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I just moved to Manchester and I'm staying at a hostel. I booked a bed online via hostelworld.com. What bothers me is that a receptionist asked me to give her my debit card in order to ensure some sort of security. She wrote down the details of my debit card. Is that legal to do so?

  • Legal, or within the rules of the credit card processor? We need a location tag too. And welcome! – MrChrister Jun 12 '13 at 14:35
  • Yeap, Manchester, United Kingdom – ucas Jun 12 '13 at 14:39
  • Alright, is that legal? Cause I am afraid that someone can use my debit card details for bad; steal money from me. In fact, I just spent a night at hotel in Bradford, United Kingdom. So, they asked for my debit card too; swaped it once on there till machine. – ucas Jun 12 '13 at 14:44
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    You aren't supposed to give your debit card details, because you wouldn't get the fraud protection as available from a credit card. Cancel your debit card or say it is stolen or something. Generally it would have been provided to them from the booking site to confirm your reservation, you shouldn't have been asked to provide it again. – DumbCoder Jun 12 '13 at 15:01
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    @DumbCoder what are you talking about? Have you ever stayed at a hotel? – littleadv Jun 12 '13 at 17:18
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It is legal and is a common practice. Hotels take your credit/debit card information in case there are additional charges (incidentals) billed to you during your stay, or to ensure you pay if you didn't pre-pay. Every hotel does it. If they just swiped it - the information is in the computer, but they still keep it.

You might see a pending charge from the hotel on your account. It is an "authorization", not a real charge. You should make sure they cancel it when you leave as to not hold funds on your account tied up unnecessarily.

As to your concerns - when you leave, request to take that note from the reception after you've paid your bill. Debit card transactions without a swiped card and typed-in PIN are considered credit card transactions (except that they're charged to your account immediately) and enjoy the same fraud protections. So unless you've given them your PIN as well (which you should never do), you're OK.

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