How to Use the Priority Check-out Service

How to Use the Priority Check-out Service

Hotels and other lodging merchants can participate in the Priority Check-out Service, which provides your guests with the convenience of avoiding delays at peak check-out times. This is an add-on service to your merchant agreement that your payment processor should support. In this article I will offer a cursory overview of its main features.

Priority Check-out Service Addendum and Agreement

Before offering this service, you need to contact your processor and ask to add the Visa Priority Check-out Addendum to your merchant agreement. Once that’s done, you need to use a Priority Check-out Agreement and a sales receipt. The agreement should include the following details:

  • Applicable charges posted after check-out. Make sure that your customer understands and agrees to your policy regarding charges posted after check-out.
  • A truncated card account number. It is recommended that all but the last four digits of the account number are visible, while the preceding digits should be replaced with fill characters.
  • Cardholder signature.
  • Cardholder’s mailing address.

How Do You Use the Priority Check-out Service?

Once a guest who has signed the Priority Check-out Agreement has left your hotel, take the following steps:

  • Finalize your guest’s bill.
  • Complete the sales receipt by entering the total charges incurred during the stay. (i.e., restaurant, telephone, and miscellaneous charges).
  • Compare the final bill amount with the initially authorized amount. (See How to Process Credit Card Payments at Hotels for details.)
  • Attach the transaction receipt to your guest’s record and make sure it includes:
    • Cardholder name.
    • A truncated card account number.
    • Total charges incurred during the stay.
    • Any delayed charges, if applicable.
    • Authorization number, if necessary.
  • Send the following information to your guest (whether it is requested or not) by mail or e-mail within three business days after check-out:
    • A completed sales receipt indicating the final transaction amount with the words “priority check-out” on the signature line, or a printout of the billing document.
    • The itemized hotel bill.
    • A copy of the signed Priority Check-out Agreement.
  • Store your copy of the documentation. Keep a copy of the itemized bill and the completed and signed Priority Check-out agreement for at least six months after the transaction date.

The Takeaway

The Priority Check-out Service offers great convenience to both you and your guests. You get to finalize the bill at a time of your choosing, when there is no more pressing work to be done, while your guests do not have to wait in line to be checked out. If you haven’t done it already, contact your processor and request that the Priority Check-out Addendum be added to your merchant agreement.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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