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Can You Pay Cash For A Hotel Room?

The current digital era, as well as the recent experience we all had with the pandemic, has hastened the preference of cashless transactions. This includes hospitality establishments like hotels. However, will they still accept cash payments?

The quick answer to that is yes, a lot of hotels still accept cash for booking or reservation. However, do note that it may be challenging – stressful, even – when you opt for this option as you’ll most likely have to jump through hoops in some cases.

Why Pay for a Hotel Room with Cash?

With almost everyone comfortably adapting to contactless payments, one would wonder why there are still some who would opt for cash payments. Let’s look into some of the more impactful ones.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons is to protect a person’s privacy. Using a credit card may expose your identity and previous financial transactions, and some aren’t comfortable with that. Meanwhile, paying with cash prevents that while fulfilling the obligation of paying for a service.

In addition to the abovementioned, cash is autonomous. It doesn’t require electricity or additional equipment to process, thus to some extent is more convenient. That also makes it, in a way, more secure than cashless transactions.

Of course, because cash is a legal tender, it is hardly refused. It has always been how we pay for commodities. Unless there’s an agreement that clearly says otherwise, you should be able to use paper money, making it a safe bet for most.

Lastly, while debatable, paying with cash helps you keep track of your expenses and stick with a given budget. You can’t spend money that you don’t have, so it adds that level of control over impulse.

Disadvantages of Cash Payment

Just because paying with cash has been deemed convenient and familiar doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its downsides.

For starters, you’re more vulnerable to theft. Given its physical nature, once someone takes it from you and runs away, there’s almost no way to get it back. Meanwhile, if a credit card is stolen, the bank can just block it and issue you a new one – no harm done to you, as long as you’ve reported it promptly and with good documentation.

Furthermore, cash payments don’t have perks and rewards that contactless transactions have. Once you pay with physical money, that’s it – you just get your change. Meanwhile, paying with a credit card may give you rebates, cash backs, and other offers that you could use for other purchases or services.

In cases of emergency, cash can be somewhat be a cause of headache and inconvenience. If you need to extend your stay in the hotel, it may be impossible when you have limited cash on you. While you can simply look for an ATM, that can be troublesome at times, contrary to just swiping your card.

Finally, some people find it more efficient to understand and maintain their budget with contactless payments. Paying for cash may sound like a stricter way of budgeting, and you have your receipt to review everything, but honestly, who keeps physical receipts these days? Meanwhile, card transactions can both be reviewed and disputed, giving better control and insight over your expenses.

Why Do Some Hotels Decline Cash Payment?

Hotels are expected to accept both cash and card payments, however it is not unheard of that some establishments maintain a card-only payment policy. As a matter of fact, there are those that won’t accept debit cards, even! There are some good reasons for these.

We’ve established that cash payments are vulnerable to theft, and hotels are taking that into consideration. The hotel will exhaust all efforts for everyone’s safety, but that still won’t make burglary impossible. That’s why card transactions are preferred.

Furthermore, hotels prefer credit cards as a means of protecting their revenue. For example, if you end up being a no-show, it’s a total loss, especially when they have to use generators during outage and no one’s booked. When they have your card on file, they may charge a cancellation fee as part of their policy.

Also, it assures the management that additional and unforeseen expenses will be paid, minus the awkward confrontation. It may be annoying to have to hunt you down for added costs due to tax, food, international phone calls, and others, only to then find out you don’t have enough cash. Having a card on file would prevent that uncomfortable scenario.

Perhaps the most important is to ensure a seamless customer service experience. During peak season, there’s expected to be plenty of guests, and counting or looking for change for your cash may cause that annoying delay. When the transactions are done via a credit card, the charges are merely explained, then swiped – as simple as that.

How to Find Hotels that Accept Cash

Finding out which hotels accept cash payments is fairly easy and straightforward. You can try doing a quick Google Search to begin with. Simply type “hotels that accept cash payment in New York”, for example. Just be very specific with the location for better results.

Another way is to take advantage of Yelp’s search engine. Not only will it provide you a list of hotels that may accept cash payments, but you can also read reviews left by guests who stayed there.

Regardless of the information you get from either option, always see to it that you get the contact details of the hotel you wish to book and give them a call. Ask if the information online is still accurate, and if they have other terms and conditions. You may also ask if they allow additional guests in your room when you’re checked in.

Take note that while they may mention they accept cash, some will require a hybrid approach. What this means is that while they will honor cash payment, they might still require a card on file for identification and other purposes. Simply clarify it with them, and if that doesn’t work for you, you may continue searching for another hotel.

Things to Expect When Paying with Cash

For starters, the staff will usually recommend that you call them at least 12 hours before you check in, especially if you intend to pay with cash. This is so that they can let you know if the room is still available.

Once you’re at the front desk, expect that they’ll require some sort of identification. It would be most prudent to prepare a valid ID that contains your photo as well. Take note that since cash cannot be traced, the only way to make the transaction secure is through other means of identification.

Those who opt for cash payments are usually asked to pay upfront for the duration of the stay. This is to prevent instances wherein a guest would leave or check out without making the necessary payment for the accommodation.

Furthermore, expect that for some hotels, there will be a security deposit fee. This will be used to cover for any extra charges incurred during your stay, if any. Hyatt has this kind of policy in place, both for cash and card payments, and you can simply contact them in advance or ask them how much it will be, as it varies from one establishment to another.

Final Thoughts

Yes, you may book a hotel using cash. And while there are additional requirements, they are rather reasonable, so just prepare for those.

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Hayden Wall

Hayden is the founder of Travel Gear Discounts and tries to vacation as much as possible. He loves finding the latest travel accessories that will make getting out easier and planning the perfect weekend getaway.