Payment authorization

When a customer makes a payment using a credit card, the payment information needs to be captured and sent to their bank for processing. If you are using Shopify Payments or another credit card payment provider, then you'll need to decide how to capture payment from your customers. You can configure your settings to automatically capture payment at the time of the sale, or manually capture payment later. If you set up manual capture, you will have to capture payments from the Orders page in your admin.

What is a credit card authorization period?

All credit card payment providers have an authorization period to allow a charge to be made to a customer's credit card. The authorization process first checks that the credit card is valid, and then that the card has enough funds on it for the transaction.

The authorization period will end after a certain amount of time. The length of the authorization period depends on your credit card payment provider. You need to capture a payment within the authorization period to collect money for your order.

Shopify Payments provides an authorization period of 7 days.

Extended authorization periods

Merchants using the Shopify Plus plan have extended authorization periods when certain credit cards are used at checkout.

Extended authorization periods differ, depending on the issuing bank of a credit card. Some cards might not support extended authorization periods, so you should monitor your Orders page for expiring authorizations.

Starting October 21, 2020, if you manually capture a payment after the standard seven day period, then a 1.75% charge will apply to the transaction in addition to standard credit card fees.

Authorization periods for different credit card providers.
Card type Authorization period
Visa Up to 30 days
Mastercard Up to 30 days
Discover Up to 10 days
JCB Up to 10 days
American Express 7 days
Diners Club 7 days
China Union Pay 7 days

If you have a payment that wasn't captured within seven days and you don't want to incur this fee, then cancel the order and create a new one. The authorization expiry date is displayed on the Orders page.

Set up automatic capture of credit card payments

Most merchants set their stores to capture credit card payments automatically. This allows the store to automatically charge customers' cards before the authorization period ends, which saves time when processing orders.

Steps:

  1. In the Payment capture section, select Automatically capture payment for orders.

  2. Click Save.

Set up manual capture of credit card payments

Steps:

  1. In the Payment capture section, select Manually capture payment for orders.

  2. Optional: If you use Shopify Payments and you want to receive emails before the authorization period for each order ends, then check Send a warning email when authorizations are close to expiring. If you select this option but you don't use Shopify Payments, then you won't receive warning emails.

  3. Click Save.

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