Travelers' Tip: Caution When Using Debit Card for Payment

November 28, 2011

Lake Erie Shores & Islands would like to caution all travelers against using debit cards as a payment guarantee when checking into a lodging property or renting a vehicle. While debit cards are an ideal payment option at check-out, they can cause unnecessary stress and potential money restrictions when used at check-in.

Here’s how it works: when a debit card is used at check-in, an authorization is automatically run on the card for the potential total cost of the stay or rental. Even though the money is not withdrawn from your account at the time, a temporary “hold” or “lock” is put on that sum of money in your account. Regardless if you pay cash, check, credit or debit card at check-out, that sum of money remains “on hold” for several days; and, depending on your banking institution, can remain “on hold” for up to a week. It’s important to stress that even if you pay with your debit card at check-out, that initial sum of money could ultimately still be “on hold” in your account, limiting the funds available for your use.

So, unless your debit account is overly sufficient in funds, we suggest using a credit card to guarantee payment at check-in and then using the debit card, or any other method of payment, at check-out, to avoid receiving an “insufficient funds available” notice during any other debit transaction and spoiling your visit.

Tagged: debt card, vehicle rental, Travel, tips, lodging