Credit card requirement when checking into a hotel

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Mar 11, 2019
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#1
We have just returned from Chile where we used our credit card to check into our hotel in Santiago. It was the only place we used it and didn't charge anything. Of course 5 days later while we were on a cruise someone hacked our card and charged over $1500. Is there a way to NOT give our credit card information to a hotel at check in? Our friends stayed at another hotel in Santiago at the same time and had the same thing happen to them. We have had our numbers stolen at a 5 star hotel in Guatemala. Every time this happens it is a card we only used once to check in so we know that the hotel is the only place where the card was stolen.
It is very stressful to be traveling and have to take care of fraudulent charges.
If we gave the hotel money to check in instead of a credit card is that safe?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,768
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
Unfortunately you always have to put up a credit card in case there are damages at the hotel or you stay beyond your original date. You can pay the bill in cash but you still have to have a credit card to check in.

This is also also why you should never use a debit card for hotels or car rentals. Someone could clean out your savings in minutes.
 
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weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,317
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Maui Hawaii
#3
We have just returned from Chile where we used our credit card to check into our hotel in Santiago. It was the only place we used it and didn't charge anything. Of course 5 days later while we were on a cruise someone hacked our card and charged over $1500. Is there a way to NOT give our credit card information to a hotel at check in? Our friends stayed at another hotel in Santiago at the same time and had the same thing happen to them. We have had our numbers stolen at a 5 star hotel in Guatemala. Every time this happens it is a card we only used once to check in so we know that the hotel is the only place where the card was stolen.
It is very stressful to be traveling and have to take care of fraudulent charges.
If we gave the hotel money to check in instead of a credit card is that safe?
One thing you can do to help, but not prevent such problems, is to get a credit card with a low credit limit (maybe $500) to use only in such a situation. That way the hackers have access to a very small credit limit, not the typical larger limits on your usual credit cards. You will still need to be vigilant but can worry less, and sleep better. Credit card hacking is universal. We had ours hacked at a museum in Denver last year.

As Neil said, you will need a credit card to check in to a hotel virtually anywhere.
 
Feb 3, 2017
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#4
I am signed up for all alerts with my credit card companies and banks - any time my card(s) are used when I am not present in person, I receive an immediate notification of it and can deal with a fraudulent action.

When traveling, every day I check my accounts for any cards I am using - only takes a few minutes and this is together with receiving the alerts.

There really is no way to travel these days and not wind up having to use a credit card for something - hotel, car rental, whatever.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
I agree with Weihlac — one thing to do is sign up for a credit card and ask for a low limit — it will not prevent theft but will limit the damage. Sorry this happened to you.
 
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AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#6
Most other countries other than the US can accept credit cards with PINs. See if your card company will issue you one that requires a PIN.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
#7
Karen, I think you are on the leading edge of an idea ... with the constant fraud and scams growing every day, we should have some way to protect our personal information from travel providers. There should be some mechanism to ensure that the hotel/tour operator gets paid but does not put all the credit card details "out there". I wonder how long it will take for some enterprising genius to come up with a workable plan.