check-in on our machine. If the card is good I send them a confirmation. If not, they are given the opportunity to provide an alternate method of payment. When they arrive, I get their card and do a Check-out. This allows me to swipe their card and thus take advantage of a lower rate with my credit card processing service. We're not selling mugs or receipe books so this seems to work for us.
If there's a better way, I'm open to suggestions.
.
Proud Texan said:
JBanczak said:
Keep in mind that in order to get chargeback protection, you need to be using a lodging certified credit card gateway, and take payment at check-out. You pre-auth at check-in to show you got a swiped card on the check-in date, then you charge on check-out to send data on the length of stay. This gets you the best rate and the best chargeback protection.
If you are not on a lodging gateway then it doesn't really matter as your date information doesn't pass through anyway and you are pretty much on your own for chargeback protection.
We run their card when the reservation is made thereby verifying the card. This is performed by a manual keying of the number in the form of a Check-in on our machine. If the card is good I send them a confirmation. If not, they are given the opportunity to provide an alternate method of payment. When they arrive, I get their card and do a Check-out. This allows me to swipe their card and thus take advantage of a lower rate with my credit card processing service. We're not selling mugs or receipe books so this seems to work for us.
If there's a better way, I'm open to suggestions.
So you do not take a deposit, you are only verifing if the card is good with a small amount? What this does is holds that amount in limbo from the card for only a few days (# of days varies by type of card). Depending on the time between the verification and the check out, there could be nothing on hold on their account. The way you do it is fine if you are not taking a deposit or think that what you are doing truly assures the card will be good when the person arrives. I do not think any way is BETTER that another - it is just a different way.
I have given the 'lodging check-in/check-out' way a try...the other way is far easier and I know now I am not any more protected one way or the other...The issue regarding chargebacks remains pure and simple --- keep good records and clear policies!!!!
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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We take one night deposit at time of reservation and the balance upon checkout. Often people just cruise and say to use the same card.....six years and never a problem. I use Cellcharge. Cheap and easy...can process by phone or online with no equipment or associated costs....never a chargeback..
"We take one night deposit at time of reservation and the balance upon checkout. Often people just cruise and say to use the same card.....six years and never a problem. I use Cellcharge. Cheap and easy...can process by phone or online with no equipment or associated costs....never a chargeback."
Right on!
Sounds like you have a system that works really well for you and your individual circumstances.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Unless the guest offers to complete the financial end of things earlier in their stay, we ask on their last morning if they'd like me to use the same card they made the reservation with. Some folks want to pay with cash, or some other card they prefer for miles, etc. so we like the flexibility that affords for folks.
With really long range bookings, those folks are so completely appreciative that they don't have to pay interest on something they aren't "consuming" until six or seven months later, that they end being some of our best repeat guests. They also end up being our least cancelled bookings.
We get virtually no walk-ins, so having a swiper just isn't practical for us.
We use an online processor and run a pre-auth right after getting off the phone or receiving the online request. We have a seperate computer for doing this not in a public area and the service passed its PCI_DSS security with flying colors, so we're pretty comfortable with its security.
The fees are already what our regular research shows are very competitive and the absence of the costs or lease on a swiper and other supplies drives the cost down further.
The pre-auth doesn't count as a charge so there are no fees to us involved and it gives us total peace of mind for the months, weeks, days, whatever, leading up to a guest's arrival.
We usually are satisfied with the pre-auth on its own, but will run the deposit if we caught any funny vibes from the guest on the phone or emails.
Almost nobody wants to send a check for the deposit, so we set up our accounting to run everything on checkout.
A big tipoff for us to do the deposit is if someone asks "What is the last day I can cancel without any fees?"
Those are probably the same type folks who make four different dinner reservations then only honor the one that most appealed to them on the drive to the restaurant.
Most folks when we offer to go over the cancellation policy with them will reply with "Are you kidding, I've been looking forward to this vacation for months and will not be cancelling".
Tim_Toad_HLB said:
A big tipoff for us to do the deposit is if someone asks "What is the last day I can cancel without any fees?"
I ask this question of every reservation that I have made or plan on making. It gives me a peace of mind in case something would come up. I usually will keep a notebook of where we are going on our trip and add this info in it.
.
"I ask this question of every reservation that I have made or plan on making."
Right, hopefully its because you are in the hospitality industry and can relate to what cancellations do to one's calendar and are probably a very considerate person to begin with in regards to wanting to respect other business owner's policies as you would have them respect yours?
"It gives me a peace of mind in case something would come up."
Let ask you this. How many times has "something come up" at exactly the number of days out from a stay somewhere so you didn't incur any fees?
I'm not saying every single person we go over the policy with who asks the question cancels at 31 or 32 days out and never at 28 or 29.
But considering the few cancellations we get in a year, it always strikes me as a very odd coincidence that more often than not, those that are very intetested not in the general cancellation policy but when they can cancel without incurring any fees while communicating with me are more often than not the ones we hear from at 32, 31 or 30 days out.
One would think that just out of the vagaries of life's little interruptions and distractions, somebody would come along and cancel at 26, 27 or 28 days out but that rarely happens.
We have a multi-tiered policy depending on when the booking is cancelled.
Ours are either pretty far out, right at the different deadlines to minimize fees or last minute emergency types. For those types if under 7 days, we keep the full deposit and send a voucher good for that amount as if it were a gift certificate. Very few of our competitors do so and its our way of empathizing with folks when real life events disrupt vacation plans.
Sometimes the room gets rebooked, sometimes the folks use the voucher and express incredible gratitude for us offering it, sometimes we never hear from folks again. We figure it all comes out in the wash and we sleep better at night knowing we didn't take advantage of someone else's misfortune.
 

