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How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Chargebacks and Return to Work Safely?


Business is starting to take off once again; travelers are packing up their suitcases and heading to hotels for business trips, weddings, or simply a getaway.

As great as this is for hotels who have been struggling this past year, they need to keep one very important thing in mind.

They’re not the only ones returning to business as usual. Fraudsters are also testing out the waters of where and how they can commit fraud.

Unfortunately, the hospitality industry has always been vulnerable to fraudulent activity due to a combination of disjointed technology, paper-based processes, particularly around credit card authorization forms, and a lack of standardized processes for card verification and acceptance.

This is a crucial time for hotels as they begin to re-open, and negative word of mouth or poor publicity due to data breaches could be detrimental to their reputation. Not to mention the loss of revenue, legal fees, and remediation that all come from a breach.

Payment fraud activities typically lead to chargebacks, and they can have negative effects on the business. It’s a domino effect – once payment fraud happens at a property, it leads to other problems and time-consuming activities that take staff away from their actual day-to-day responsibilities.

As fraudsters continue to find ways to target hotels, it’s necessary for them to stay one step ahead. One of the best ways hotels can protect themselves is by developing a fraud prevention strategy. And that starts with eliminating paper-based processes for collecting credit card authorization forms.

Here are 3 ways switching to an electronic-based authorization form can help prevent fraud at your hotel or properties:

1. Reduce the risk of fraud and chargebacks.

In the event of a customer dispute, having a payment authorization form that confirms the identity of the customer and verifies that the transaction was legitimate is critical. Individuals attempting to commit fraud by requesting a chargeback on a good or service they received will be less likely to win the case if you can provide proof the transaction was authorized. Having a credit card authorization form that the purchaser has signed helps the bank determine you were in the right.

2. Minimize human errors.

Human error is unavoidable. Especially when staff members are manually re-keying credit card information where it can be all too easy to enter the wrong numbers. However, a digital form removes that risk. And once on file, you can easily confirm payment details and provide a hassle-free experience for the guest should a payment error arise. Kimpton Hotels, Catering Manager highlighted the benefits of an automated process. “I love the convenience of being able to send out a Sertifi eAuthorizations form with my contracts! It takes me less than 30 seconds to send out the form and my guests are typically able to return a completed form the same day. The peace of mind that comes with knowing we have a valid form of payment on file can’t be beat.”

3. Establish a positive reputation.

Hotels are considered a high-risk industry for fraud. If you receive too many chargebacks, you may run the risk of having your account terminated and losing the ability to process transactions entirely. Catching fraud before it happens, especially in the authorization phase, is extremely important. Additionally, using a credit card authorization form shows your bank that you are responsible when it comes to accepting payments and are doing all you can to reduce the risk of fraudulent activities. Having a good reputation can lead to reduced processing rates, and/or a higher monthly volume.

Because the hospitality industry is such a big target for fraudsters, hotels must take the time to evaluate their fraud prevention strategies and build a multi-layered approach that works for their business. Hotels that are struggling to maintain a low chargeback percentage can benefit from reviewing their current process for accepting credit card authorization forms and locate any vulnerable areas fraudsters might be infiltrating.

Deploying Sertifi Advanced Fraud Tools, a feature of eAuthorizations, can also provide additional benefits to hotels, Beacon Investment Management Group shared some benefits of fraud tools. “Sertifi has taken the way we look at fraud to a whole new level. Before, we would accept paper credit card authorization forms and were getting hit with chargebacks on a regular basis. With Sertifi’s Advanced Fraud Tools we have reduced chargebacks and trained our staff on what to look for in fraudulent transactions.”

Return to business the right way and reduce your risk of incurring chargebacks by utilizing an electronic credit card authorization form.