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Authorize vs Capture

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  • Authorize vs Capture

    We currently only authorize people's credit cards because we take orders for items on back order and don't want to charge someone's credit card before an item has shipped.

    Right now we manually have to go into the system and enter tracking information, say the item "shipped", then capture the payment.

    This worked fine for a little, but as our business grows, this becomes a tedious daily process and the more automation, the better.

    It looks like I am going to have to get a custom design through 3dcart that automatically moves an item to "shipped" and captures the payment anytime we bulk upload tracking numbers.

    a) Before I do move forward, does anyone have a better way to do this?
    b) If anyone else needs this done, I'd be happy to discuss splitting some of the programming, haha


  • #2
    How long of a period are things usually backordered? We were told by our cc company that as long as it ships within 21 days it is OK to charge (our backorders are less than 14 days).

    The problem that we had was when we authorized only, by the time we captured many time the customer didn't have enough room on their card for the purchase. They were then upset with us as they assumed they were charged when the order was placed, and it just ended up being a nightmare almost every single day. Then again, our customers are planning weddings, and their cards are being used left and right, exceeding their limits quite often.


    • #3
      I think that the "hold" placed on a card when it is authorized only, expires in a few days, so, unless you capture within a few days, problems can result. We've had an issue with this over the years. We would sometimes have customers where the charge would appear on their statement in a day or two, before we'd had time to ship. (The digital age results in this) The again, we couldn't "authorize" ONLY with 3dcart anyway, since not all the card precoessing companies were "fully" integrated. One solution our card processor offered was the "pend" feature. You could "pend" all transactions and then release at a later time. But, then again, this was just a hassle, as well. Still, we could "pend" for a day or two, and then go "un-pend" all the transactions every few days.
      What we ended up doing is full charge at purchase time and we strive for same day if not next day shipping. Working okay now. Another thing we did is replace the "in-stock" message with "Ships out in 3-4 days" or 1-2 or 4-6 or whatever, based on the manufacturer of the product
      Last edited by Mark; 02-25-2010, 09:15 PM.


      • #4
        We use that wording also, to make sure the customer is well informed. We also send (thanks to Stoneedge Order Manager) an automated email when the order is downloaded, letting the customer know the estimated ship date right away. Haven't had any issues in the last 4 years via this method. But the authorize only then capture upon shipping method--that was a nightmare for all concerned.


        • #5
          But, thenm again, that has problems as well. Some customers say it said "Ships out in 1-2 days" and it's been 3 days already! Where's my stuff! :rolleyes:

          It's hard to explain in that little area next to the product that what this REALLY means is that in 1-2 days, the product is usually loaded onto a carrier truck within that 1-2 days, then from that point on, it takes a few more days, or more, depending on where you are located and where the shipping warehouse is located, to arrive to you, not including weekend days, holidays, weather conditions and other elements beyond our control.

          But, that's all part of doing business! :D


          • #6
            I appreciate all your answers and insight.

            At the end of the day, all the biggest e-commerce websites authorize your credit card and don't charge until they ship.

            It makes sense because paying for an item and not having it ship for a week or two has become unacceptable to consumers. I personally don't mind, but I see why it needs to be done.

            As this has become the norm in the industry, it doesn't make sense that charging cards has to be such a manual process.

            If I bulk upload or use an API for tracking information, the order automatically moves to shipped and a confirmation email is sent. This is the time that if you are authorized only, 3dcart should automatically capture payment. I will mention this in the new feature section as well. I feel this is vital for medium to large size sites who don't want to manually charge each credit card (very time consuming and too much room for human error).

            Am I miss something? Is there an API for charging credit cards when an item ships?