GeorgiaGirl

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Unless the guest offers to complete the financial end of things earlier in their stay, we ask on their last morning if they'd like me to use the same card they made the reservation with. Some folks want to pay with cash, or some other card they prefer for miles, etc. so we like the flexibility that affords for folks.
With really long range bookings, those folks are so completely appreciative that they don't have to pay interest on something they aren't "consuming" until six or seven months later, that they end being some of our best repeat guests. They also end up being our least cancelled bookings.
We get virtually no walk-ins, so having a swiper just isn't practical for us.
We use an online processor and run a pre-auth right after getting off the phone or receiving the online request. We have a seperate computer for doing this not in a public area and the service passed its PCI_DSS security with flying colors, so we're pretty comfortable with its security.
The fees are already what our regular research shows are very competitive and the absence of the costs or lease on a swiper and other supplies drives the cost down further.
The pre-auth doesn't count as a charge so there are no fees to us involved and it gives us total peace of mind for the months, weeks, days, whatever, leading up to a guest's arrival.
We usually are satisfied with the pre-auth on its own, but will run the deposit if we caught any funny vibes from the guest on the phone or emails.
Almost nobody wants to send a check for the deposit, so we set up our accounting to run everything on checkout.
A big tipoff for us to do the deposit is if someone asks "What is the last day I can cancel without any fees?"
Those are probably the same type folks who make four different dinner reservations then only honor the one that most appealed to them on the drive to the restaurant.
Most folks when we offer to go over the cancellation policy with them will reply with "Are you kidding, I've been looking forward to this vacation for months and will not be cancelling".
Tim_Toad_HLB said:
A big tipoff for us to do the deposit is if someone asks "What is the last day I can cancel without any fees?"
I ask this question of every reservation that I have made or plan on making. It gives me a peace of mind in case something would come up. I usually will keep a notebook of where we are going on our trip and add this info in it.
.
"I ask this question of every reservation that I have made or plan on making."
Right, hopefully its because you are in the hospitality industry and can relate to what cancellations do to one's calendar and are probably a very considerate person to begin with in regards to wanting to respect other business owner's policies as you would have them respect yours?
"It gives me a peace of mind in case something would come up."
Let ask you this. How many times has "something come up" at exactly the number of days out from a stay somewhere so you didn't incur any fees?
I'm not saying every single person we go over the policy with who asks the question cancels at 31 or 32 days out and never at 28 or 29.
But considering the few cancellations we get in a year, it always strikes me as a very odd coincidence that more often than not, those that are very intetested not in the general cancellation policy but when they can cancel without incurring any fees while communicating with me are more often than not the ones we hear from at 32, 31 or 30 days out.
One would think that just out of the vagaries of life's little interruptions and distractions, somebody would come along and cancel at 26, 27 or 28 days out but that rarely happens.
We have a multi-tiered policy depending on when the booking is cancelled.
Ours are either pretty far out, right at the different deadlines to minimize fees or last minute emergency types. For those types if under 7 days, we keep the full deposit and send a voucher good for that amount as if it were a gift certificate. Very few of our competitors do so and its our way of empathizing with folks when real life events disrupt vacation plans.
Sometimes the room gets rebooked, sometimes the folks use the voucher and express incredible gratitude for us offering it, sometimes we never hear from folks again. We figure it all comes out in the wash and we sleep better at night knowing we didn't take advantage of someone else's misfortune.
.
Tim_Toad_HLB said:
"I ask this question of every reservation that I have made or plan on making."
Right, hopefully its because you are in the hospitality industry and can relate to what cancellations do to one's calendar and are probably a very considerate person to begin with in regards to wanting to respect other business owner's policies as you would have them respect yours? No, I'm not in hospitality, I try to know as much as I can before making a reservation just as I do when I am making a purchase at a store. I had one b&b say they had 7 day cancellation policy, meaning that I could only cancel my reservation (that I was making about 4 months in advance) 7 days immediately after making it.....I didn't book there.
"It gives me a peace of mind in case something would come up."
Let ask you this. How many times has "something come up" at exactly the number of days out from a stay somewhere so you didn't incur any fees? NONE. The only time I've cancelled a stay at a b&b was during an actual trip. My Father In Law passed away while we were gone so I had to cancel a 3 night stay at one the same day we were to arrive and a 2 night stay at an Inn following. The first said, sorry but he still had to charge me the 1 night stay and the other inn said sorry and not to worry about it. I never asked either to not charge me nor did I question the charge from the first Inn, looking back I wish they would have gave me a voucher to use at another time since we were back in that town the very next year.
I love my vacations and when I book I DO NOT want to cancel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Copperhead

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I run it at checkout because I always hope for cash or a check (spelled no cc fees). There have been several times the guest has asked if they could use a card different from the one they gave with the rez. I tell them I do not care as long as it is VS or MC and valid. If it is a debit card I encourage a check instead.
I swipe the card do all the room number, days etc and get the pre-auth and then I do a checkout. So far no problems. Also there is the gift shop sniffing the last morning - I hope for a lot of interest in it.... Sometimes there is!.
GH - there is nothing different with your method than with POS except the extra steps you are taking to get there. By doing the pre-auth at the same time (back to back) with the check-out is not providing the 'paper trail' (for lack of better term) to verify the stay was of a certain time frame.
Again, the only thing I took away from my discussions with my processor is that the 'chargeback protection' is if you follow those directions to the T. It will not provide any more protection for keyed entry for deposits or if you do not follow the exact procedures by swiping the card at check in, settling the transaction at check out. The reason for this 'extra' protection is the fact that YOU swiped the card, provided the # of nights etc. at check in, then at check out (after the # of nights passed) you complete the transaction (altering total if need be) and have them sign!
There is nothing wrong in your method, and if you are getting a better rate that if you were using POS, I see no reason to change. For me it is just worthless extra steps to get to the same end result for the same fees.
 

