Learn about the 'Security Deposit' screen in the Guest Portal:
Security Deposit is an add-on you can enable via your Autohost dashboard. It supports multiple modes:
Payment validation: validates the guest's credit card
Security deposit: holds funds on the guest's card throughout their stay
Damage waiver: a non-refundable payment option for guests
The purpose of the Security Deposit feature is payment validation and pre-authorization. When the guest reaches this section of the Guest Portal, they will be prompted to input their credit card details for "credit card verification." As a result, Autohost will be able to analyze and verify the legitimacy of the card.
There are two credit card amounts to be aware of:
The initial pre-authorization amount
The "security deposit" amount
What's the default pre-authorization amount for payment validation?
At the time of payment validation (right as the guest fills out the Guest Portal and provides their credit card information), we pre-authorize the card for $2. This is a symbolic amount that simply lets Autohost examine the card and run all necessary tests and analyses to determine the likelihood of fraud or any other cause for concern.
It is important to understand that just like with any other pre-authorization or security deposit, the amount is not charged to the card, but rather put on hold, ensuring that amount is available on the card for claiming, if necessary. The initial amount is released within 7 days.
What the guest sees:
What's the security deposit amount?
Seven days prior to the check-in date, Autohost will pre-authorize the guest's credit card for the full amount set as the security deposit. The hold on the guest's credit card is renewed every 7 days — up until 2 days after the checkout date.
If the duration of a guest's reservation is longer than 7 days, Autohost will continue to pre-authorize the card until the guest checks out, at which point Autohost will stop renewing the hold.
Assuming no claim is made on the security deposit, the amount will be released from the guest's credit card within 7 days of the last renewal date. That said, you will have the ability to manually release the hold, anytime, directly from Autohost or your Stripe dashboard.
Under the "Security Deposit" section of a guest's reservation, you'll see "DEPOSIT ACTIONS." These allow you to start, cancel, refund or claim a security deposit to optimize your workflow. To learn more about deposit actions, read this article.
Enabling security deposits
To 'turn on' the security deposit feature (and its three modes: payment validation, security deposit and damage waiver), follow these steps:
Log into your Autohost account.
Go to Guest Portal → Add-ons.
Toggle on Security Deposits, as seen below:
Setting the amount
In the Guest Portal, you can set the correct currency and choose the amount per risk colour. Asking the guest for a security deposit is optional, but if you choose to do so, the check-in instructions will not be released until the guest has successfully completed the payment validation (or rather "credit card verification.")
You can also set the security deposit amount on a listing level. The security deposit itself can be "required", "disabled" or "default" depending on risk colour, booking source, listing or reservation. To learn more about customizing the Guest Portal, read this article.
Please note: The security deposit is a pre-authorization not a charge. In the case of an incident, it will be your responsibility to charge against the card.
Security deposit settings
To adjust your security deposit settings, go to Guest Portal → Screens → Security Deposit or follow this link.
Here's what the guest sees:
Taking advantage of the damage waiver
The Damage Waiver can be enabled via the Security Deposit settings. With this option, your guests will be given the option to pay for a damage waiver (a smaller amount) instead of the pre-authorized security deposit (a larger amount). This is a great way of generating ancillary revenue!
If you decide to offer damage waivers, be sure to share your terms of service (ToS) with your guests. For your convenience, read our sample ToS here.
The Airbnb Exclusion
Although Airbnb does allow software-connected Hosts to charge a security deposit outside the platform, you have the option to disable the Security Deposit screen for all Airbnb reservations. For more info on Abiding by Airbnb's Off-Platform Policy, read this article.
If the reservation is made within 7 days of check-in, we run the initial pre-authorization (recommended to be $2) to validate the credit card, then, to ensure the guest has sufficient funds, we pre-authorize the full security deposit amount, as indicated in your settings.
A credit card authorization can fail for many reasons. Learn about them by reading this informative article written by Stripe: Decline codes