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saving credit card details

4:22 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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We own a Bed and Breakfast and ask our guests to pay a 20% deposit when they book. We currently do this by sending them a link to a secure server operated by www.elbowspace.com. We can then log in and retrieve the card details for processing at our own terminal.
I realise that this is probably not PCI compliant.

We could sign up for someone like Paypal, but there are 2 disadvantages to this:
1. The fees will be significantly more than we currently pay (1.5%)
2. We have a cancellation policy so that if someone cancels at short notice we still have their card details to charge them. We have never actually done this, but I am sure it discourages anyone from cancelling on a whim if they know that we still have their details.
Is there a solution out there which would work for us?
5:02 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I could be wrong, but I believe most merchant providers have mechanisms in place to have preauthorized charges put through on the credit card without actually billing them. The same as how often when you certain hotels, they don't charge you until your stay is over, although all the charges are guaranteed by Visa/Mastercard.

Again, I could be wrong although this sounds like a pretty common situation so I'm ure there's a way to deal with it. I would ask your merchant provider.

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