Reservations by Credit Card

Locally owned hotels in the Cinque Terre require a credit card to reserve the room. The proprietor is asking for a response, with credit card info, by email. Any recommendations for safe guarding credit information? Thank you.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6840 posts

There is no absolute secure way of sending credit card info; which is why you are protected from fraudulent use. Even if it does go through the internet "pipes" okay, a dishonest clerk could simply write your number down on a piece of paper and sell it to a criminal group. I've sent my CC info to hotels a few times via email and never had any problems.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

I wouldn't send it over e-mail unless it's via Pay Pal or a secure (https) website that would give you an actual confirmation as soon as your credit card goes through. I really hope it's not the case that mom and pop hotels ask you to send sensitive info over unsecured e-mail...hopefully, you have other hotel options.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6840 posts

It's very common for small hotels to ask for CC info via email, it's how they keep overhead low. Even "secure" sites, aren't that secure. Lots of big e-commerce sites have been hacked over the past few years, stealing thousands of numbers at a time. Again there is no absolute secure way of sending CC info: big or small merchant.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

Booking.com lists 179 hotels in Cinque Terre, so you have other options if you're not comfortable sending your CC info directly via e-mail... I don't know if they're similar to what you were looking for. Maybe you can even find your hotel there. It's true, nothing is 100% secure, but it's still prudent to minimize risks (if you can) unless you are really set on that property.

Posted by Liz
Round Rock, TX, USA
91 posts

When making the arrangements for my current trip, the hotel asked me to send my CC number in two emails. Don't know if that is any safer than sending it all at once. I have a separate CC that I use for all my international transactions. There is a limited amount in this account. Supposedly (per the bank) my main accounts cannot be accessed through this account. It is also the one I travel with.

Posted by Sandra
Sunnyvale, CA, USA
2 posts

Thanks all for the quick responses! I prefer to stay "local" in the Cinque Terre so will look into your suggestions. I was a bit flustered by the request for cc info by non secure email. But as you noted, even the best security provides no guarantee. Thanks again.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5776 posts

Split it between two separate emails if you're truly concerned.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1590 posts

179 hotels inCinque Terre on Booking.com? Did you by any chance look at them? Most are NOT in The Cinque Terre. They are in Levanto ( the majority), portovenere, Bonassola, etc. mone says Riomaggiore but it is 2.5 miles above the village. Besides,mif you book thru booking.commthe owner has to pay a commission and gets less. Not good.

Posted by Ken
Yakima, WA, 98908
73 posts

As many have said above, there is no secure way of doing what you need to do via E-Mail. I have sent out cc information to a number of hotels via E-Mail and always split the info into two different E-Mails. Not exactly fool proof, but I have had no problems....yet.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

Sandra, Which hotel are you dealing with? I routinely send credit card information when booking hotels in the Cinque Terre and so far haven't had any problems. As the others have mentioned, if you're really concerned about this, you could split the information into two parts and send each separately. Does the hotel use an automated booking site, or just E-mail? Cheers!

Posted by Andria
Eugene, OR, USA
19 posts

Some credit card companies will offer a temporary or "virtual account number". I used this card number to reserve several hotels - through email, for my summer Italy trip. The limit on the virtual card is $50 so risk is small. Might be worth finding out if you credit card company offers this.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3076 posts

Just call them up and "tell" them over the phone - it's not as difficult as it sounds. There's no 100% secure way, that's why you use a "credit" card and not a "debit" card. If something should happen and unknown charges start popping up on your credit card then call your cc company and dispute them and cancel the card.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2281 posts

I would be more concerned with handing my credit card to a waiter in a restaurant in the US. That is the only place I've run into this. It is amazing how fast the credit card co spots these fraudulent charges and freeze the card, thus the imperative of more than one card while you clear up the problems with the other.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

Ok, after reading all the responses, I think I've changed my mind a bit on this (thanks everyone!). I think conveying the info over 2 e-mails, or by phone, would be a good enough precaution - as long as you get some kind of confirmation in writing.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Like Sam, we have only ever had a problem when we handed our card to a waiter at a restaurant here in the Us. Charges on eBay ( which we have never used) started showing up and our bank caught it immediately. But if I do send the CC number to a hotel in Europe, I Generally send it by fax. That way I have written confirmation that they received it, and that the number is correct. The interesting twist is that if someone on the other end ( in Europe) did try to use the card for their own purposes ( theft), their attempted charges would be denied, at least by our bank, since we aren't actually traveling yet. They will block all foreign charges until we advise them of travel dates and the specific countries ( or advise that we are buying tickets in advance, for things like trains or opera). So, unless the clever crook passes on the number to someone in the US, or knows the dates we will be in Europe and waits until then to use the card, he or she will fail in the attempted fraud.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5776 posts

Lola makes an excellent point about fraud detection. It really is amazing how quickly our credit card companies jump on a suspicious charge. We had this happen once when we paid for our Scavi tour tickets at the Vatican. The charge came from Italy so I immediately got a call from the CC company since we hadn't started our travel yet.

Posted by Ken
Yakima, WA, 98908
73 posts

OK, I hve a fairly humorous story to tell on this topic. I have probably sent our cc info to hotels in France, Switzerland and Italy 10 times or so and have never had a problem. We did have one time in the states that we did have a problem. Two years ago we went to the Seattle area for an event and visited two different restaurants in the area where I used our cc. Several days later I got a call from the cc company asking me about a number of charges for Starbucks gift cards purchased in the Seatlle area on our card - which we did not make - so we had to cancel the card. The credit card information had to be lifted from one of those two restaurants. What was the event we went to the Seattle area to attend that weekend? The Rick Steves European Travel festival in Edmonds - ironic isn't it?

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2394 posts

I know this topic has been pretty well discussed and Agnes has come back to say she has a better understanding too, but it bears repeating: The highest RISK of credit card fraud comes from the person you hand your card to - NOT sending the info in an email. The risk of some criminal organization intercepting your email is soooooooo minutely remote that it's statistically insignificant. Sending the info split in two emails does not reduce your risk because the risk is the end user mis-using the card number. And what exactly IS the risk? $50 and a few minor hassles. $50 is the amount you are liable for and it's probably very rare to even have to pay that. The hassle is waiting a couple days for a new card and re-setting the card number and expiration date on auto payments. Secure financial transactions are used to process electronic payments securely without any human intervention. The security is meant to keep outsiders out and "insiders" from mis-using CC info. And even those systems get breached on occasion by criminal hackers that know, say Amazon, has a boatload of CC numbers to steal. There is no comparison with that and emailing a small B&B owner your card info.

Posted by Katherine
Philadelphia, PA, United States
173 posts

I've sent my CC number to dozens of B&Bs and hotels over the years with no problem. It's a standard request. The only problem we've ever had was returning from France to find that while we were gone someone had used our Visa number (not the card) to spend $350 over a month on pizza! Needless to say, Visa took it off our bill and got after the pizza parlor.

Posted by Karen
Santa Rosa, CA
612 posts

Agree wtih the previous posts. I make most reservations via email directly wtih the hotel. Then I can ask other questions I might have. Sometimes, the hotel provides a link and reservation number to submit credit card info on line, but mostly I send via email (in two separate emails) and haven't had a problem. I've had several instances where my work cc has been fradulently used immediately after a business trip. I'm fairly certain the card # was compromised when handing the cc to a waiter/waitress in a restaurant. Was amazed at how quickly the cc company called to verify if they were my charges.
Also, use a credit car, not a debit card.