How does Online Payments work?
Booking.com can facilitate guest payments on behalf of properties. We do this by offering a wide variety of alternative payment methods that guests can choose from. Partners are then paid by virtual credit card, according to their booking policies.
Online Payments supports a range of alternative payment methods, including PayPal, Alipay and WeChat Pay, meaning that properties can be booked by guests who don’t have a credit card or simply prefer another method of payment.
Note: This payment service is not yet available everywhere. The list of eligible properties is available in the Provider Portal, under the Online Payments opportunity.
What is a virtual credit card and how does it work?
Virtual credit cards (VCCs) are digital MasterCards that allow for easy and secure online payments. For every booking a property receives, we’ll send a new virtual card. Each VCC can only be used once (one card per booking). Each VCC has a unique card number, expiration date and CVC, which are never reused. It also has an activation date, which is determined by the property’s booking policy.
How are my properties informed if a guest has paid online?
Assuming you’re a PCI-compliant provider and you can manage payment card information via XML, properties can find the information via your system. The following information will appear for reservations made using Online Payments:
|Field||Paid online reservation information|
|Cardholder name||Booking.com agent|
|CC type||MasterCard (virtual credit card)|
|Payments type||Payment via Booking.com|
|Payout type||Booking virtual card|
You’ve received a virtual credit card for this reservation. You may charge it as of yyyy-mm-dd
Properties can also identify bookings made through Online Payments by looking at the confirmation email. These bookings include ‘paid online’ in the subject line of the email. Failing that, properties can look up the reservation in the Booking.com extranet. ‘Paid online’ will appear under the ‘Status’ column on the ‘Reservations’ page.
Important: When charging the VCC issued by Booking.com, please note that the cardholder name will always be ‘Booking.com (Agent)’. As this is only a facilitation of the guest’s payment, properties will need to issue an invoice directly to the guest.
How can my property charge a virtual credit card?
Charging a virtual credit card is just like charging any other credit card. The property needs to use the card information included with the booking details. That’s why it’s important that your properties receive all the relevant information for each payment.
If you’re a PCI-compliant provider and you manage credit card information via XML messages, the virtual credit card details will be sent via XML too. Information that your properties will need include: the card number, cardholder, activation date and available balance.
Important: Properties need to apply the appropriate setting to receive CVC codes.
Alternatively, properties can search for the reservation in the extranet to find all the payment details.
When can a virtual credit card be charged?
For non-refundable reservations, the virtual credit card can be charged as soon as the property receives it. For example, if a guest books a room with a non-refundable policy, the virtual credit card can be charged starting from the day the reservation was made.
For bookings made with flexible policies, the activation date will be the day when the free cancellation period ends. For example, if a guest books a room with a semi-flexible policy – such as ‘free cancellation 2 days before the check-in date’ – the virtual credit card can be charged starting from 2 days before check-in.
For fully flexible policy – ‘free cancellation on the check-in day’, virtual credit card can be charged starting the guest’s check-in date.
The virtual credit card details can be viewed multiple times for up to 2 months after the guest checks out. However, the card can be charged for up to 6 months after the check-out date.
The funds in virtual credit cards are guaranteed. This means that we will pay properties out according to their cancellation policy, when guests pay through Booking.com. It also means that properties never need to pre-authorise the virtual credit card! They will not have to deal with invalid credit cards, insufficient funds and/or fraud.
Activation date of virtual credit card
To help your properties take payment more easily, we’ve added a new element to the Reservations API: activation date for virtual credit cards. Until now, the activation date has been only mentioned in <remarks> section in our Reservations API. It was not clear enough and as a result, some properties were charging cards before they were activated -causing authorisation failures.
Now that the API includes the activation date as a separate, additional element, it should be clearer to properties when they can charge their guests’ virtual credit cards.
To implement this feature, go to the Feature Management tab in the Provider Portal. Look for the ‘Reservation virtual credit card activation’ feature and toggle the button to ‘ON’. For more information about the new feature, take a look at the API documentation.