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Airbnb will now let you book by paying 50 percent in advance

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The total price for the rental has to be at least $250, and the trip must be booked two weeks in advance

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Airbnb is introducing a new way for users to pay for rentals, letting them reserve accommodation by paying 50 percent upfront and 50 percent before they arrive. The feature, called Pay Less Up Front, effectively lets customers stagger the cost of accommodation. It’s perfect if you’re managing a budget, but want to make sure you don’t lose the rental for your upcoming vacation.

Before this feature was introduced, rentals had to be paid for 100 percent up front. Airbnb says it hopes the feature will encourage customers to pick pricier accommodations.

There are some requirements, though: the rental has to be booked 14 days before check-in, and must cost at least $250. Airbnb also notes that the split between paying now and paying later is usually 50/50, but might sometimes vary. The company said that when given the option to pay less up front, 40 percent of customers did so.

How “Pay Less Up Front” looks while booking accommodation on the web.
Image: Airbnb

This isn’t the first new payment feature Airbnb has introduced lately. Last November, it also debuted group payments, letting up to 16 guests book an accommodation together, splitting the cost within 72 hours of booking.

What’s not clear from Airbnb’s press statement is whether paying 50 percent upfront locks in the accommodation. Unscrupulous renters sometimes accept and then reject advanced bookings when they realize their accommodation is in high demand and they can get a better price. We’ve reached out to Airbnb to confirm that the Pay Less Up Front feature locks in the rental.