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Sending CC# over email?

What is the alternative to sending a B&B your credit card # over email? The travel books suggest splitting up the number in 2 emails, but I don't see how that can protect your info. I am trying to make reservations to a few places and am hesitant to share any info. Any suggestions? Would faxing or using a secure server such a Dropbox work?

Posted by
2014 posts

I understand your concern, but most of us have been doing this for years without any problem. You could always call them.

Posted by
9554 posts

I've emailed, breaking up the information into 2 emails for the CC number. I've never had any problem doing it that way.

Posted by
18681 posts

You know, in 15 years, I have only once had to give a hotel in Germany my CC#. That was for a late arrival, and they had a secure webpage on which to submit it. Most of the small, family run places in which I stay don't take CCs anyway, just cash, so they never ask for numbers.

Posted by
17970 posts

They do take CC's, even if just for the guarantee that you will be there. Many small places specify cash payment or charge 3 to 5% extra for credit cards. Some specify sending 2 emails with the CC# split for your peace of mind, but I've come to rely on my CC card co's (plug for CapitalOne) vigilance, which has been exemplary.

Posted by
2377 posts

If I need to email credit card info, I also split it into two emails. I've never had a problem.

Posted by
11490 posts

I have had to do it quite a few times over many years. .its not as big of a risk as you suppose..

You could always choose to phone and give the number in person.

Posted by
11613 posts

I use an Amex card to hold a reservation and give the whole credit card number. Amex notifies me by email any time the card number is used without the card being presented. Other companies may have this alert feature as well.

Posted by
630 posts

Other companies may have this alert feature as well.

I believe most large credit card companies have alert features available for use. I have alerts set up on my credit cards so I am emailed and/or texted whenever something is charged to the credit card.

La Paz, you may also want to call your credit card company to let them know an international charge will be taking place. Otherwise the credit card company may reject the charge thinking it may be fraudulent.

Posted by
18681 posts

Sam, most of the small, family run places in which I stay do not ask for a CC to hold the reservation. I don't know why. Maybe they trust me because I write in grammatically correct German, and they think I am one of them so they can trust me to show up? OR maybe they just don't deal with credit cards.

Once, when I was searching for a place to stay in Altötting, the town tourism office, which ran the reservation system, sent me a large legal document to sign agreeing to penalties for cancellation and giving my credit card number. I stayed elsewhere. And once a host in a small town in Baden-Württemberg asked me to send him a confirmation (bestätigung) letter that I would be coming, but that's about it. Strange. Here the hotel confirms; there they want you to confirm. Other than that, they all seem to trust me to show up.

I know some German hosts have complained to me that Americans write for reservation and then never show up. I think this is a cultural misunderstanding. We might write to many places asking for price and availability, then write back to one if we like the price and want a reservation, whereas Germans just write for a reservation. When we write, they assume we want a reservation and reserve the room. Then, because we reserved elsewhere, we don't show up. I always try to be specific the first time that I am only seeking information about price and availability. Still, I have had a few hosts write back that they have reserved a room for that date.

Posted by
22586 posts

Supplying a cc number via email is the most secure way to transmit the number. Split into two transmission does increase the security a bit but such a small increase as to not be worth the effort. The security risk is after your number is in the hands of the hotel and that doesn't make any difference how it was transmitted - mail, fax, email, or in person. I have sent dozens of credit card numbers over the years to dozens of hotels with no problems. However, I have a third, kind of a back up. credit card that I only use for reservations and a rare on line purchase to keep the card activity. That way, if the card is compromised, shutting it down would impact little else. But I never worry about cc #s on line. Really no need to.

Posted by
6374 posts

La Paz, what I've done sometimes is to send the number in one email and the expiration dates in a second email. The point is that it makes it much harder from someone other than the employees of the hotel to reliably intercept all the information.

While I've never actually had a problem in Europe (only in the US, where a second "swipe" has been taken in restaurants and used elsewhere-that's why the European system of wireless CC terminals in the dining room is so good!), it's much more obvious that there was a security problem "on the ground", in the hotel if you do it that way.

Posted by
13810 posts


In France I have used the credit card to hold the reservation when I book on-line at a two star hotel, using the hotel website en français or, still a small hotel by any definition. In Germany for three star hotels the same procedure but I use the hotel website instead. For the small hotels/Pensionen even though some take a credit card, I don't have to give them the cc info. It's not needed, and they don't ask for it. If they don't ask for it (as a way to hold the room), I don't offer it, the same as it was 35-45 years ago. I call the Pension up on the phone to reserve, talk to them in the local language on the details of my stay, they tell they marked it down (notiert), and that's it. Sometimes I offer to send a confirmation letter either by e-mail or air mail. Usually also not needed if you have been there prior.

Posted by
1 posts

Has anyone had recent experience with fraudulent credit card charges after supplying their card to hold a reservation? In early 2016 I supplied cc to three locations recommended in Rick Steves' Italy guide (in Siena, Florence, and Venice) ... either by sending half the number through 2 different email addresses or by a secure site. About a month later, the bank stopped an attempted fraudulent charge (~$300 of sporting goods, online transaction). I subsequently supplied a completely different credit card (different bank, etc) to the same 3 spots; this week this second card had a fraudulent ~$300 online transaction. As the second card has not been used for any other transactions, it seems likely that one of these three locations is the source of the trouble, and I am reluctant to provide another card number. If others have had a similar experience, it would be helpful to know which of the three locations is likely to be involved. Thanks in advance for any help!

Posted by
4535 posts

Karen - It seems likely that one of the hotels is responsible. But the likely reason is a corrupt employee, not email hacking or some such thing. THAT is the real danger with providing credit card information, not emailing it. Its easy for an employee to sell the card info and not much you can do to prevent it. I would notify the hotels each that you have had problems and that their hotel may be responsible. That won't help you per se, but if one of them hears it from enough customers, they will realize one of their employees is a crook. You might also check TripAdvisor or Booking and see if people have posted reviews of that sort.

To avoid another repeat, call the hotel directly, ask to speak to the manager and explain what has happened, and give them your new card info over the phone. Make sure you take down their name for your records.

Posted by
11294 posts

Karen - these days, card information is often stolen electronically; the thieves do not need to get your physical card or your individual numbers from a paper or e-mail to get the information. So, while it may have been stolen from your hotel, it also may not have been. I'd alert the hotel, but don't blame them 100% without further evidence.

Posted by
3551 posts

I too have never had a prob giving cc number in 2 diff emails. I hve done this now for european trips for over 20 yrs and yearly. But if u are really concerned get an international calling card and call directly the cards are cheap.
It is imp to have peace of mind. Capital one card has been very gd for my travels with no transaction fees.