I'm trying to arrange a holiday out to the Aran Islands, and the guesthouse emailed me back confirming that they do have a room available.

But here is the catch: they want me to email my credit card number, expiry date and the CVV to confirm my booking, which makes me a little uneasy. According to this answer, this is quite common.

Unlike the hotel mentioned in that question, the guesthouse is not a large chain that should know better (or be able to hire somebody who does know better).

Given that my card is chip-and-pin, should I be (particularly) worried? If so, what should I do next?

  • How about PayPal?
    – Stone True
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 2:35
  • @StoneTrue I don't have PayPal, and they're a company I'm somewhat leery of. There's also the fact that the Arans are pretty rural, so I don't know if PayPal is even accepted out there.
    – user81469
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 7:37
  • @PhilipRowlands If possible, i would suggest seeing if you can give them the information over the phone. That way it won't linger in their email, and you will know who you are giving it to (if they have a public phone number). Otherwise, what Neil suggested would be better.
    – dakre18
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 13:34

3 Answers 3


Ask your credit card provider for a one-time card number. Or get a new account with a low limit.

Put the credit card number (and maybe a short random string) in a plain text file. 7zip this file with AES encryption. Email the hotel with this file as an attachment. Phone them and tell them the password to decrypt the file.

(You might have to do a bit of "tech support" to help them out, but it's probably worth it)

  • "Use 7zip to encrypt a message including the number w AES" is bit unclear. Can you please give some more details related to it ? Commented May 4, 2016 at 5:48
  • Write a short note, w perhaps the date, and the cc number. Put it in a txt file. Zip it up and attach Commented May 4, 2016 at 5:57
  • 3
    The one-time card is probably the best solution. Thanks!
    – user81469
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 7:50
  • @PhilipRowlands EntroPay seems to offer this service. I don't vouch for them but figured I'd mention it Commented May 4, 2016 at 19:32
  • Calling them to provide the password, plus directions on how to obtain and use an encrypted ZIP utility can't possibly be easier than just calling them up and telling them the debit card info, can it?
    – Jeff Meden
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 20:03

It's quite common for hotels to pre authorise payment using your card details. This is to prove you are who you say you are and check you have sufficient funds for your stay. Although emailing may not be the safest way of sending your credit card details. Perhaps a phone call would be better but still not "secure" What I would suggest is that you opt to pay a deposit using their website (if they have one) then they could collect the rest of the payment when you arrive

  • Unfortunately, no website - it's a pretty rural area, and this is one of the smaller guesthouses.
    – user81469
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 7:44

Another solution which guarantees the peace of mind is a prepaied "credit" card. This way you can never be charged more than you've put in. Depending on the card, you may also save foreign exchange fees.

Both Mastercard and visa issues these, but they're probably easier to get from third-party organisations.

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