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Airbnb Guest Wants to Pay Cash [2020]: Why This Isn’t a Good Idea…

Airbnb made its name in offering casual, personal accommodations in contrast to the traditional hotel-style lodgings commonly found across the globe. Guests often expect a close relationship with their hosts, sometimes to the point of wanting to pay “under the table”, or in cash. Unfortunately, this raises some issues in Airbnb’s eyes.

What do you do if Your Airbnb Guest Wants to Pay Cash?

Paying cash for an Airbnb is strictly prohibited in their terms of service. In fact, it is not allowed to accept any kind of payment outside of Airbnb’s system at all. Both guests and hosts should be wary of anyone requesting money or trying to pay for something using an outside party. Airbnb does support third party payment options in select countries, but these still must be used within Airbnb’s website.

Still have questions? Follow along for the latest information on Airbnb’s cash policies!

Can You Pay in Cash for Airbnb?

Airbnb Guests Want to Pay With Cash

Everyone using Airbnb (hosts, guests, and otherwise) is required to go through Airbnb for all payments. Cash is not allowed, especially when it comes to paying for bookings.

Paying cash is a violation of Airbnb’s terms of service. Violating these terms means risking the suspension of your account, among other possible consequences.

Using Airbnb’s payment system has its advantages, however. By going through the “legal” channels, you are protected by Airbnb’s Payment Terms of Service to help prevent fraud or other unfortunate mishaps. Hosts and guests are both bound by the cancellation and refund policies set forth by the listing owner and Airbnb itself in case of a dispute.

Finally, and possibly most importantly, using Airbnb for payments means hosts are protected by their in-house Host Protection Insurance. This service is a great resource for hosts who would otherwise be liable to litigation from guests for things like injuries or accidents on their property during a stay.

It is highly encouraged to report anyone asking for payment outside of Airbnb’s website as these accounts may be fraudulent. Be sure to flag messages like these so Airbnb can take the appropriate steps and keep the community thriving!


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What Payment Methods Does Airbnb Accept?

Airbnb Guests Want to Pay With Cash

Airbnb accepts most major credit and debit cards including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. You can even use prepaid debit cards! In most participating countries, other digital options have become available like Apple and Google Pay as well as PayPal. These options are all very secure and widely known, making paying through Airbnb a no-brainer.

Select locations have country-specific payment options as well. Brazil, India, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Mainland China all offer alternative ways to pay through Airbnb safely and securely.

Ready to learn more? Check out how Airbnb payments work today!

As with lots of prevalent scams nowadays, people are impersonating Airbnb (or someone supposedly “affiliated” with them) to try to collect money fraudulently. They’ve gotten pretty clever, and will create entire fake websites and domain names that look and sound almost exactly like Airbnb.

There are a few telltale signs to look out for to keep yourself and your information safe, according to Airbnb Help:

  • Check the website name. Common fake websites use similar, but not exact, spellings or something like “-bnb.com”.
  • Check the email address. Airbnb Help has a long list of email addresses that they use to contact people. If it isn’t on the list, don’t trust it!
  • Watch out for threatening language. Airbnb (and most legitimate companies) won’t become aggressive with their customers. They also won’t threaten to do things like delete your account or suspend payment if you don’t respond to an “urgent” matter.

Why Does Airbnb Charge Per Guest?

People who aren’t familiar with hosting an Airbnb might not always realize the amount of effort and time that goes into creating the perfect experience for guests. Many hosts are homeowners, maintenance staff, cooks, cleaners, landscapers, and more all at once.

The most guests that stay at an Airbnb, the more work is required to “turn around” the space in between stays. This also involves extra costs associated with stocking supplies, replacing worn out items, and cleaning up more of a mess in general.

Airbnb charges per guest because each person occupying the space will use up some type of resource within the rental.

A lot of people try to circumvent the extra cost of having more guests at an Airbnb by sneaking people in or being misleading about the number of people in their party. This is against the rules of Airbnb and can leave guests liable for all sorts of extra fees and penalties.

I always recommend that hosts charge an “extra guest fee”. This should be outlined clearly in the listing along with a rule prohibiting people that didn’t originally book the listing from using the space.

Usually this fee is significantly higher than the “up front” price per person would be, and as such it acts as a deterrent against rule breaking.

Protecting your Airbnb from unwanted guests starts with clearly stating your policy as mentioned above. If you’re 100% sure that guests are aware that you don’t allow anyone else in the rental besides the designated guests, then you can proceed with some security measures.

Your absolute best bet for protecting your Airbnb against unwelcome visitors is to invest in a security camera. You really only need one at each entrance of your rental, not inside. It’s good practice to disclose that there is surveillance on the premises to your guests, and it is required to do so in many states.

Rental Recon Tip: The price tag of high-tech gadgets may be off-putting to some at first, but the investment is certainly worth it in the long run. I doorbell-style security cameras like the Ring doorbell. I can watch a feed from my phone and get notified when guests (or others) come and go. It’s also handy for letting people in when they’re locked out!

Airbnb insurance is also critical to consider. What a lot of people don’t realize is that your standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover you for Airbnb-related issues!

In fact, your policy can even be cancelled if you operate a business out of your home, which is technically what you’re doing when you host guests for money (even if it’s just occasionally). Be sure you and your guests are protected in case of accidents and injuries!

Can Multiple People Pay for Airbnb?

Technically, multiple people can share the cost of an Airbnb. It just can’t be done within Airbnb’s payment system. Airbnb did offer a feature like this for a short time in 2017, but it unfortunately never took off. We would all love to see it back, but sadly there is no promise of that happening.

If you want to share the cost of an Airbnb with friends, you just need to work out the payment terms on your own. One person will still have to book and pay for the listing, and others can be listed as guests as well. Only the original booker of the listing can pay for it, so the others will have to divvy up the cost and arrange payments.

I'm an Airbnb Superhost sharing my Airbnb journey and tips that I've learned along the way.

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