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I reserved a hotel for my vacation. They sent me a mail with this information:

We would require a deposit to hold this room. If you wish to go ahead with this booking please call us with your card details.

What card details do they need? How would they be able to take a deposit if I do not reveal my PIN code? Is it safe to give them my card details?

I would be much happier to pay the deposit myself. Would it be rude to tell them so?

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closed as off-topic by Flimzy, Gilles, Vince, Karlson, Geeo Apr 14 '14 at 20:52

  • This question does not appear to be about traveling within the scope defined in the help center.
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what do you mean by "pay the deposit myself"? – Kate Gregory Apr 12 '14 at 16:41
How would they be able to take a deposit if I do not reveal them my pin code? The same way that you can pay for goods online by giving your card details but not the PIN. – starsplusplus Apr 12 '14 at 16:45
This is off-topic as it's asking about making payments online. "Paying a deposit on a hotel" could be replaced by "buying some groceries" or "ordering a book from Amazon" and it would still be fundamentally the same question. I suggest you try Personal Finance & Money stack exchange as I think it would be a better fit there. – starsplusplus Apr 12 '14 at 17:15
Your credit card PIN is not the same thing as your Card Security Number (aka CSC, CVN, CVV, CVV2, CVC, CVC2, CCV, SPC..) wot is printed right on the card and available to anyone in a card-present transaction. – Spehro Pefhany Apr 12 '14 at 17:36
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about making online payments, and isn't fundamentally related to travel. – Flimzy Apr 13 '14 at 17:08

No, it is not safe but is common practice because most people have no other way to pay the deposit. The hotel wants to make sure it gets paid for at least the first night which is why they are asking for a deposit. Otherwise, some hotels overbook instead, just like airlines, expecting a certain number of cancellations. That they want a deposit is good news because your room is usually guarantied.

Hotels generally ask for a credit-card number and expiration which they want to use in case you do not show up at the date of your reservation. There is a time cut-off when they usually do this (Say 8 PM for example). So, if your flight is late, you want to let them know, to avoid the case where they charge your card and then book the room to someone else.

The reason this is not secure is that hotel usually write your information down somewhere, sometimes on paper in their system and both can leak your information. It may be used fraudulently just like any of time your credit-card information is leaked. There is some amount of protection from your card company but that varies between cards and jurisdiction.

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Note that hotels are actually not allowed to charge you anything and also give your room to someone else - if you show up late you can at the very least get your money back. – Michael Borgwardt Apr 13 '14 at 18:24
One would expect so but whether they are allowed depends on the jurisdiction. One time I arrived late and the room was paid for and they had given the room away thinking I was not showing. They did apologize, booked me in a less convenient hotel and gave me a free meal at a neighboring restaurant. They even offered to pay the taxi to the other hotel but I had a car, so was not possible. – Itai Apr 13 '14 at 18:27
@MichaelBorgwardt that's not true. It all depends on the contract terms for booking the room. If those state that if you don't show they charge you XXX that's what they can charge. The hotel spends money to hold that room for you, so it only stands to reason they're going to recover that money if you fail to show up. If they didn't, nothing would stop some unscrupulous person from booking a hundred rooms in every hotel in town and never showing, just to cause trouble... – jwenting Apr 14 '14 at 10:16
@jwenting: No. The point is: if you don't show up and they give your room to someone else, they did not in fact "hold that room for you"; they lost nothing and thus have no grounds to charge you. A contract that states they'll charge you anyway is not enforceable, at least here in Germany. – Michael Borgwardt Apr 14 '14 at 10:38
@MichaelBorgwardt they lose money in that they run the very real risk of the room not being used that night, and most likely having to now sell it at below market prices to make anything at all. – jwenting Apr 14 '14 at 11:39

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