It seems the world revolves around the use of credit cards, especially when traveling. From booking tours to hotel rooms, most businesses expect their guests to pay by credit card. Although that is the most convenient and safe way to book a hotel or pay for a tour while on vacation, that isn’t the only way.
Booking a hotel room without a credit card can sometimes be challenging, but still possible. You can reserve a hotel room without a credit card by using a booking website, using a travel agent, using a prepaid card, staying in a hotel that accepts cash, using a visa debit card, or choosing a boutique hotel.
Ready to book your next vacation? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about booking a hotel room without a credit card.
6 Ways Book A Hotel Room Without A Credit Card
1. Use an OTA (Online Travel Agency)
Using ‘reserve now and pay later’ feature
Booking a hotel room with a booking website is one is the easiest ways to secure a hotel room, even if you aren’t using a credit card. Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, and Expedia have an option that allows users to reserve now and pay later.
Keep in mind that some hotels might not let you pay in cash or with debit upon check-in, so it is best to give the hotel a call to double-check. There may not be any hotels that accept other payment methods in the neighborhood of your choice, so staying flexible with your travel plans and itinerary is key.
In order to pay for your room, you still need to enter your credit card details to complete the booking. Your card will not be charged, and by selecting “Pay at the property,” you can use a debit card or cash to pay for your room when you check in.
Using Paypal or Google Pay
To avoid using your credit card entirely, you can set up a PayPal or Google Pay account and link it to your debit card. When you use a booking site, like Booking.com, select the “Pay now” option and choose PayPal or Google Pay instead of entering your card details.
If you’re new to booking with an OTA, our article on direct booking vs. OTA’s will help you decide which method is right for you.
2. Book Through a Travel Agent
In a world where booking anything travel related is as easy as clicking a button, it’s surprising to know that more than ¼ of all travelers today still use traditional travel agents. Booking your hotel room through a travel agent is a great way to reserve a hotel room without using a credit card.
You can find travel agents by searching the web for “travel agents near me.” Alternatively, there are usually travel agents working in a storefront, like Flight Center, in the downtown core of many major cities. Avoid using your credit card by booking through them and paying with a debit card or cash.
You also get many other benefits when booking through a travel agent. Some agencies allow you to pay in installments, making paying for a holiday or multiple-night stays a little easier on the wallet. If you have any questions, it’s very easy to call the travel agency or visit in person and ask any questions you may have.
Travel agencies have years of industry knowledge and can get you the best deals on hotels and much more. They also know the best place to stay and can help you choose the perfect hotel.
3. Book With a Prepaid Card
Prepaid credit cards work the same as regular credit cards. They can be used for almost anything, including booking hotel rooms. Use the prepaid card as a standard credit card to make your booking online or over the phone.
The amount will be “held” on your card, making it unavailable for other purchases. Upon checkout, the hold amount will be removed, and the card will be charged the amount owed for the room.
4. Hotels That Accept Cash
Believe it or not, some hotel chains still accept cash payments, even though this payment method has fallen out of fashion after the internet boom. Some locations of major US chains will accept cash as a form of payment. It is best to call the hotel and double-check with the manager that they are accepting cash.
Keep in mind they will still likely ask you to use a credit card to reserve the room, but you can request for them not to charge your card or use a prepaid card.
Some hotels that still accept cash are:
- Motel 6
- IHG Hotels & Resorts
5. Use A Visa Debit Card
Sometimes banks can issue you a Visa debit card as a different payment option. A Visa debit card is a type of card that deducts money for various purchases from your account and works similarly to a cheque. Some OTA’s may have the option for you to pay using this method when paying for your hotel room.
6. Choose A Boutique Hotel
Larger hotels may not allow you to book a room without a credit card, but smaller, locally-owned hotels and inns might allow you. It’s always best to call the hotel and ask to speak to a manager rather than trying to book a room online. Speaking to them directly gives you the best chance of being able to book a room.
Tips For Booking A Hotel Room Without A Credit Card
1. Prepare Multiple Methods Of Payment
Some hotels may ask for a credit card to hold a security deposit on the room. Normally the security deposit amount is held on the card and returned after checkout. If you don’t want to use a credit card, be sure to have a debit card or the exact security deposit amount in cash.
2. Ask For A Courtesy Hold
Some hotels allow you to book a room without using cards. This is called a courtesy hold. A courtesy hold is when the hotel waives the requirement to pay a deposit when you book a room. The hotel will keep the room available for you until the day you arrive.
