How reservations work
Stripe and Square users both have 48 hours to accept a Pending Direct booking before it expires.
There is a preauthorization on the guest's credit card which expires after 48 hours. You have to actually capture the funds by accepting the booking request.
Unlike most platforms where you don't get paid till guest check-in, Houfy does not interfere in your payment transactions. All transactions pass between you and your guest only. As such, hosts choose their own forms of payment acceptance: check, Square, Stripe, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, bank transfer, etc. It's entirely up to you.
For those who would like travelers to book and pay on Houfy with credit card (just like they would book and pay on other sites), you need to connect one of Houfy's integrated processors (Square and Stripe). You'll still have the option to accept/decline the booking request, as "instant book" is not available.
Even though Stripe and Square are integrated with Houfy, the payments only pass between you and your guest. They never pass through Houfy's bank account.
If you prefer not to connect Stripe or Square, just fill out your listing's payment policies section and check off the payment methods accepted.
Can travelers just send me an inquiry if they are not ready to book?
Of course! Travelers can send hosts an inquiry, send a question via the contact host button, or use the email/phone info (if made public) shown on a host's profile. A text and email notification will be sent from Houfy.
Set up online payments
- Create your free Square or Stripe account directly on Houfy. Here is a brief comparison guide of Square and Stripe.
- Be sure to connect your Stripe or Square account to Houfy.
Once you have a Square or Stripe account connected to Houfy, travelers can enter dates and pay with credit card.
The host receives a "pending booking request" via text and email, with option to accept/decline. After accepting the pending booking request, the dates will automatically be blocked on your Houfy calendar.
Accepting payment outside of Houfy
Travelers can send an inquiry and you will arrange payment however you wish. Once you have decided to proceed with the booking, you can click "mark as confirmed" on the inquiry. This does two things:
- Blocks the dates on your Houfy calendar.
- Lets Houfy know you received a booking even though payment is being made outside of the platform.
Yes. Once the owner "accepts" a reservation request the host and the guest will receive an e-mail from Houfy. (Below an example of 10$ paid through stripe)
Do the guest and host receive a message when second paid was paid?
Note: if you have payment connected to Houfy, you always have the option to send a payment request in reply to an inquiry.
If a traveler sends an inquiry (not a pending direct booking) and you would like to move forward with the reservation, you can click Mark as confirmed. This will do four things:
- Block the the reservation dates while you handle payment outside of Houfy.
- Export the blocked dates to your synced calendars.
- Send an email reservation confirmation to both guest and host.
- Lets Houfy know you received a booking.
Select Confirmed from the drop down.
"I am about to sign up with Stripe or Square and I am wondering who decides if a guest can get a refund. What if a guest files a chargeback because they want to leave early and the host stands firm on their cancellation policy? Does Stripe or Square decide if the guest will get their money back even if the guest agreed to my cancellation policy?"
The issuing bank determines the outcome of credit card disputes (chargebacks).
What is an issuing bank?
An issuing bank is the financial institution that issues a credit card to the cardholder (your guest's bank).
What is a credit card network (association)?
The most popular networks are: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. American Express and Discover are both issuing banks (issue their own credit cards) as well.
What is a payment facilitator?
Stripe, Square, and PayPal are just a few examples of payment facilitators.
What is a merchant?
The vendor who sells services/goods (you). If you use a payment facilitator, it may technically be a shared merchant instead of a "traditional" merchant account with your bank. For simplicity, consider yourself the merchant even if your payment facilitator is the "merchant of record."
Whether you are a restaurant owner or sell jewelry at art festivals, when you accept credit cards, the cardholder can file a credit card dispute (chargeback) with their bank.
Have you ever noticed hosts say an Airbnb rep. told them they cannot charge a guests credit card without their permission? What about owners who said their Vrbo guest agreed to their cancellation policy but still won in a chargeback dispute?
The credit card networks (VISA, Mastercard, Discover, American Express) set certain policies that merchants must abide by when accepting their cards. And these policies can vary between industries. One of these policies is how a cancellation policy should be presented to the credit card holder.
Some owners have lost chargeback disputes because they did not follow the credit card network policies. But who reads through all that fine print?
The card network may have required the merchant to obtain the card holder's signature within so many inches of the cancellation policy. This information could have been buried on page 50. And the host was told a signature at the very bottom of the rental agreement was not sufficient to meet the card network's requirements.
Always require Id of the credit card holder so the guest does not claim the transaction was not authorized. Include a signature line within less than an inch of your cancellation policy. Bold some of the text so the font is conspicuous as well. It's much more difficult for a guest to dispute they overlooked a policy like this:
The above will wipe out 95% of issues. Guests will still often ask what their cancellation options are, even after agreeing to your policies. And you are always free to override your policy and make an exception.
Both Stripe and Square have their own best practices for fraud and chargebacks. I will highlight those in another post.