DaisyMae

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Unless the guest offers to complete the financial end of things earlier in their stay, we ask on their last morning if they'd like me to use the same card they made the reservation with. Some folks want to pay with cash, or some other card they prefer for miles, etc. so we like the flexibility that affords for folks.
With really long range bookings, those folks are so completely appreciative that they don't have to pay interest on something they aren't "consuming" until six or seven months later, that they end being some of our best repeat guests. They also end up being our least cancelled bookings.
We get virtually no walk-ins, so having a swiper just isn't practical for us.
We use an online processor and run a pre-auth right after getting off the phone or receiving the online request. We have a seperate computer for doing this not in a public area and the service passed its PCI_DSS security with flying colors, so we're pretty comfortable with its security.
The fees are already what our regular research shows are very competitive and the absence of the costs or lease on a swiper and other supplies drives the cost down further.
The pre-auth doesn't count as a charge so there are no fees to us involved and it gives us total peace of mind for the months, weeks, days, whatever, leading up to a guest's arrival.
We usually are satisfied with the pre-auth on its own, but will run the deposit if we caught any funny vibes from the guest on the phone or emails.
Almost nobody wants to send a check for the deposit, so we set up our accounting to run everything on checkout.
A big tipoff for us to do the deposit is if someone asks "What is the last day I can cancel without any fees?"
Those are probably the same type folks who make four different dinner reservations then only honor the one that most appealed to them on the drive to the restaurant.
Most folks when we offer to go over the cancellation policy with them will reply with "Are you kidding, I've been looking forward to this vacation for months and will not be cancelling".
Who do you use for your processing? We don't pay a lease fee or anything for the machine (it was here when we bought the place) but we're always looking for someone with better rates.
I'm very happy that a couple of folks this week paid via check and some with cash. All of them seem to be trying to not run up cc expenses but to live within their means. Heck, I don't care what the reason is, I just like not having to pay the fees!
.
when taking a phone reservation we always say "if possible, we prefer a personal check, however, we do also accept MC or V"
9 1/2 people out of 10 always say "that's fine, i 'll send a check, in fact that works better for me also"
regarding our online system, we have it written in there but obviously don't really have any influence over that, not as much as you potentially could have on the phone.
i know we can't avoid all cc fees but every one we can avoid makes a difference.
 

