Even though we’re well into 2016, most vacation rental owners still prefer to accept bank transfers or checks over online credit card payments. If you don’t know about the advantages of accepting online payments yet, then you’d better read on.
According to RBR’s report of Payment Cards, e-commerce purchases using credit and debit cards totaled $2.1 trillion in 2014 and will grow to $5 trillion in 2020. The study also shows that online card payments are growing faster than “offline” card payments overall. In addition, Worldpay published a report on Global payments and suggests that the most popular payment methods in the future will be eWallets, credit and debit cards.
Although there are a lot of payment methods out there, it’s clear that most customers prefer using their credit and debit cards to process their online purchases. It’s very important for any online retailer, including vacation rentals, to adjust their business payments to what customers expect from them.
Advantages of accepting credit cards:
1. Preferred payment method by guests
Most online payments are already made with credit cards (the figure was 29.9% in 2014), so your potential customers expect you to have it. It’s a great way for guests to keep their payments safe because of the consumer protections in place that defend them against fraud or unforeseen cancellations.
According to senior travel expert Nancy Parode, “while senior and Baby Boomer travelers are accustomed to writing checks, younger renters are not. They use credit cards, debit cards and smartphones when they want to purchase something or make a deposit. Vacation rental owners who accept credit cards are more likely to appeal to younger renters – in other words, to the customers of the future”.
2. It’s the most secure and reliable payment method
Most vacation rental owners don’t mind waiting 10 days to receive their check or the bank transfer because they believe it’s the safest way to collect payments. But in reality, credit card payments are one of the safest payment methods for vacation rental online businesses.
Credit cards offer sophisticated internet solutions to prevent fraud:
- LinkPoint Secure Payment Gateway: processes payments in real time using a technology called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) which encrypts all confidential information during transactions so it can’t be seen by anyone.
- Address Verification Service: this can help you detect suspicious transactions because it compares numerical information of your customers with records owned by banks who have issued those cards.
- Card Validation Code: you know how credit cards have CVC or CVV codes in the back? These numbers help you determine whether your guests possess legitimate cards.
It’s just as safe and reliable for guests! Credit cards offer strong fraud protection and it’s easy to get charges reversed. Under the U.S. Truth in Lending Act, customers have a maximum liability of $50 and $0 if unauthorized use has been made online. Nancy Parode tells us that “credit card companies will allow cardholders to dispute fraudulent charges, which gives potential guests an added sense of security as they decide where to stay. Vacation rental owners who accept credit cards send a positive message to guests.”
3. It’s convenient for guests and vacation rental owners
It’s easy for guests to pay for their bookings; they can easily whip out their credit card, type in their details and voilà! They can forget about writing checks, going to the bank, waiting at the post office and all those other things that delay the booking process.
As for vacation rental owners, credit card payments will allow you to:
- Enable instant bookings and easily approve your guests and confirm bookings
- Easily issue refunds in case of cancellations
- Automatically send email payment receipts to guarantee that the booking has been confirmed
Parode adds, “accepting credit card payments also allows guests to book their preferred vacation rental property early, regardless of whether or not they have saved all the money for their trip. Guests can pay a deposit by credit card many months in advance, knowing their reservation is guaranteed.”
4. Gives credibility to your vacation rental property
There are a lot of articles out there about fake vacation rentals and how to avoid them. Most of them recommend users to avoid listings that demand bank transfer or a wire service like Western Union, and to only book through those that accept credit cards directly or through Paypal and Stripe.
Therefore, by accepting online payments, you’ll prove to your customers that they can trust you and it will in turn increase the credibility of your vacation rental business. Hopefully that will lead to an increase in booking conversions, too!
5. Improve cash flow
Credit card charges are deposited directly in your bank account. Your business will instantly collect payments, meaning you’ll no longer have to wait days for a check to arrive by post or have to worry about bounced checks, and most importantly, you will be able to pay all your own bills on time.
6. Stand out from your competition
You’re in a competitive industry and as everybody is fighting for the same thing, it’s important for your properties to stand out from the crowd. Approximately 62% of vacation rental owners use checks, cash or other lengthy manual payment methods. Be part of the 38% that knows just how important accepting credit card payments is!
7. It’s not as expensive as you think!
The biggest concern vacation rental owners have is that processing credit card payments comes with a cost and you don’t receive 100% of the payment. Luckily, we’re here to tell you that costs aren’t high when you consider the benefits it brings you!
- Stripe charges a percentage-based flat rate every time you accept an online payment: 1.4% + $0.30 for European cards and 2.9% + $0.30 for non-European cards. But if you integrate Stripe with your Lodgify account and you’re in the U.S. or Canada, you can benefit from a special rate of 2.2% + $0.30. There are no additional fees, so you don’t have to pay for charging cards and they even offer customized pricing for larger businesses. Prices vary depending on country and region, so make sure you check out their website.
- Paypal fees are a bit more complex; you have to pay a monthly subscription ($5 or $30, depending on your account) and another fee for every time you accept a payment. Paypal transaction fees vary depending on your monthly income.
See? It’s not too bad if you think of all the instant bookings that will start coming in. You could even pass the cost impact on to the guest or only use credit cards to accept the reservation deposit, e.g. 50%, and collect the residual amount in cash. That way you will split the credit card costs in half.
8. It’s easy to set up!
It’s not as difficult as you may think and anyone can set it up! Just start with signing up for a free Paypal or Stripe account and you’ll be able to connect it to solutions like Lodgify.
Lodgify allows you to accept credit card payments through our secure booking system. It’ll guide your guests through a simple booking process and you’ll automatically collect all the payments.
Easily integrate credit card gateways like Stripe or Paypal to your Lodgify account and start accepting Visa, MasterCard, American Express and others at no extra cost.
Sign up for Lodgify’s 14-day trial and test out our secure booking system! Let us know what you think in the comments.