Can You Pay for a Hotel With Cash?

As a multi-billion dollar market and due to the pandemic, it’s not surprising to see a rapid, constant increase in contactless, cashless transactions. Hence, it is also not uncommon for some people to wonder and ask, “Can you pay for a hotel with cash?” After all, not everyone is comfortable making electronic payments because of the fear of their personal and financial information being stolen.

So, can you pay for a hotel with cash? Yes, definitely, you can pay for a hotel reservation, booking, or stay using cash. However, it might be challenging to find one since most hotels worldwide now prefer credit card payments; in fact, some don’t even accept debit cards.

This guide will help you understand why most hotels have credit-card-only policies or stringent rules regarding cash payments. You’ll also find information about the following:

  • best ways to find a hotel that accepts cash and how to book one;
  • how can you pay for a hotel in cash;
  • and other related topics.

This way, you’re assured you have a safe place to stay when in a different town, city, county, state, or country.

Hotel Guest Paying With Cash

Why Do Some Hotels Not Take Cash?

Card-only payment policies can, in a way, negatively affect the business, such as the loss of potential guests with no credit cards. That said, hotels have good reasons why they prefer credit cards.

Some of the most important ones are:

Better Security

Although most hotels have excellent security systems and even security personnel for the safety of guests, staff, and the property itself, burglary or armed robbery can still happen. That is especially if the hotel has cash within its premises. Thus, some hotels, especially five-star hotels, prefer cashless transactions.

Safety Net

Another reason why the answer to “Can you pay a hotel with cash?” is “No.” for most establishments is the safety net principle.

Generally, when you reserve or book a room for particular dates, the hotel will mark the room as unavailable for those dates. Once you cancel or are a no-show, that’s also the hotel’s loss of income because no one would be checking in on those dates and paying for the room.

Although this situation isn’t uncommon for credit card holders, the hotel can charge the card with a cancellation fee. There is also a higher chance that the guest will show up on the date booked because they don’t want to pay such fees.

Better Customer Service

Customer service is essential in any type of hospitality business. Poor customer service means bad reviews and a lack of or minimal recommendations, leading to little to no customers; thus, little to no profits.

Without any cash to deal with, the hotel receptionist or staff can attend to the needs of all the guests in a timely manner, even during the peak season.

Why is that so? In any transaction, we all know that dealing with cash is sometimes time-consuming, especially when you don’t pay the exact amount. The cashier would need to count the money handed to them and count and sometimes recount the change before handing it to the payee.

Cashless transactions also help hotel managers save time from the time-consuming and stressful checking and balancing of cash, receipts, and records. Therefore, more time for managing the hotel and staff.

Guaranteed Payment for Extras

Another top reason why the answer to “Can you pay for a hotel room with cash?” is a no is guaranteed guest payment for all incurred fees.

If you’ve ever booked a hotel for a Florida beach vacation or a business conference, you know you don’t just get charged for the room. Depending on the hotel’s policies, you also get billed for food, drinks, missing items, taxes, and more.

With a credit card, the establishment won’t have to worry about you running out of cash to pay all those required and unforeseen charges once you check out. This reason also applies to debit cards.

How to Find Hotels You Can Pay Cash

Hands Typing on Laptop Computer

The best way to find a hotel that accepts cash as payment is through the internet. One is through Google, but make sure you use specific terms, such as “hotels you can pay cash in California, USA or near me,” depending on where you plan to check in.

Yelp is another option, which is highly recommended because you don’t have to think of the correct terms to use for your search. Just type in the term “hotel” in the search box and choose the specific city or area.

Either way, expect most hotels you can pay cash to are economy or low-star-rated hotels. Some branches of high-star-rated hotel chains, such as Crowne Plaza Hotel, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, and Marriott Hotel, have a hybrid approach in terms of payment.

It means they will accept cash payments but require you to hand over your credit card you check in or input your card details when making reservations. This way, they can put a pending charge on your card that they can cancel upon check out when you pay cash.

Once you find potential hotels where you can pay for a hotel in cash, it’s best to call them to verify if they really accept cash. It’s also the best time to ask about their policies on cash payments. This way, you’re assured you end up transacting with a hotel that meets your preference and needs.

What to Expect When Paying Cash as a Walk-in Hotel Guest

A hotel whose answer to “Can you pay for a hotel with cash?” is a yes and doesn’t require a credit card will usually tell you that you can only do so as a walk-in guest.

