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Authorize_Capture vs. Authorize only - most common workflow?


We're working on getting a shopping cart finished up on our site (it's called RedShop and on a Joomla site). We've got an plugin installed and working in test mode right now. But the shopping cart component was developed in Denmark, so some things are a little different than what may be standard here in the US. And because of the cultural differences, we're having some difficulty getting clear instruction from them.


This is a bit new to me, so I'm just trying to understand how we SHOULD set up our transaction workflow.


The customer is a small non-profit that is selling products (t-shirts, purses, etc.) and will be manually shipping these out via USPS. It's a pretty small operation. There will be about 20 products.


So the plugin has two default settings - 'Auth_Capture' and 'Auth_Only'. Then there are options to setup an 'Order Status for Successful Transactions' and a 'Capture Payment Status'.


We've been testing in 'Auth_Capture' mode, and it appears that the transactions process immediately upon a placed order. It doesn't seem to matter what I set 'Order Status for Successful Transaction' to (I'm wondering if this would be more for 'Authorize Only' transactions?). But whatever we set 'Capture Payment Status' to will cause a duplicate transaction to happen if the order is switched back to that status in the shop. The default for both of these settings was 'Confirmed'.


  • So what would be the most typical workflow for a small shop like this in the US?
  • What would the pros/cons be if we set it to Auth_Only? I'm guessing the 'Capture Payment Status' would then be set to something like 'Shipped' so that when the client ships the product and changes this status accordingly the payment would be completed/fully processed?!?
  • If we go with a Auth_Only setup, is a hold placed on funds to guarantee they're available when we change the status and force the 'capture' part of the transaction?

Thanks! It just seemed standard to us that the funds would be captured upon order (that's what I 'think' is happening whenever I buy something online - possibly not?!?). But apparently in Denmark there is a law against charging for something before it's shipped, so the shop is setup by default to work that way.



Depends. Sometimes companies authorize and then capture later when the products are actually shipped. The capture can be done through a page on your site using the transaction ID, or through the account area. Other companies charge up front and authorize and capture at the same time. Which method you use is up to you - I don't think there's any legal requirement for one vs the other here in the US - just keep in mind that you can only capture a transaction within a certain number of days of it being authorized (I think 7 days). By context, I would think this in turn means that authorize is in fact reserving the money, otherwise there wouldn't be that short a time limit. Either way, you get charged one transaction fee (10 cents?) for both authorize and capture.


There's also settlement to keep mindful of. Even captured transactions don't immediately transfer money to your bank account, if I'm understanding the flow properly - it's only when they're officially settled that you get the money. I think the default is to settle once per day, and you get charged 20 cents (or 25 if I'm remembering incorrectly) per batch settled.


Short version - it boils down to personal taste, average transaction size, and volume of transactions.


OK, thanks for the insight. I was mostly just searching for pros & cons or most common methods.


So with the settlement issue you're mentioning, are you just saying the client would get their money later due to the capture happening later??


Or are you saying that with this method the captures would be one-at-a-time, instead of batched every 24-hours like what happens with Authorize/Capture, and therefore, they would accumulate more fees??


Thanks! Anyone else have opinions here?!?



Capture means the transaction is submitted to the financial institution of whoever is paying. Settlement means you actually get the money. I'm pretty sure there's both a transaction fee for every authorize and capture and then a batch settlement fee for every settlement run, depending on your settings for how often you want to settle and get your money.

OK, thanks. I spoke with someone from today so I understand the process a bit better.


But I was testing an 'Authorize Only' type of workflow, where the initial order would cause an Authorize Only transaction and then when the client changed the status to 'Shipped' the capture transaction would take place.


When the order was placed I did get a receipt showing the transaction type as 'Authorize Only'.


But when I switched the order to 'Shipped', the transaction was exactly the same and still listed the type as 'Authorize Only'.


  • Should that second email (when the product was set to 'Shipped') have had a different type than 'Authorize Only'? Maybe 'Captured' or 'Prior Authorization Capture'???
  • Could this be not working since the account is still set to TEST mode?


Thanks! Getting this shopping cart working properly has been the most difficult project we've ever had - and we're not novice web designers.

Don't know what you're doing exactly, but if you're doing this programmatically, you need to submit a prior auth capture with the transaction ID of your original authorize.

OK, thanks.


It looks like our shopping cart software is sending another 'Authorize Only' request when it SHOULD be sending the 'Prior Authorization Capture'. So a customer would get a duplicate authorization, but no funds would be captured. Not ideal.


I'll have to see if the developers of our shopping cart even know how this is supposed to work. We may have to go back to an 'Auth_Capture' workflow if they don't get this working properly.



I am lil unaware or i should say confused amount this terminology which is

Auth_Capture, Auth_only., could any one explain me what it is?

And i have been trying to integrate with SIM Api which says AUTHORIZED and Captured after 

successful submition of transaction.


I dont understand this.. Plz help.

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