When you want to rent a French holiday home, you can expect to have to send the owner money well in advance. Typically, the owner will require a deposit of at least 25% immediately, with full payment usually due six weeks or so before your holiday starts.
So you will most likely need to send money internationally. How best to do this?
Sending cash or a personal cheque by mail is not an option. Personal cheques are easy to counterfeit and the Internet is full of scammers who want to pay by cheque.
The owner may offer a couple of options. International bank transfer is the old standard. It is normally slow (taking days to complete a transfer) and expensive.
New services like Transferwise are offering faster, cheaper methods to make international bank transfers. Transferwise is reputable and our experience with it has been positive.
PayPal is a cheap, fast, and secure option, but don't assume that your homeowner offers it.
Many homeowners can accept payment by credit card. If they are using an online payment service like Stripe, this is a secure way to pay. The payment service manages the transaction, and the homeowner will never even see your card number, so your information should not be exposed to the wrong party.
If you're not sure, ask the homeowner who is handling the card transaction. You should not send your credit card information directly to the homeowner, either by email or any other means.