Samster

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Using the lodging functionality as we do - swiping the card to authorize it a check-in, charging the card at check-out - does NOT preclude adding a gift shop item at checkout if the guest wishes. They say I'd like to buy a mug before I leave, I say that's fine, would you like to pay cash or add that to your room charge, and off we go. You have an opportunity at check-out to change the total and then have the receipt signed for the new amount. If you want to do the hard sell, there is the chance when taking the key at checkout to ask if the guest would like to add any items from the gift shop before you put the charge through.
Moving to a lodging program rather than a POS purchase program saved us a lot of processing fees with our old processor - switching to Tom's company, Payment Transaction Solutions, saved us even more..
We are set up as lodging also but I just run the entire amount at check-in as lodging deposit. I don't use the whole check-in, check-out function. I have to enter the folio number and all of that. Just one transaction.
I almost always run them at check-in. Sometimes with very late arrivals, I'll let it go until the next day. Today, I had a full house of one-night stays (a group) show up simultaneously and they were trying to get somewhere on a deadline. One room arrived later and I ran the card. So, I'll be running the rest of the cards after breakfast.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Unless the guest offers to complete the financial end of things earlier in their stay, we ask on their last morning if they'd like me to use the same card they made the reservation with. Some folks want to pay with cash, or some other card they prefer for miles, etc. so we like the flexibility that affords for folks.
With really long range bookings, those folks are so completely appreciative that they don't have to pay interest on something they aren't "consuming" until six or seven months later, that they end being some of our best repeat guests. They also end up being our least cancelled bookings.
We get virtually no walk-ins, so having a swiper just isn't practical for us.
We use an online processor and run a pre-auth right after getting off the phone or receiving the online request. We have a seperate computer for doing this not in a public area and the service passed its PCI_DSS security with flying colors, so we're pretty comfortable with its security.
The fees are already what our regular research shows are very competitive and the absence of the costs or lease on a swiper and other supplies drives the cost down further.
The pre-auth doesn't count as a charge so there are no fees to us involved and it gives us total peace of mind for the months, weeks, days, whatever, leading up to a guest's arrival.
We usually are satisfied with the pre-auth on its own, but will run the deposit if we caught any funny vibes from the guest on the phone or emails.
Almost nobody wants to send a check for the deposit, so we set up our accounting to run everything on checkout.
A big tipoff for us to do the deposit is if someone asks "What is the last day I can cancel without any fees?"
Those are probably the same type folks who make four different dinner reservations then only honor the one that most appealed to them on the drive to the restaurant.
Most folks when we offer to go over the cancellation policy with them will reply with "Are you kidding, I've been looking forward to this vacation for months and will not be cancelling".
Tim_Toad_HLB said:
A big tipoff for us to do the deposit is if someone asks "What is the last day I can cancel without any fees?"
I ask this question of every reservation that I have made or plan on making. It gives me a peace of mind in case something would come up. I usually will keep a notebook of where we are going on our trip and add this info in it.
.
"I ask this question of every reservation that I have made or plan on making."
Right, hopefully its because you are in the hospitality industry and can relate to what cancellations do to one's calendar and are probably a very considerate person to begin with in regards to wanting to respect other business owner's policies as you would have them respect yours?
"It gives me a peace of mind in case something would come up."
