How long is a credit card authorization valid for?

The short answer is, all preauthorizations, expire within 24 hours for swiped transactions and 3 business days for non-swiped card-not-present transactions. Preauthorizations are an ‘open to buy’ hold on a customer credit card. While merchants can still settle transactions after an expired authorization, it impacts fees and chargeback risk from disputes. This answer addresses manufacturers,  distributors, and business to business companies that process orders with future deliveries, some that can take days, weeks, or even months.*

“Authorizations and preauthorizations are commonly misunderstood”, according to Christine Speedy, 3D Merchant sales. “Merchants frequently say, ‘I’ve never had a problem settling a transaction that was more than 5 days in the past’. That’s true, but the downside is cost and risk management. In order to qualify for the lowest merchant fees for any transaction type, merchants must have a valid authorization. Additionally, if there’s a dispute, without a valid authorization, the risk of loss is significantly higher.”

Since it’s inefficient and nearly impossible for merchants to manage identifying when authorizations have expired for open buys, or when related rules change, a rules-based cloud payment system is critical. With automation to manage proper authorization and settlement, merchants will reduce merchant fees with any merchant account, and reduce risk.

CenPOS is a merchant centric payment platform that solves this and other complex credit card processing problems. Sales Christine Speedy 954-942-0483.


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