The #1 mistake people make at hotel checkout

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The #1 mistake people make at hotel checkout
Image Credit: PortoBay Hotels & Resorts/Flickr
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There’s an ugly ongoing problem when you check in or out of a hotel.

At the desk, you’re always asked to give a form of payment like a credit card or a debit card so if you trash the room, they have something on you.

But then a lot of people decide at checkout that they want to pay cash instead of plastic. So you settle up and they give you a receipt (hopefully) and you go.

Read more: Travel alert: Why you should take a picture of your hotel room

An ugly problem for travelers

The problem comes if there’s a dishonest individual working behind the desk. They may still charge your room to your card and pocket the cash.

If you later notice and have proof you paid cash, you call up and they say, “Sorry, it was a clerical error.” But what if you didn’t keep that receipt or they didn’t give you one showing you paid cash?

You lose.

The best answer is the form of payment you leave at the desk when you check in is the form of payment you pay with when you check out.

Meanwhile, hotels are a fertile ground for identity theft rings and credit card theft rings. You have a situation where there is frequent turnover at hotels and weak background checks on employees.  Plus, there are so many transactions happening and so much info being given by travelers.

It all adds up to hotels becoming a new weak point in our nation’s ability to stop identity theft and credit card theft.

And that brings me full circle to the dangers of debit cards. Because the hotel check-in desk has become such a weak link, never pay for a hotel room with a debit card.

If your number is compromised, using a debit card lays you wide open to having your entire checking account emptied. Then you have to fight with your bank to get your money restored.

So for hotels, the only safe thing is to pay with a credit card!

Read more: 9 companies that do the best job keeping your data safe from prying eyes

Credit card perks can save you on the cost of trip insurance

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Clark Howard About the author:
Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust.
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