Let ask you this. How many times has "something come up" at exactly the number of days out from a stay somewhere so you didn't incur any fees?
I'm not saying every single person we go over the policy with who asks the question cancels at 31 or 32 days out and never at 28 or 29.
But considering the few cancellations we get in a year, it always strikes me as a very odd coincidence that more often than not, those that are very intetested not in the general cancellation policy but when they can cancel without incurring any fees while communicating with me are more often than not the ones we hear from at 32, 31 or 30 days out.
One would think that just out of the vagaries of life's little interruptions and distractions, somebody would come along and cancel at 26, 27 or 28 days out but that rarely happens.
We have a multi-tiered policy depending on when the booking is cancelled.
Ours are either pretty far out, right at the different deadlines to minimize fees or last minute emergency types. For those types if under 7 days, we keep the full deposit and send a voucher good for that amount as if it were a gift certificate. Very few of our competitors do so and its our way of empathizing with folks when real life events disrupt vacation plans.
Sometimes the room gets rebooked, sometimes the folks use the voucher and express incredible gratitude for us offering it, sometimes we never hear from folks again. We figure it all comes out in the wash and we sleep better at night knowing we didn't take advantage of someone else's misfortune.
.
Tim_Toad_HLB said:
"I ask this question of every reservation that I have made or plan on making."
Right, hopefully its because you are in the hospitality industry and can relate to what cancellations do to one's calendar and are probably a very considerate person to begin with in regards to wanting to respect other business owner's policies as you would have them respect yours? No, I'm not in hospitality, I try to know as much as I can before making a reservation just as I do when I am making a purchase at a store. I had one b&b say they had 7 day cancellation policy, meaning that I could only cancel my reservation (that I was making about 4 months in advance) 7 days immediately after making it.....I didn't book there.
"It gives me a peace of mind in case something would come up."
Let ask you this. How many times has "something come up" at exactly the number of days out from a stay somewhere so you didn't incur any fees? NONE. The only time I've cancelled a stay at a b&b was during an actual trip. My Father In Law passed away while we were gone so I had to cancel a 3 night stay at one the same day we were to arrive and a 2 night stay at an Inn following. The first said, sorry but he still had to charge me the 1 night stay and the other inn said sorry and not to worry about it. I never asked either to not charge me nor did I question the charge from the first Inn, looking back I wish they would have gave me a voucher to use at another time since we were back in that town the very next year.
I love my vacations and when I book I DO NOT want to cancel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
.
" No, I'm not in hospitality,"
You're not in the hospitality industry? You must just come here for the kooky guest stories we all tell. LOL
"I try to know as much as I can before making a reservation just as I do when I am making a purchase at a store."
You could write a book for guests and save all of us lots of grief. LOL LOL
"I had one b&b say they had 7 day cancellation policy, meaning that I could only cancel my reservation (that I was making about 4 months in advance) 7 days immediately after making it.....I didn't book there."
Now that is the first time I've ever heard that one. I've seen where if the B&B didn't receive the deposit within 7 days, they reopened the room, but that's a new one. Maybe worth trying. I can see it now....
"All bookings must be made a minimum of six months in advance and if not cancelled within 7 days of the time of booking, all monies will be forfeited and room will be offered to others."
That would cut the cancellations down to zero real quick.
"The first said, sorry but he still had to charge me the 1 night stay and the other inn said sorry and not to worry about it."

