Chris Croft's Personal Blog

September 17, 2011

“If I could just pre-authorise your credit card sir?”

Filed under: Assertiveness, Customer Care, Travel and driving — chriscroft @ 1:02 pm

….“It’s just a swipe of the card, we’re not going to charge anything to it, but it’s more convenient if you want to add any extras to your bill”


There seems to be an increasing trend towards taking a swipe of my card when I check in to hotels, even though I’m not buying anything.  Maybe I’ve already paid for the hotel in full in advance, or maybe I’m going to pay for everything when I leave – either way, why do they need my card?

And if you say “It’s OK thanks, I’m not planning to buy any extras (meals, mini-bar) they start to insist on the pre-authorisation.

My fear is that they’ll accidentally charge me for the hotel room twice, or put all sorts of things on it.  So I really don’t like giving my card in for “unknown expenditure” at the start.  Not to mention the time it takes when I just want to check in and go to bed.

So – why are they doing this?

Is it in case I do a runner?  Or damage my room in some way? Seems unlikely – they already know my address etc, and anyway, they claim that they can’t take any money on the card without me signing for it again – in which case, what’s the point?

Does anyone know whether than CAN actually take money from the card without me coming back to sign a second time?

I do agree that it might make charging for extras easier, but then why don’t I just sign receipts with a pen as I go along, like most hotels, and then pay my bill at the end?  Especially if I’ve got to come back and do the card a second time anyway, it hasn’t saved me any time at all.

Thoughts anyone?



  1. It could indeed be because they fear you doing a runner. And, I think they CAN charge your card even if you are not present .. after all, my husband buys CDs over the phone and gets a receipt a couple of days later saying “customer not present” .. so, technically, sone unscrupulous hotel employee could take note of your card number etc and use it later. Perhaps you could demand to know the exact ins and outs of what they do with your card, WHY they are doing it, and how they are safe-guarding and guaranteeing your financial security whilst doing it!

    Comment by Laura — September 17, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

  2. good point Laura! I think I’ll plan my demands ready for when it next happens. Maybe a tree of questions like “Can you take money from my card without me being signing for it?” If yes: “What guarantee of security do I have?” If no: “Then how does it save anybody any time?”

    Comment by chriscroft — September 17, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

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