Understanding Credit Card Authorizations

When SWRemote customers require their technicians to get credit card authorization for work to be completed, our software uses the swiped or keyed-in credit card information to authorize a specific amount, based on the invoice that has been created in the field.  Typically, work is completed on-site and no changes are made to the invoice once work is done.  In that scenario, once the technician completes the job summary and closes the call, SWRemote sends what's called a "capture" message to our payment gateway that tells your processor to actually retrieve the funds that were previously authorized.  Once those funds are captured, your processor (not SWRemote) determines how long the wait period will be before money is actually deposited into your merchant bank account.

What happens if the invoice changes AFTER our customer authorizes the work?

Sometimes technicians have to change or update an invoice after a customer has authorized work to be completed.  In this case, SWRemote sends a void message to the payment gateway to cancel the original authorization and then sends a NEW authorization based on the updated invoice.

Even though SWRemote sends a void message to the payment gateway, it is at the sole discretion of the credit/debit card-issuing bank as to when the original authorization will be cancelled. This time period could be up to 30 days.

SWRemote asked PayFlow Pro to clarify the rules behind authorizations & voids. PayFlow Pro's response is below: 

This is actually up to the card company the cards are held with. Some card companies will release authorizations right away once voided, where some will actually hold them for a full 30 days.

It will depend on the company and their policies.

Merchant Services
PayPal, an eBay Company

Is SWRemote planning any changes to its credit card processing?

Yes. We are currently looking at three additional avenues to improve our current offering.  

  • First, we will implement changes to the current process to limit the scenarios where additional authorizations are needed. This will further minimize the possibility that your customers receive "holds" on their credit cards, but it will not eliminate that possibility as it is not our policy but rather the issuing banks'.
  • Second, we are looking at additional technologies other than swiping that may allow our customers to continue receiving competitive rates without the need for additional hardware/peripherals.  It is important to note that already today, you may key-in credit card data (we advise you to consult with your merchant bank to understand your processing rate structure).
  • Third, we are investigating integrations with third-party mobile payment apps widely available on the iOS and Android platforms.


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