3. Always Call To Check
When in doubt, always call the hotel where you want to make a booking and speak to a manager to ask any questions regarding booking, checking in, or paying for a security deposit without a credit card. This will help avoid any unwanted hiccups.
4. Be Prepared For A Cancelation
Although uncommon, it is possible for hotels to cancel your reservation after it is made. The last thing any traveler wants to deal with is a surprise cancelation. Learn what you can do if your hotel cancels your reservation.
Problems You May Encounter When Booking Without A Credit Card
1. Hotels Might Say No
When trying to book a hotel room without a credit card, there is a good chance many hotels will reject your booking request. When a hotel accepts a reservation that is paid with a credit card, there is a safety net between the hotel and the guest that can be quickly dealt with in the event something goes wrong. When no credit card is involved, it is a big risk to the hotel, and for that reason, they might not accept your booking.
2. Difficulties Booking
Booking without a credit card online may involve many hoops to jump through and might be a difficult and frustrating process overall. This is because paying without a credit card is an uncommon way to book a hotel, so extra security measures are in place, especially online.
3. Miscommunication With The Hotel
If you are able to make a booking, not using a credit card with a hotel, there is still a chance there will be a miscommunication with staff and management. Paying without a credit card is uncommon, so staff may need to find out if the hotel allows this payment method. Be prepared to explain the situation to various staff members. Keep a paper trail of who you spoke to regarding your stay.
Why Is Booking A Hotel Room Without A Credit Card Difficult?
Booking with a credit card is by far the most convenient and safest way to pay for a hotel room. However, it is changing with the rise of digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal.
Booking a hotel room without a credit card is difficult because hotels prefer their guests to book and pay with credit. Their websites are designed to be convenient for credit card users to book hotel rooms and don’t cater to guests who prefer cash, debit, or other methods.
Why Do Hotels Want You To Use A Credit Card?
Hotels want guests to use a credit card because it is the safest and easiest payment method for both the hotel and the guest. Credit cards can be used online or over the phone to book any room at any time.
To Avoid No-Shows
Hotels prefer credit card payment to hold guests accountable for showing up for their booking. When guests don’t show up, the hotel room sits empty, which is a loss for the hotel if they don’t manage to fill the room for that night.
A Safer Security Deposit
Hotels can place a temporary amount on hold with a guest’s credit card, which will be automatically returned to them at check out. It’s mutually beneficial as it’s also relatively easy for guests to dispute unfair charges on their cards with the bank and have the money returned easily to them.
It’s important to note that debit cards also allow temporary holds on the cards, but this is inconvenient for the cardholder. In order to use this method, there has to be enough money in the account for the hotel to hold, and the user can only spend that money once the amount is taken off hold.
Protect Against Damages
Hotels also keep a credit card on file during your stay, which they can charge in case the room is returned damaged. Some damages a hotel may charge you for include:
- Smoke damage
- Broken furniture
- Stolen items
Charge Guests For Services
Having a credit card is handy for both the hotel and guests when it comes to paying for extra services the guests may use when staying at the hotel. Extra services can include:
- Room service
- Mini bar use
- Pay-per-view movies
Are digital wallets safe and easy to use?
Digital wallets are becoming more accessible and easier to use. All smartphones (Android or Apple) come with the option to set up a digital wallet when you are setting up your smartphone. You can connect it to a debit or credit card and conveniently pay for items online.
Will I need to show a credit card during check-in?
Depending on which hotel you booked, you might not need a credit card during the check-in process. You should be able to pay for your room with a debit card and cash, even if you booked the room online with a credit card. Call your hotel and speak to a manager to confirm before booking.
Can I book an international hotel without a credit card?
Booking an international hotel without a credit card can be difficult. Depending on what country you are traveling to, they might have stricter policies on bookings regarding credit cards. It is likely you will need a credit card to book the room when traveling internationally, but you might be able to pay for that room with cash or debit when you arrive.
Is it better to pay for a hotel room online or in person?
Paying for a hotel room in person when you arrive is better. Now that websites allow guests to book a room now (for free or a small fee) and pay when they arrive, it allows them flexibility with their travel plans. When choosing this option, you can feel free to cancel your hotel room and switch plans if necessary.
Now that you know how to book a room without a credit card, here’s how to get the best deal when booking a hotel room.