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When to Force vs. Manually Authorize and Capture Funds

When to Force vs. Manually Authorize and Capture Funds
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As a business owner, you’re bound to run into numerous scenarios as you accept customer payments. Because there are quite a few ways a transaction can go awry, there are dozens of error codes to familiarize yourself with. By knowing what you’re capable of in the system, you can provide an informed response and accept payments with ease, ultimately reducing payment friction and generating more repeat business.

PayJunction’s Virtual Terminal allows you to charge, refund, authorize or force a transaction. In this post, we’ll focus on authorization versus force and when it’s appropriate to take each action.

How to Force a Transaction and Obtain a Force Code

As we stated above, there are many error codes that the issuing bank might send in the event of a credit card decline. Some are more specific, others are less so. One common, generic code is 05 Do Not Honor.

This code blocks the transaction, but doesn’t necessarily mean the card is fraudulent or that the transaction is risky. The transaction could decline if the customer has exceeded her daily limit or if the item value is high. For instance, a customer may have $10,000 in his bank account and have a daily credit card limit of $1,500. If he wants to buy a $3,000 television, you’ll have to obtain a force code to authorize the transaction until it batches out.

To obtain a force code, call the 800 number on the back of the customer’s card. You’ll receive a six-digit authorization code to process the transaction. It’s recommended that you, the business owner, obtain this code directly over the phone because a fraudster could provide a fake code. If it’s fake, the code will fail when you batch out. Because the transaction is forced, the business assumes all risk. We recommend using your best judgment when considering whether to force a transaction.

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When to Manually Authorize and Capture a Transaction

If you want to take a deposit from a customer and don't know what the final amount will be, then you’ll want to authorize the card. For example, if you are a mechanic you may want to authorize a card for $500 before you start ordering parts. The final bill may only be $300, but authorizing the purchase ensures that your customer has the funds before you start the work.

To authorize a transaction, you must obtain the customer's’ card information and signature like with any other transaction, but you do not capture the funds to be deposited with the day’s batch. Per regulation, PayJunction voids uncaptured transactions on the seventh day.

It is up to the card issuing bank to determine how long the held funds are guaranteed. If the funds are no longer available upon capturing, the transaction will fail and will need to be reprocessed. Holds are recommended for short-term situations when it will take a few days to ship the item purchased. This can give you peace of mind knowing the order has been fulfilled.

How to Authorize and Capture Funds With PayJunction


After logging into PayJunction, the process page will automatically load, but if you happen to be on another page, just click “Process” from the menu on the left. Next, enter the card number and select the expiration date. Select “Authorize” from the action menu and enter the amount you would like to hold. Now, enter the billing contact’s first and last name, along with their billing address and ZIP code. When you are finished, click “Process” then “Complete” when the modal pops up.

Doing this will reserve funds until they’re released on the seventh day. During this time, the transaction will remain in your unsettled batch. If you haven’t captured the funds within seven days, our system will automatically void the transaction and release your customer’s funds.

When you are ready to capture the funds, click on “Recent” from the menu on the left. If your transaction was recent, it will show up in the transactions list with a blue “Hold” icon in the status bar. But if you don’t see it here, just filter the results by selecting “Hold” from the status menu at the top of the page.

Once you have located your transaction, hover over the eye icon and click “View Transaction” from the sub-menu. When the page loads, click “Capture” from the menu on the top of the page. When you set a transaction to capture, it will be processed in your next batch.

If you need to change the amount you want to charge, go back to the transaction results page, hover over the eye icon and select “Edit” from the sub-menu. When the page loads, change the amount you want to charge and click save changes. This will take you to the transaction page where you can select “Capture” from the menu at the top of the page.

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Picture of Christina Lavingia

Christina Lavingia

Christina Lavingia delights in crafting content that helps business owners fight fraud, reduce risk and process payments with ease.

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