I'd say you got off pretty lightly all the way around on that one. This is an incredibly competitive market I'm in with over 75 B&Bs, probably over 100 hotels and thousands of vacation rental units within a 20 mile radius and most folks are pretty rigid with enforcing the letter of the policies. I guess with an average of 1.2 million visitors a year, you can do that. We're trying to be much more humane than the averge place.
 

aieechihuahua

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I don't take deposits. I charge at check out. I don't use a lodging cc program. I sometimes charge for a cancellation inside my 7 day time period depending on their reason/excuse and my frame of mind at the time. I have never had a chargeback or dispute over a charge.
Someone in the credit card industry told me that if I had a signed confirmation I would never loose in a dispute, so for our busiest time of year - two weeks or so in October during our Balloon Fiesta, I require my guests to sign and return their confirmation to complete the booking. 9 years - so far - so good.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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I love this question, it brings up so much conversation every time!
We are always wanting to do things the best way we can from the innkeepers standpoint and the guest, and this is one topic that is so evenly divided and the reasonings make total sense.

If it is a walk in or call from the road we charge at check in (which is rare), if it is a reservation in advance always at check out when they are fat and happy. This way I am assured they don't walk off with our keys, and it is one of the more personal parts of staying here, the "wish them well" segment of their stay. We interact quite a bit with the guests.
 

egoodell

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We collect at check out. But again, only have two rooms right now. We are with Tom. We don't swipe the card at check in though. I'm wondering if our system would charge less if we did that??
I'll have to check.
Riki
 

JBanczak

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I run it at checkout because I always hope for cash or a check (spelled no cc fees). There have been several times the guest has asked if they could use a card different from the one they gave with the rez. I tell them I do not care as long as it is VS or MC and valid. If it is a debit card I encourage a check instead.
I swipe the card do all the room number, days etc and get the pre-auth and then I do a checkout. So far no problems. Also there is the gift shop sniffing the last morning - I hope for a lot of interest in it.... Sometimes there is!.
GH - there is nothing different with your method than with POS except the extra steps you are taking to get there. By doing the pre-auth at the same time (back to back) with the check-out is not providing the 'paper trail' (for lack of better term) to verify the stay was of a certain time frame.
Again, the only thing I took away from my discussions with my processor is that the 'chargeback protection' is if you follow those directions to the T. It will not provide any more protection for keyed entry for deposits or if you do not follow the exact procedures by swiping the card at check in, settling the transaction at check out. The reason for this 'extra' protection is the fact that YOU swiped the card, provided the # of nights etc. at check in, then at check out (after the # of nights passed) you complete the transaction (altering total if need be) and have them sign!
There is nothing wrong in your method, and if you are getting a better rate that if you were using POS, I see no reason to change. For me it is just worthless extra steps to get to the same end result for the same fees.
.
Copperhead said:
GH - there is nothing different with your method than with POS except the extra steps you are taking to get there. By doing the pre-auth at the same time (back to back) with the check-out is not providing the 'paper trail' (for lack of better term) to verify the stay was of a certain time frame.
Again, the only thing I took away from my discussions with my processor is that the 'chargeback protection' is if you follow those directions to the T. It will not provide any more protection for keyed entry for deposits or if you do not follow the exact procedures by swiping the card at check in, settling the transaction at check out. The reason for this 'extra' protection is the fact that YOU swiped the card, provided the # of nights etc. at check in, then at check out (after the # of nights passed) you complete the transaction (altering total if need be) and have them sign!
There is nothing wrong in your method, and if you are getting a better rate that if you were using POS, I see no reason to change. For me it is just worthless extra steps to get to the same end result for the same fees.
You are exactly right - the key to the best rate is swiping the card - period. Whether you have a retail pos or lodging should not matter at all - swiped transactions are "card present" and should result in similar rates. The check-in/out data is another story, and although it may or may not save you from a chargeback, there is no doubt it provides some additional protection - it is very hard for a consumer to debate it.
 

