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Accommodation deposit questions

West Coast NZ
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183 posts
3 reviews
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Accommodation deposit questions

1. How do people usually pay (from overseas) when a deposit is required for accommodation booked?

2. If by credit card, is it usual for the accommodation owner to add a percentage (eg 4%) on to the deposit amount?

3. What is the bank fee in Scotland for a credit card transaction (eg for the accommodation owner)?

I am starting to book for our trip in May but finding paying the deposits is a nightmare I hadn't anticipated! Some places (as in Q1) charge a bank fee at their end and my bank charges a fee also for the credit card transaction. Some places provide only their bank details for a money transfer but I have found that will cost me NZ$25 for one transaction! Realise am asking this at ' point of sale' end but am sure lots of overseas people as well as locals use this wonderful forum. As Kiwi's looking forward to our overseas trip perhaps we will just have to take whatever is on offer for lodgings on the day as the fees seem to defeat the purpose of finding (and booking) affordable but nice accommodation.

Looking forward to any comments / suggestions / thoughts on this.

Crathie
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848 posts
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1. Re: Accommodation deposit questions

I was pretty much forced to use a credit card system for taking bookings when I ran a B&B. It was the only way to ensure that prospective guests would turn up. Otherwise without a CC system some people either cancelled at the last moment on the flimsiest of excuses, or did not turn up at all. I know there were people who had good reasons not to honour their bookings, but there were plenty who did not and I was then left high and dry with vacant rooms and no means to fill them and thus recoup my losses. Frustrating when you have turned away other business on the strength of bookings already accepted.

I would ask for CC details, but only use them if the prospective guest cancelled and I had a sliding scale of charges to apply according to the amount of notice given when cancelling. I daresay some people were put off by my system, but it did help to protect my livelihood. People could pay by cash if they chose to, but yes I passed on the bank charge to the customer if they paid by card. I did not like doing this, but I had to pay for the machine and line rental and I know bigger businesses than mine passed on charges to customers in a similar way. However I made everything clear beforehand to prospective guests and the choice was theirs to make.

You say you are travelling in May and perhaps with some forward planning and e-mail enquiries you could ascertain if there are any events in the areas you wish to stay which might affect the accommodation on offer to you. Then you might not need to book ahead and could just take what is available on the day.

Local Tourist Information Centres could be helpful in this respect

www.britainexpress.com/TIC/scotland.htm

Also, if you itinerary allows perhaps you might like to consider multiple night bookings. Some accommodation providers offer deals and this could help offset any charges incurred for deposits in advance.

Hope this helps.

Edited: 25 February 2012, 23:37
Manchester, United...
Destination Expert
for The Hebrides
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65 reviews
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2. Re: Accommodation deposit questions

We have a holiday cottage in Scotland and we often let it to visitors from overseas. We ask for a deposit on booking, and the balance to be paid six weeks before the visit. We advise our guests to use electronic bank transfer - known as BACS here in the UK. We don't make any surcharge for this, as it doesn't cost us anything, but the sender's bank will normally do so.

Bingley, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
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32,328 posts
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3. Re: Accommodation deposit questions

2) yes, because the B&B have to pay the CC company for being able to accept CCs

3) 4% is not unknown - doubt if the B&B is trying to rip you off.

alyth, scotland
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658 posts
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4. Re: Accommodation deposit questions

We started asking for deposits after having bookings cancelled at the very last minute. But usually we ask for a CC number/details and only charge the card if we are not given notice of a cancellation - 1 week prior to arrival.

However, we do not charge a CC fee on top of our room rate. Having a CC facility is in our opinion part of being a business and having negotiated very hard on CC terminal rental & CC charges feel a 4% charge is quite excessive.

A reason we don't use the likes of Ryan air/easyjet are their charges for Credit/Debit card use.

I suggest you look for nice places which will take your CC details for security over the phone, but give you a choice of payment (cash or CC) once you check out. They do exist.

Virginia
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915 posts
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5. Re: Accommodation deposit questions

I've only booked a couple of trips to Scotland, but when I've booked lodging, I've provided my credit card number for security, as tom suggests, but nothing was charged in advance. None of the guesthouses or B&Bs added any credit card fee. I have booked a B&B in Dornoch for June which doesn't take credit cards at all, so we'll expect to pay in cash. They haven't asked for any deposit at all. The bank which has our credit card account (Capital One in the USA) does not charge any transaction fees for out-of-country use, and the exchange rate seems to be consistently fair. I don't know if similar accounts are available in New Zealand, but it could be worth it to open a new credit card account to save transaction fees.

Dunfermline, United...
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6. Re: Accommodation deposit questions

We have been told by our CC processing bank that passing the transaction fee onto the customer is a violation of their agreement with merchants. They will revoke the merchant account if it is reported that merchants are adding this fee to the customer.

Edinburgh
Destination Expert
for St Andrews
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1,753 posts
30 reviews
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7. Re: Accommodation deposit questions

It is not currently against any laws to pass on processing charges - there was a Telegraph article on this in December. Different providers may have different agreements. Otherwise how come many of the larger companies in travel, and the airlines can still do it? Their banks don't seem to have a problem with processing their payments, and they don't reflect the genuine costs.

8. Re: Accommodation deposit questions

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