Reservation via bank deposit

I am trying to book a B&B in Amsterdam and I was instructed to pay 50% via bank deposit to the owners and 50% upon arrival. Is this customary? Our trip is in 3 months and I would like to be able to cancel reservations within the next month should something go wrong with our plane tickets (not purchased yet).

Thanks for any information or tips in this regard.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
5985 posts

I think that is why the B&B owner wants a deposit. Burned too many times by no shows. Small places with only a few rooms can't afford to offer generous cancellation policies like big hotels. If you want to stay there, better take it, or wait a month until your plans are set and maybe they will still have an opening.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
6030 posts

I did a deposit via bank transfer for an apartment in Paris a few years ago. Never again. It costs too much for one thing. Also, since you don't have your airline tickets your plans may change. There are plenty of places in Amsterdam to choose from. I would look elsewhere.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
2258 posts

Bank deposit is the common way of paying someone in The Netherlands as they don't use cheques.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
6030 posts

The problem with bank deposits from the U.S. is that the banks/credit unions here charge an expensive fee to do this. I found that out the hard way. It is not common practice here.

While looking for places to stay on my upcoming 6 week trip I disregarded any place that required a bank deposit. I had no trouble finding alternatives.

Gustavo, since you want to be able to cancel your reservation if necessary you might see what you can find on Most places listed there are easy to cancel.

Posted by Larry
Elkins Park, PA
1166 posts

See if they have an account that allows them to take a deposit via PayPal. You can use Paypal as a guest, even using a credit card to them.
Oh, and if you do this, make sure you check on the payment options so that you are charged in Euro and not $$s. If you let Paypal do $$s, it's a DCC at their rate, and thus costs an extra 3-5%. Just caught this on two reservations through them.

Posted by Kyla
Ypsilanti, MI, USA
217 posts

I'm with Andrea--I just keep looking if a place requires a deposit.

Posted by Gustavo
11 posts

Thank you everyone. I do really appreciate your inputs. I will keep looking and will not consider a bank deposit.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
13909 posts

Unfortunately it is another case where US banking is behind the times - like chip and pin cards.

Almost 100% of our banking here in the UK, for the family business and personally, is by bank transfer, both domestic and international. I have written one cheque in about 3 years.

Bank transfers on this side of the pond are so easy. It is all done on a home computer screen, no humans involved.

I'd have no problem paying a deposit, but I'd have to have my plans set first.

It is so difficult for small landlords when people cancel, particularly on shortish notice.

It is really time for the US banks to join the party.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
9953 posts

I would usually not make any reservations before the plane ticket, if you're coming another continent, especially no large, nonrefundable investment. You won't have the protections associated with a credit card transaction and should consider the bank deposit to be nonrefundable. Agreed that you can find places that don't require such a deposit.