Understanding the MOHOBOOK + SSL + InterFAX Connection

UPDATE: As of Version 4.5.0 MOHOBOOK offers a seamless integration with Stripe for those who wish to facilitate real-time credit card payments

UPDATE: The following article is still relevant with the added information that InterFAX now offers a PCI Inbound Fax Account, plus MOHOBOOK now has the ability to connect to the InterFAX PCI Outbound API

This article is intended to help you understand how to retrieve your guest’s credit card information during an Online or Frontdesk booking, so that you can exercise your cancellation or damage policies.

Although MOHOBOOK has the ability to collect your guest’s credit card information, it does not process the credit card in real time, nor does it store this information (excluding the scenario where Stripe has been enabled for Booking Engine bookings).

Naturally you are wondering if the card data is not stored, how can it be accessed at a later date in the event of a no-show or damage?

Let us first say that it is not stored simply because the storage of sensitive financial information requires strict policies and specific hardware configurations, both of which are likely too difficult to implement and maintain for the average small business.

As an alternative, we integrate with a third party called InterFAX to send you the information by fax (as an image). These images are much different than raw data in a database or email messages, which makes them extremely difficult to extract text from, moreover if you have configured your InterFAX account as outlined below, these images are automatically deleted after the completed transmission.

If you are not already integrating with InterFAX and you would like to enable this feature, here are the steps you should follow:

STEP 1: Whenever you are dealing with sensitive information, particularly financial information, you require an SSL certificate on your website, this will ensure any data leaving your website is securely encrypted during transmission. SSL certificates have become very affordable and can usually be purchased directly from your web hosting company

Once you’re certificate is installed, ensure your public facing page where MOHOBOOK has been embedded is forced to use the secure protocol https://

This also applies to accessing the Frontdesk in the event you will be collecting guest’s payment information during phone-in and walk-in bookings

STEP 2: You will need to order an InterFAX account next but when doing this, ensure you order what they refer to as a “SEND” account. This simply means that MOHOBOOK will be delivering encrypted information to InterFAX and InterFAX will be “sending” it to you

InterFAX offers a prepaid model starting at $10 which equates to approximately 90 faxes (or 90 bookings based on Canada, a little less for United States)

Once you have a registered a new account, it is important to log in, find your Preferences, and enable the setting titled “Delete image after completion”

STEP 3: Log in to the MOHOBOOK Frontdesk, click on Settings and below the Payments tab and put a checkmark in the “Enable InterFAX” box and enter the username and password associated to your InterFAX account. Enter your fax number starting with “1” (avoid spaces, dashes, etc.). Click the Save button to save your changes

These are all the steps required to begin receiving copies of your reservations that include your guest’s credit card information.

Below are some common questions and answers around this topic:

Q: How do I know if my guests are entering valid credit card numbers?

A: MOHOBOOK uses algorithms to test for card number validity based on industry standards, and although without actually processing the card it is impossible to prevent fake cards 100% of the time, but these algorithms will trap many if not most bogus attempts

Q: How long should I keep these faxes?

A: You should be exercising best judgment for the safety of both you and your guests, in other words, once you no longer require a guest’s credit card information, the fax should be destroyed

Q: Are these additional costs ongoing?

A: An SSL certificate typically costs $50 to $100 per year, and any costs associated with InterFAX should be directly related to booking revenue, in other words, you are not depleting your InterFAX account balance unless you are getting bookings (which equates to roughly ten cents per booking)

Q: What if I don’t require guest’s payment information?

A: If you don’t have the payment section enabled in MOHOBOOK, or you have little risk of cancellations and damage, then you probably don’t need to worry about SSL and InterFAX

Q: Are there any special technical requirements?

A: Your web hosting configuration must include SOAP (in most cases this will already be done but you can check with your hosting provider if you’re not sure, otherwise they can install it fairly easily)

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