Pre Authorization Requirements

Read these 3 very important best practices to ensure a smooth pre-authorization process.

For merchants, there are 3 very important best practices you should take into account to be sure that the pre-authorization process goes smoothly for both you and your customer: 

  1. Explain the pre-authorization charge to your customer. Tell them that you are holding funds on their card, and the amount that will be reserved. Check to be sure they understand how long the pre-authorization charge will last. 
  2. Card pre-authorizations are valid for 7 days for MasterCard/American Express and 10 days for Visa/Discover. Be sure to capture the authorized payments before the expiration time frame. For merchants with terminals: you will need the full card number, expiration date and the authorization code to capture the funds held. After the authorization has expired, the pre-authorized funds will be released back to the cardholder and will be available to be withdrawn or spent. If you are past the time frame, you would have to contact the cardholder to process a new payment in order to hold funds again. 
  3. When capturing or finalizing the pre-authorization, please remember to capture only up to the amount of the pre-authorization. The final sale can be less than the pre-authorized amount, but never more than that amount. If you charge an amount more than the pre-authorized amount, it can result in a chargeback for the non-authorized amount over the original pre-authorization.