The Farmers Daughter

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We also do a pre auth when the reservation is made. We have discovered that a pre- auth is only good for up to 30 days max. This requires us to run re-auths every 30 days to keep them valid. This is generally not a problem with credit cards (unless they are close to maxed out) because it approves against the customers available credit line. Debit cards are a problem since there is no credit line associated with them. They only have what the customer has in their bank account. Pre-auths on Debit cards have been problematic for us as they hold the $ to make it inaccessible to the customer. Many find this extremely inconvenient. I prefer to not take debit cards for reservations for this reason. They can use them for payment, however.
 

Morticia

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We also do a pre auth when the reservation is made. We have discovered that a pre- auth is only good for up to 30 days max. This requires us to run re-auths every 30 days to keep them valid. This is generally not a problem with credit cards (unless they are close to maxed out) because it approves against the customers available credit line. Debit cards are a problem since there is no credit line associated with them. They only have what the customer has in their bank account. Pre-auths on Debit cards have been problematic for us as they hold the $ to make it inaccessible to the customer. Many find this extremely inconvenient. I prefer to not take debit cards for reservations for this reason. They can use them for payment, however..
How do you do a pre auth? What does it mean?
 

EmptyNest

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We always took full payment up front. That way is was done and over with and we didn't have to worry at check out. No one complained ever. I know others do it differently...it is whatever works best for you in your situation.
Of course there was the occasional exception...check ins at midnight...or repeat guests who we knew would be paying when they left or we could just charge them.
 

JBloggs

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We always took full payment up front. That way is was done and over with and we didn't have to worry at check out. No one complained ever. I know others do it differently...it is whatever works best for you in your situation.
Of course there was the occasional exception...check ins at midnight...or repeat guests who we knew would be paying when they left or we could just charge them..
catlady said:
We always took full payment up front. That way is was done and over with and we didn't have to worry at check out. No one complained ever. I know others do it differently...it is whatever works best for you in your situation.
Of course there was the occasional exception...check ins at midnight...or repeat guests who we knew would be paying when they left or we could just charge them.
I am the opposite, a midnight check in I run it immediately and leave the statement in their room. Otherwise it is at check out. It all works! Really, either way it works just fine.
 

