Airbnb Payment Options for Guests

Before booking with Airbnb, it’s important to understand how payments work and when Airbnb charges you for your booking. This way you’ll avoid any confusion and know what to expect in charges on your credit card.

Guests booking with Airbnb must submit their credit card/payment information to the platform before booking a reservation. Your card will not be charged immediately after choosing a listing and attempting to book it. Instead, you’ll submit your booking request to the listing’s host and once they accept it, you’ll be charged by Airbnb. The only exception is if you book through instant booking if the listing offers this feature.

Your payment is then held by Airbnb and issued to the host 24 hours after you’ve checked in. So if you book far in advance, it could be a long time between when you pay and when the host receives your payment. This doesn’t affect your booking in any way, it’s just valuable information to know. The reason Airbnb does this is that it wants to confirm the listing is as expected and there aren’t any problems when you arrive. It’s done to protect both guests and hosts.

In addition to knowing when Airbnb charges you when you book a stay, it can also be helpful to understand several other things about how payments work on the platform.

Airbnb’s Pay Less Option

Airbnb’s Pay Less option allows you to pay less upfront when booking. It’s somewhat similar to what hotels do when they charge you the cost of one night when booking and you pay the remainder of your fee upon check-in. Airbnb lets guests pay a portion of the overall reservation cost and then schedule a second payment before check-in. The total amount needs to be paid in full in advance but you can divide the payment up so the expense of travel doesn’t hit you all at once.

Not all Airbnb listings offer the pay less option. Airbnb automatically schedules your second payment due date once you’ve completed the first payment.

Airbnb’s Security Deposit

Airbnb charges guests a security deposit.

As you might expect, Airbnb charges guests a security deposit when they book a stay. It’s similar to a renter’s deposit and offers protection against any harm done to the property during your stay. The Airbnb host can add a security deposit to their listing so you might not always it. That said, most hosts do opt to charge one.

Though it might seem as if you are saving money if you aren’t paying a deposit, be wary of hosts not charging a deposit since it is money that’s just held aside to protect them in case of problems. Ask yourself why a host would opt not to use a security deposit and you check the host’s reviews carefully to ensure the property has ranked well and met everyone’s expectations.

Two days before you check-in, Airbnb puts an authorization hold on your payment method in the amount of the security deposit. You don’t get charged for this amount; however, you won’t be able to use those funds until 14 days or more after check out. This means if you’re using a debit or check card, you need to account for these funds being held for an extended period of time. For this reason, it’s better to book your Airbnb with a regular credit card when possible.

Airbnb gives the host of the property up to 14 days to file a claim against the security deposit. If no claim is filed, you receive your deposit back in full. If a claim is filed, you’ll be notified and the host needs to provide proof about any damages to Airbnb to receive any of your deposit.

When Does Airbnb Charge You?

If you are not using the Pay Later option or it’s not offered, your credit card is charged once the host accepts your reservation. You’ll be charged immediately if you are booking through instant booking.

Airbnb accepts all major credit cards and pre-paid credit cards that are backed by Visa, Mastercard, or American Express/Amex. Airbnb also accepts Paypal payments in most countries, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Other payment options that vary by country include:

  • Alipay in China
  • Aura in Brazil
  • Elo in Brazil
  • Hipercard in Brazil
  • iDEAL in the Netherlands
  • PayU in India
  • Postepay in Italy
  • Sofort Uberweisung in Germany

Why Book and Pay through Airbnb?

Booking and paying through Airbnb offer protection for both guest and host. It also makes it easy to find and reference details for your reservation. Airbnb is unable to provide these benefits if your reservation isn’t booked and paid directly through the platform.

What If I Need a Refund?

In some cases, you’ll need to request a refund or your host will refund your payment. For most major credit cards, refunds take about one to three business days. Other payment methods tend to be a bit quicker, with the exception of PayU which can take up to 10 business days.

Keep in mind, Airbnb does not let you change your payment method once the host has accepted your reservation request. Make sure you are paying with a method that you are comfortable with before requesting a booking.

Airbnb Fees and Other Charges

In addition to the cost of your accommodations, there are other fees when you book an Airbnb property. These include:

  • Mandatory Service Fee of 6 to 12 percent that goes to Airbnb
  • Optional Cleaning Fee that is determined by the host. Fees tend to vary based on the size of the property and the cost of comparable bookings in the area
  • Optional Security Deposit determined by the host for accidents and damage.

When Does Airbnb Charge You for Booking Accommodations in India?

The exception to some of the payment arrangements on the Airbnb is for guests booking a reservation for a property in India. Since credit cards in India require two-factor authentication, guests are charged for the entire amount of their reservation when they submit their request. Refund requests in India can take up to 10 days depending on your bank. It’s important to note that guests are charged for each booking request they submit. This means if you book more than one listing for the same days and they get confirmed by the hosts, you’ll be double booked and unable to receive a refund.

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