That’s why it’s best to arrive at the hotel a few hours before the check-in time. Also, make sure you call them a day or at least 12 hours before you arrive to let them know you’re on your way to booking a room. You’ll also know if there’s still available room for you.

Present a Valid ID

Once you arrive at the hotel, the first thing they would require you before allowing you to check in is a government-issued ID. Most, if not all, hotels will conduct extra scrutiny, especially if you’re from another state or country. No, doing so isn’t discrimination but more for security purposes.

Suppose they find anything questionable, such as a photo that doesn’t look like the person checking in or a misspelled name. In that case, they’ll mostly not allow you to pay in cash.

This process ensures they don’t end up accommodating a guest who’s trying to cover their tracks due to a crime committed. Remember, cash isn’t traceable to any individual, unlike cards.

Pay for the Room Accommodation

Most hotels accepting cash payments will usually already collect the payment for your room accommodation before handing you the keys. Doing so prevents putting them in a situation where a guest leaves without paying, impacting the establishment’s income.

Deposit a Security Fee

Most hotels that allow cash transactions will ask for a security deposit to resolve the safety net issue discussed earlier. This fee will cover any extra charges, giving the hotel staff peace of mind that they get paid even if you run out of cash on hand.

Upon checking out, the assigned hotel staff will inspect your room to see if anything is missing or damaged and check any unpaid bar, restaurant, and other bills.

If there are, they’ll be computed. Of course, if the security deposit is enough, you’re already free to go. Otherwise, you would have to pay for the amount.

If you’re lucky and don’t have to pay any extras, the hotel will give you back the security deposit. That means extra cash for shopping, food, or souvenirs!

How to Pay for a Hotel Reservation With Cash

We can’t emphasize enough that not every hotel will have the same answers to “Can you pay for a hotel room with cash?” It’s possible to reserve a hotel room that will benefit both you, as the guest, and the hotel, as some of them accept payments in different ways, such as:

Through Bank Transfers

So if you don’t want to go through the uncertainty of booking a room as a walk-in guest, look for a hotel that accepts deposits through bank transfers.

The typical procedure would be as follows:

  1. Book your reservation via the hotel’s website, by calling the hotel, or whichever method it allows.
  2. You’ll receive instructions on where and when you should pay the deposit.
  3. Deposit the fee to the account number provided.
  4. Send a copy of the deposit slip to the hotel.
  5. Wait for confirmation.

Via Travel Agencies

Another way to book a hotel room in advance without using your credit card is with the help of a travel agency that accepts cash payments. Just keep in mind that you would have to pay travel agency fees. Nonetheless, they will do all the legwork for you.

What Are the Other Ways to Pay for Hotel Reservations?

Guest Paying With Smartphone at Hotel Reception

If you think the solutions provided above won’t work for you, there are other ways to reserve a hotel room without using your credit card. Some of the highly recommended ones are as follows:

Online Payment Platforms

As the world becomes more dependent on the internet, several online payment platforms or e-wallets are already available. You can link most of them to your bank account to ensure you have “cash” that you can use to pay for online transactions.

In terms of hotel reservations, most chains have partnerships with PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. You can check the hotel’s website to see which ones they accept. Alternatively, book your hotel via legit and established hotel booking platforms since they accept this mode of payment.

Disposable or Virtual Credit Cards

Single-use credit cards, more popularly known as virtual credit cards, are also rising, so hotels are also adapting to the changes. As noted, one of the top reasons you asked, “Can you pay a hotel with cash?” is privacy.

The good thing about virtual credit cards is the extra security level since you’ll be provided with a temporary credit card number that you need to use within a certain period. You also don’t have to worry about a stolen card, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar place, because it doesn’t come with a physical card.

Your bank’s website or downloadable application can generate the account number. You can also purchase it online or via telephone orders from legit providers. Hence, using a virtual credit card to pay for a hotel reservation is also perfect for those who still don’t have their own credit cards.

Can You Pay for a Hotel With Cash – The Takeaway

Overall, as of writing, you’ll still find hotels that accept cash payments but expect more stringent guidelines and processes. Meaning it won’t be as convenient when booking and paying for a room via your credit card. Nonetheless, there are other ways to reserve and pay a hotel accommodation. Choose one that works best for you, and check the hotel’s acceptable payment methods.

Kris Peter

A positive individual enjoying the journey, and always searching for adventure. I created Sunlight Living to help my parents (and eventually myself) prepare for retirement. About Kris

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