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SOPs / Front Office / Credit Card Authorization

Credit cards are approved and charged via phone lines connected either to a credit card machine or directly from the front desk computer. When the guest first checks-in, we must reserve funds from the guest's credit card in order to insure final payment because we do not actually charge their card until they check out. In order to reserve funds, you must "Authorize" the card for a certain amount.  If your hotel uses a credit card terminal separate from the front desk computer, be sure to record the authorization number and the amount. 

It is essential that you verify the signature on the card with that on the registration. If it does not match, do not accept the card.

In order to determine the correct amount to authorize the card for, you should add up the following items:

  • The number of nights the guest is staying multiplied by the room rate plus all taxes

  • Add approximately 25% of the room rate per day for food and beverage charges, if your hotel has a restaurant or bar where the guest can charge purchases to the room

  • Add another 10% of the room rate per day for telephone charges

  • Add another 10% of the room rate per day for movie rental if your hotel has in-house movies

This authorization actually reserves those funds for the hotel and doesn’t allow the guest to use that credit on their card to make charges elsewhere.

If you are charging a no show, enter "No Show" in the signature line for all cards except American Express. Enter “Assured Reservation” for American Express.

Because hotels can have any of several terminals, we do not provide detailed instructions on their use here.  Refer to your Supervisor and the instruction manual for a complete description of its functions.

Also refer to: Credit Card Processing, Currency Information, and Accepting Personal Checks

Good to know info...
Credit Card Authorization
Credit Card Processing