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How to Use a Debit Card at Hotels

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Before settling in, check the details of your debit card hotel transaction. (Photo: cozy bedroom image by Nadezda Pyastolova from )

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Items you will need

  • Extra funds for incidental holds Bank account statement

Step 1

Find out if the hotel accepts debit cards in the first place. Some hotels no longer take debit cards due to customer dissatisfaction with fund holds, but many do.

Step 2

Call the hotel and find out the debit card policy before reserving a room. Some hotels place a monetary hold for incidentals like the mini-bar, movies and room service. This hold can be anywhere from $50 a night to over $100 at some luxury hotels, and will be assessed even if the room has been prepaid. If this happens, a $300 three-night hotel stay could become a $450 visit in an instant, with the extra $150 tied up until the bank or hotel releases the charge. Avoid this by asking about incidental charges in a clear, direct fashion.

Step 3

Keep some cash if using your debit card for hotel charges. In the event that the hotel slips a

hold onto your account, you'll still be able to buy meals and enjoy the trip until the money is released. Having cash on hand ensures that your trip is low on surprises. and is also a good buffer against potential theft.

If you have a joint card, notify the other user(s) that you'll be using the debit card for travel. Call any other users and tell them the precise amount of cash paid to the hotel, as well as the expected day of fund release for any hold assessed--especially if this amount will deplete the account, or leave little money in it. Joint account holders often find out the hard way that a mate has used the debit card while traveling and may get transactions declined without warning.

Scrutinize all receipts during checkout and check your bank statement once the trip is over. Transaction errors are a bit more keenly felt in a checking account than on a charge card, so an accidental overcharge can be a disaster and potentially lead to overdraft charges, bounced checks or insufficient-funds charges. If there's an error, it could take awhile to resolve. Read your receipts thoroughly both before you leave and after your stay.

Category: Bank

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