How to add freight cost after credit card preauthorization

A preauthorization, or authorization hold, is a temporary hold on a customer’s credit card until final settlement. In this B2B transaction scenario, such as for distributors and manufacturers, the customer buys an item online, for example via Woocommerce or Shopify; the customer does not save their card on file or use a saved card on file, in which case different rules apply. Compliance with credit card processing rules improves authorization approvals, mitigates risk and reduces merchant fees.

On the merchant side for ecommerce sale described: request for authorization goes out and the issuer responds with an approval code if all goes well. By also using 3-D Secure, the merchant shifts fraud liability to the issuer, reduces chargeback risk and can potentially qualify for reduced merchant fees. An additional authorization is not required if the final settlement amount is not more than 15% of the original authorization. Note, this is based upon scenario described! However, depending on the card type, the qualified interchange rate may downgrade to the worst rate possible due to authorization and settlement mismatch; The same applies if the final settlement on the original authorization is less.

Some, but not all payment gateways and API’s have solutions to help merchants resolve the mismatch problem.

How can merchant maximize profits on this type of transaction? Here are some requirements:

  1. Settlement date must be within 2 days of the transaction date.
  2. Settlement date must be within 7 days of initial authorization for purchasing cards (non-gov)
  3. Obtain and pass 1 valid electronic authorization. Authorization and
    settlement MCC must match. One authorization reversal is allowed.
  4. Transaction date must equal shipping date and that date is no more than 7 days after authorization.
  5. Transaction must include order number and either customer service phone number, URL or email.
  6. Must have secured E-Commerce indicator of “5” or “6”. The POS Condition Code must be “59”. Must perform Cardholder Authentication Verification Value (CAVV) and AVS4 (zip code, except goverment cards).
  7. Must Pass Level II and Level III Data.

Failure to meet all requirements can increase merchant fees more to an additional 1% or more of the transaction amount.


Visa Product and Services Rules, section

Christine Speedy, Founder 3D Merchant Services, is a credit card processing expert with specialized expertise in card not present and omnichannel technology. Christine is an authorized reseller for Elavon and CenPOS products and services, in addition to other solutions. Call Christine for payment gateway, cloud technology, merchant services and check processing needs.

Visa Authorization Rentals Rules Change

Visa announced sweeping changes to rental industry card acceptance rules in October 2016. Key changes include defining who initiated transaction, transaction data sent, authorization rules, stored card rules, and customer communications. Compliance will increase approvals and mitigate fraud risk;  Failure to comply will increase financial risk and issuer declines while reducing EBIDTA.

Visa Expansion of Special Authorization Allowances

Effective 15 October 2016, 22 April 2017, and 14 October 2017
Revisions have been made to rules related to the processing of Estimated Authorization Requests, Initial Authorization Requests, and Incremental Authorization Requests, as well as Authorization Reversals, Issuer hold releases, and Chargeback rights. These changes impact issuer, merchant, customer, and acquirer- whatever merchants have in place today is not sufficient for the future.

visa rental authorization rules 2017

Partial excerpt from section 5, Visa Core Rules. Applicable merchants should read the entire table and additional sections.

Truck and heavy duty equipment rental authorizations. Aircraft rental, Bicycle rental, Boat rental, Car rental, Equipment rental, Motor home rental, Motorcycle rental, Trailer park or campground rental are all impacted.

A core concept is authorization validity, which impacts merchant rights and potentially credit card processing rate qualification. An invalid authorization equates to no authorization. Card issuers will be within their rights to use reason code 72 and chargeback, or ACH, funds from merchant bank account on the next settlement day, for failure to comply with authorization rules. This is a significant change for most rental companies, as in the past, businesses typically responded to cardholder initiated disputes, a completely different scenario, and win a good portion of them.

With payment processing technology updates, rental companies can increase profits by complying with the new rules, including for guaranteed reservations. EBITDA is improved with increased approvals, lower qualified interchange rates, and fewer chargebacks.

What’s a valid authorization? It’s partially described in Special Authorization Request Allowances and Requirements. Key elements:

  • Stored credential– rules for storing; what associated data is required on file and what is submitted with transaction, including same transaction ID required for all subsequent authorizations after initial approval.
  • Estimated Authorization– indicator the authorization is an initial estimate and final amount is unknown is sent with transaction. TIP:  If the amount could change because the renter did not bring item back in time, or there are other terms in the contract where customer agrees to pay more under certain conditions such as damages or refueling, then the initial transaction is an Estimate.
  • Incremental authorization  – must use same transaction ID as estimate, and submit with incremental authorization indicator
  • Visa now groups transaction types into ‘customer initiated’ and ‘merchant initiated’. For card not present, a transaction is only considered customer initiated, if Verified by Visa is used. Verified by Visa (VbyV) is their brand name for the global 3-D Secure cardholder authentication protocol for customer initiated card not present transactions.

Updated Checkout Flow For Online Rental Booking:

  • Opt-in to no-show policy, terms and conditions
  • Authenticate cardholder
  • Authorize with the estimate indicator
  • Deliver email confirmation with the policy
  • Incremental auths with same Trans ID only.
  • Close transaction by day 31; partial reversal same transaction ID if applicable.
  • If ticket closed, open new estimated auth.


  • April 22, 2017 – The Merchant must use the Estimated/Initial Authorization Request indicator.
  • 22 April 2017 – The Merchant must use the Incremental Authorization Request indicator and the same Transaction Identifier for all Authorization Requests.

Without action to update rental authorizations in advance of the April dates, financial exposure for prior months may be significant.

Visa Core Rules see Table 5-16: Special Authorization Request Allowances and Requirements and other pages.

Christine Speedy, authorized CenPOS reseller, provides universal payment processing solutions to maximize merchant profits and mitigate risk across multiple sales channels. To get a CenPOS account and Dynamics AX, SAP, Bluebird or other compatible plugin, contact Christine at 954-942-0483. 

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.