Visa and MasterCard have designed the Advance Resort Deposit program for hotels, motels, their travel agents and other related businesses.
Merchants participating in the Advance Resort Deposit program are required to implement the following procedures:
- When a cardholder contacts a participating hotel or travel agent and wants to make an advance deposit with a bank card, the merchant must explain the terms and conditions of the reservation, cancellation, and refund policy procedure to the cardholder.
- The merchant must then take the cardholder’s account number, card expiration date, name, and address and confirm the room rate and location.
- The merchant is required to then confirm the status of the card. The authorization procedure is determined by the hotel’s location:
- If the hotel is located within the United States, the merchant is required to follow the standard authorization procedures to obtain approval for the transaction. If authorization is not obtained, the merchant in effect accepts responsibility for the transaction.
- For all regions outside of the U.S., the merchant is required to check the Warning Notice. (This may be done subsequent to the phone call.) If the account number is listed in the Warning Notice, the merchant should follow the usual procedures provided by its processing bank.
The merchant is required to request authorization if the amount of the advance deposit exceeds $50. If the result of the authorization call is denial, the merchant must inform the cardholder and request an alternative form of payment.
- The merchant must complete a sales ticket that includes the cardholder’s name, card account number, expiration date, reservation confirmation number. The merchant must write on the sales ticket the words “advance deposit” in place of the cardholder’s signature. If there are any special terms and conditions regarding the applicable refund policy, the merchant should note that on the sales ticket.
- The merchant is required to mail a letter of confirmation, a copy of the sales ticket, including the reservation confirmation number, and information concerning its cancellation and refund policy to the cardholder at the address previously provided by the consumer.
- The merchant should then deposit the sales ticket for the advance deposit in the usual manner. There are no special deposit requirements imposed on the merchant.
- If the cardholder cancels the reservation, in accordance with the agreed upon procedures, the merchant is obligated to cancel the reservation and issue a credit to the cardholder. The following procedures should be followed:
- The merchant should prepare a credit slip in the usual manner for the amount of the previously submitted advance deposit, writing the words “deposit cancellation” in place of the cardholder’s signature on the credit slip.
- The merchant should prepare a notice of cancellation issuing a cancellation number to the cardholder.
- The merchant should mail a copy of the credit slip and notice of cancellation to the cardholder.
- The merchant should record the cancellation number on the slip and deposit the credit slip in the usual manner. There are no special deposit requirements imposed on the merchant.
- If a transaction where the merchant has followed the above procedures results in a dispute, and if the account number used to make the deposit is unidentifiable as to a specific card issuer or was fictitious, the merchant’s processing bank will bear the liability. The processor will also be bearing the liability when the transaction is identifiable to a specific issuer but is not identifiable to a specific account number within that institution.
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