Copperhead

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We also do a pre auth when the reservation is made. We have discovered that a pre- auth is only good for up to 30 days max. This requires us to run re-auths every 30 days to keep them valid. This is generally not a problem with credit cards (unless they are close to maxed out) because it approves against the customers available credit line. Debit cards are a problem since there is no credit line associated with them. They only have what the customer has in their bank account. Pre-auths on Debit cards have been problematic for us as they hold the $ to make it inaccessible to the customer. Many find this extremely inconvenient. I prefer to not take debit cards for reservations for this reason. They can use them for payment, however..
How do you do a pre auth? What does it mean?
.
Bree said:
How do you do a pre auth? What does it mean?
This is when you scan the card (or key enter for deposits) and get an approved autorization # for the amount you request. Then that amount of $ is held in limbo, untouchable by the card holder until it is either released or the transaction is processed.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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We also do a pre auth when the reservation is made. We have discovered that a pre- auth is only good for up to 30 days max. This requires us to run re-auths every 30 days to keep them valid. This is generally not a problem with credit cards (unless they are close to maxed out) because it approves against the customers available credit line. Debit cards are a problem since there is no credit line associated with them. They only have what the customer has in their bank account. Pre-auths on Debit cards have been problematic for us as they hold the $ to make it inaccessible to the customer. Many find this extremely inconvenient. I prefer to not take debit cards for reservations for this reason. They can use them for payment, however..
"We also do a pre auth when the reservation is made. We have discovered that a pre- auth is only good for up to 30 days max. This requires us to run re-auths every 30 days to keep them valid. This is generally not a problem with credit cards (unless they are close to maxed out) because it approves against the customers available credit line. Debit cards are a problem since there is no credit line associated with them. They only have what the customer has in their bank account. Pre-auths on Debit cards have been problematic for us as they hold the $ to make it inaccessible to the customer. Many find this extremely inconvenient. I prefer to not take debit cards for reservations for this reason. They can use them for payment, however."
I completely understand the slight risk involved in how we do it, but we've got our track record to guide us. Thousands of successful, transactions and one chargeback by a lawyer who cancelled a one night stay and pitched a fit with the processor over losing the deposit we've lost.
What we're really trying to be about at our place, is to not be overly suspicious of people's motives, plant seeds of distrust by projecting doubts about a guest's financial motives or methods and not appear too mercenary about the money end of things. 99.99% of guests give all of us the proper credentials, CC info, etc.. and we trust them to correct any problems when they get here.
With the level of indentity theft out there and how many people switch bank accounts, credit cards, etc. to get better rates, a booking made in January for August stands a good chance of having the guest want ot use a different card once here anyway. All for innocent enough reasons.
We've had many a guest call months before their stay and explain any or all of those events happening to them but wanting to make sure we knew the correct information. I guess they go in the verygood guest pile.
 

Morticia

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We also do a pre auth when the reservation is made. We have discovered that a pre- auth is only good for up to 30 days max. This requires us to run re-auths every 30 days to keep them valid. This is generally not a problem with credit cards (unless they are close to maxed out) because it approves against the customers available credit line. Debit cards are a problem since there is no credit line associated with them. They only have what the customer has in their bank account. Pre-auths on Debit cards have been problematic for us as they hold the $ to make it inaccessible to the customer. Many find this extremely inconvenient. I prefer to not take debit cards for reservations for this reason. They can use them for payment, however..
How do you do a pre auth? What does it mean?
.
Bree said:
How do you do a pre auth? What does it mean?
This is when you scan the card (or key enter for deposits) and get an approved autorization # for the amount you request. Then that amount of $ is held in limbo, untouchable by the card holder until it is either released or the transaction is processed.
.
Copperhead said:
Bree said:
How do you do a pre auth? What does it mean?
This is when you scan the card (or key enter for deposits) and get an approved autorization # for the amount you request. Then that amount of $ is held in limbo, untouchable by the card holder until it is either released or the transaction is processed.
That's what I thought. In this state there is a limit of one hour for holds of that kind.
So don't ask me how hotels do this and hold the auth for 5 days or more until you check-out. Or how car rentals hold well over the total car rental amount. I'll have to pick up the brochure at the tourist info next time I'm there. Maybe it only applies to restaurants.
 

Samster

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We always took full payment up front. That way is was done and over with and we didn't have to worry at check out. No one complained ever. I know others do it differently...it is whatever works best for you in your situation.
Of course there was the occasional exception...check ins at midnight...or repeat guests who we knew would be paying when they left or we could just charge them..
I like how someone said it was easier to charge strangers.
By the time I get to know folks after a 3 or 4 night stay and they feel like family, it would be harder to charge them. Maybe why I like running their card at check-in. When I had to run all these cards the other day as all my guests were leaving to make a tour right after breakfast, I felt a little frazzled.
 
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