Hotel Security Deposit Policy – How Can They Take Your Money?

We’ve also told you about incidentals, but now we want to tell you more about the hotel security deposit policy. This is the policy that is basically common for all hotels in developed countries and it tells us how they can get your money and how they can charge you without even telling you about this money. You should know this to avoid additional expenses during your stay.

It’s true that nearly all hotels want to have this security deposit. Especially if we are looking at good hotels that belong to a certain chain and offer a lot of additional paid services. In this case, a hotel will want to make sure that you’ll pay for all services when you check out. Today, we are talking about the hotel security deposit policy and also some ways to save your money.

Here’s what we’ll be talking about:

  1. How much is usually the security deposit?
  2. Which hotels take and don’t take security deposits?
  3. What can cover your security deposit in a hotel?
  4. Can hotels take your deposit without letting you know about this?
  5. What are some other important features of a security deposit?

Let’s get started!

How much is a security deposit in a hotel?

The security deposits in most hotels are from $50 to $200 a day. But of course, this sum may change according to the level of the hotel, type of room, additional services in a hotel, etc. We’ve stayed in hotels with a security deposit of $1000 a person. Also, we’ve been in cool hotels in the US without a security deposit.

This money isn’t just taken from you. Two main ways are used: they can take cash and then return you, or they can hold money on your credit card which is the most popular way.

You should know something about the deposit:

  • the security deposit is usually given back once you check out of the hotel;
  • this money is actually the way to protect hotels from possible problems and expenses;
  • you can use your security deposit money to buy additional services in a hotel;
  • they can use part of the deposit to compensate for the damages you caused in the hotel;
  • also, deposits can be used to fine guests for breaking some rules of staying in the hotel;
  • these deposits are a tricky thing and they can actually make you spend more money in a hotel;
  • you have to plan the deposits because they can ruin your plans for the trip.

Many inexperienced travelers are shocked by the news that they have to deposit some money when they check-in. Actually, sometimes they don’t have this money or this is the last money on their credit cards. And this can be a problem for the trip.

So, we recommend you check the deposit policy before you book a room in a certain hotel. Remember that usually this deposit is calculated for the number of nights. And here, a person who is going to stay 20 nights in a hotel will be amazed by the deposit. You should discuss it with a hotel manager before you book a room.

Why don’t some hotels take security deposits?

The policy of security deposits depends much on the hotel owners. If it’s a chain hotel, it will usually take some money from clients. But some small hotels don’t do it because they just don’t want to lose their clients. Also, some chains don’t take security deposits and attract more guests thanks to this.

The security deposit is usually held on your credit card at the moment when you check-in. You have to make sure that the balance on your card is sufficient for this operation. Otherwise, your plans to stay in a certain hotel may just fail. Though, a lot of hotels will be glad to reduce the deposit to let you check-in.

Although the policy is similar in many hotels, it still has some little differences. And you should speak to a receptionist or to a hotel manager to get all the details about this deposit and the procedures that can be applied. This is an important factor for your comfortable stay.

What does the security deposit cover?

The security deposit will cover all additional expenses that you may have in a hotel. For example, you can take a can of beer in a fridge in your room. Or you can go to a lobby bar and drink a glass of whiskey. Some hotels will charge you on the spot, but some will offer to use your keycard to take money from your security deposit.

Here are the main things that are covered by the security deposit in most hotels:

  1. Minibar in your room – usually, the drinks are not included in the price of the room.
  2. Snacks and other additional food you can find in the room.
  3. Lobby bar, cafes, and restaurants in the hotel.
  4. Swimming pool or SPA zone that is not included in the price of your stay.
  5. Any additional services like electric scooter rent, wake-up call, extra room service, etc.
  6. Any damages you can cause during your stay.

If you damage a coffee table in your room, you will pay for it from your deposit, too. If you decide to take a towel from your room, you are likely to pay for it from this deposit if they notice. If you get a fine for sneaking a friend into your room, you will also pay for this from your security deposit.

Now you know why hotels take this money or hold it. But you still don’t know one of the main reasons why they do it.

Why do hotels take security deposits?

We are pretty sure that hotels know well the results of numerous researches saying that a person is more likely to buy something if he or she has already put a deposit for this. Buying something from a deposit is much easier for a person than buying the same thing for some money from the wallet.

It really works. When you have already paid money at the reception, you are thinking about a glass of beer from the fridge in your room more seriously than if you needed to pay for it separately at the reception.

Our brain thinks we’ve already paid for it and we start using the money and taking advantage. This leads to big additional bills and sometimes even the security deposits don’t cover these bills. In this case, you will have to pay more when you check out. Pity, but it actually works very well.

Can hotels take money from your deposit without asking you?

This is actually why they initially take this money. For example, you can drink all beverages from the fridge in your room and then secretly sneak out of the hotel. They will have nobody at the reception desk when it’s time to check out. This is a problem because they will lose their money. And here, a security deposit will cover everything.

Many hotels take security deposits of the cost of a room plus 50-200 bucks depending on the hotel chain. This means that you have already paid for everything and there is no need to sneak out and try to avoid paying.

Here’s how it works:

  • once you want to check out, the receptionist will check whether you have bought any additional services;
  • if yes, you will be charged for these services, and then you will be refunded the money that is left after all charges;
  • if the security deposit isn’t enough, you’ll be given an extra bill that you have to pay immediately;
  • if you haven’t used any additional services, your money will be refunded as soon as the bank operates the payment;
  • usually, they withdraw the money immediately, but the refunding process will take up to two or three working days.

So, the security deposits in hotels are refunded. But you will pay for all additional paid services that you’ve ordered during your stay. This is safe for hotels because they will anyway get their money. Even if you decide to go without paying. But it’s not convenient for a client, so the majority of hotels will try to make the security deposit as low as possible.

Unfortunately, you can’t refuse to pay the deposit. Most hotels will just not allow you to stay. But sometimes you may ask to take less money as a security deposit, especially if you are going to stay for a long time.

Final words

Security deposits in hotels shouldn’t be a surprise for you. Most of the good hotels take some money from their clients during check-in. This sum of money is a kind of insurance for the hotel that you will pay for all services you will use during your stay. It doesn’t mean that you will lose this money – you will have the opportunity to get them back unless you actually use the paid services during your stay, of course.