Debiting the pre-auth amount - anyone?

Just seeing if anyone has any knowledge of pre-auth and capture.

I know a sale transaction (auth+capture) does it in one transaction. You then need to refund if there’s an issue.

Whilst the pre-auth creates a hold on an amount, and the token returned can be later used to attempt to capture the actual amount (the held amount being the guaranteed minimum available to capture). If they don’t capture within 30 days the token expires.

What Im trying to establish can a business pre-auth an amount, then immediately capture that amount held regardless of what the actual amount was?

£30 pre-auth, only £5 used, £30 captured, then £25 refunded.

£30 pre-auth, failed transaction, £30 captured, then £30 refunded.

Are there any rules to say the captured amount must be the actual amount used?

It doesn’t have to be, no… think of prepay fuel - capture £99 then only take what is spent - or electric chargers that do the same but in £10 or so chunks.

As long as the final value is posted fairly quickly, it’s fine (people get upset if you wait a week to do it… the process can be done in a couple of minutes).

I’ve also seen it where they take the whole amount and refund the difference in a separate transaction (which looks wierd in the timeline, but balances). Works both ways.

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The pay at fuel pumps don’t capture £99 though (unless you managed to actually fill up £99 worth).

They pre-auth £99 which ring fences £99 funds, the amount is then known eg £40 filled up and then £40 is captured.

What I’ve never seen is pre-auth £99, the amount is known £40, then £99 is captured regardless of the actual amount, then £54 is later refunded in a second transaction.

Basically I’m just seeing if anyone knows if the captured amount should be the actual amount?

Otherwise what would stop at pre-auth of £99 and a capture of £1000, and then later refund £901 (not talking pumps here but anything pre-auth’d)

It’s the equivalent of a sale transaction where someone says that’ll be £99 then, and manually punches in £1000 to pay instead. Don’t worry I’ll refund the £901 in the next 30 days.

I actually had an experience recently with a local taxi company app where they said it was gonna cost e.g. £7. I clicked to pay, it brought up the Apple Pay payment screen, didn’t say any different amount, then as soon as I authorised it they charged my card (including on the pre-auth) something like £10 instead. I was a bit :scream: but I had more pressing things to deal with so just left it instead of querying it. A few days later they refunded the difference - without me saying anything - so not sure what they were playing at.

Not quite the same as what you were talking about but :man_shrugging:.

Also had an experience with Tesco a year or 2 ago where they settled the transaction a few pounds more than what they had done for the pre-auth. It was just a normal transaction in their grocery shop, not petrol or anything, so obviously there was no reason for them to change the transaction value. I only noticed it by accident because I have roundups switched on and there was a glaring unrounded transaction in my feed, which when I clicked on saw that it still had money go into my round up pot. Monzo refunded me (the difference I assume but can’t remember).

I’ve definitely seen a refund in a separate transaction… luckily it was fully automated. I think it was a way to get around their payment processor being slow to finalise transactions… the original transaction stayed pending for about a day then took the full amount, whereas the refund had taken about 3 seconds. No idea if they’re still having to do it as I haven’t used that service in a while.

Taking more must be possible because currency fluctuations can cause it. I’m pretty sure though that if you tried to take a lot you’d just end up with the transaction reversed after the customer queried it.

My advice is always use a credit card so they ring fence the banks money and not your own.