Room reservations

I would like to extend my stay in Europe in the hotel the RS uses for our tour. They offered me a reservation. However, they want me to email all of my credit card information. I keep hearing that this exposes me to fraud. They provide me with their telephone number. However, I've not been too successful employing this method. Is the hotel I contacted employing a standard technique for payment?

Posted by Roy
East Alabama
1062 posts

That is SOP for a lot of smaller places. I assume the hotel does not have a website with a secure link for your booking. So, break the card information into two email transmissions: 1. First 10 digits of the number and expiration date, plus Visa, MC or AmEx. 2. Last five digits, plus security code and your name as it appears on your card. I have done this several times without a problem and have not heard from anyone who did have their information stolen while using this method. Edit 04/04/13: I don't claim that this is an original idea. I got it either from something Rick Steves wrote or on this forum.

Posted by James E.
4473 posts

better yet is a fax. if they don't have a fax machine or a booking site they are an exception to the norm and you might ask yourself, Why?

Posted by gone
2081 posts

hi, this happened to me two times last year. So far, i only had one ask this year. If you have a direct number, i would call if you dont feel comfortable doing other. you can always look at the hotels web site and verify the number. happy trails.

Posted by Betty
Missouri City
241 posts

I have booked at least 30 hotel rooms in Europe via email and have never had a problem giving my credit card number. I've had more problems using my credit card locally than I've ever had in Europe.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
13875 posts

So, the same question twice three times, and two many different answers. The shotgun approach may or may not hit more targets, but sure makes it difficult for the helping helpers here to work with each other.

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2395 posts

I'd never give my credit card info by email. It is a recipe for card cloning, misuse etc. It only takes one relapse person in the chain of people with access to the hotel computer to do you a lot of damage, or even a sleepy IT management that doesn't care much about virus/trojans on THEIR computer. It's 2013, there are plenty of solutions for small business to use website-based interfaces provided by Visa, MAstercard and other operators where you fill your data within a safe https site and more secure protocols. If a business doesn't bother to provide me the safety of an official encrypted form for financial data, it is not worth my spending money and I'll just look elsewhere, hopefully helping making it adapt or die in the long term. That is just me. I don't accept any excuse for a business based in Europe dealing with tourists requesting credit card data by any means other than a secure website.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7732 posts

"...It's 2013, there are plenty of solutions for small business to use website-based interfaces provided by Visa, MAstercard and other operators where you fill your data within a safe https site and more secure protocols..." Https only "protects" the transmission of the CC numbers. After it reaches it's destination the data it sitting on a hard drive or server ready for the picking from any determined hacker; happens everyday. If anything a small hotel using email could be less of a target. Big companies with sophisticated, 21st century equipment get hacked all the time.

Posted by Roy
East Alabama
1062 posts

I agree with Michael on this. We can try to be prudent, but there is only so much any of us can do to protect ourselves from theft of credit card information. However, hotels present no greater risk than any other business, either local or anywhere in the world. Every time we use a credit or debit card for a transaction, we have to trust the business to protect our information. At least with a credit card, the potential financial loss is limited.

Posted by Susan
Columbus, USA
145 posts

If you do decide to email the information, make sure you delete the email that goes into your sent items folder. I sent some credit card information to a hotel and a few weeks later my email account got hacked. I do not think they were related, I think it was from a blog I had subscribed to. But I had forgotten to do that and had to cancel my credit card and redo all my bookings. There is also a way to send the infromation securely. For yahoo. (sorry I don't know about gmail) under settings there is a box to check to set up secure email...I didn't learn about that until after the fact... Also you might try to see if the hotel is on and perhaps book your reservatoin through there. Good luck!

Posted by Angela
Sammamish, WA
403 posts

Ah yes, we've become so enamored of technology that we have forgotten the good old fashioned telephone call. If you are concerned about email hacking, it will be worth your peace of mind to spend a couple of dollars on a phone call to give them the CC#. That said, I either fax or send the number broken up in multiple emails. Both methods have worked just fine.

Posted by Betty
Missouri City
241 posts

Our credit cards have been compromised 3 times in the last 9 months while using them at home for restaurants, gas, groceries, etc. None of the cards were stolen but were still cloned. As stated above, there is NO GREATER RISK of having your CC # stolen when sent by email to a hotel than if used at home for lunch at your local restaurant. If you monitor your credit card activity online regularly (as we all should do), you can notify the CC company if you notice any irregular activity. In the 3 instances I mentioned above, the CC company spotted unusual activity with our cards and notified us of possible fraudulent use so it could be stopped quickly.