Troubleshooting Card Payments

Billy Fluck
Billy Fluck
  • Updated

Card payments should normally complete as expected but every now and then you may have a problem that needs dealing with.  This article lists the main issues and how to solve them:


The basics of card authorisation

  1. When you submit a card payment, Spektrix sends the card details and the numbers from the 1st line of the customer's address and postcode through to your payment service provider (PSP).

  2. The PSP receive the details and sends them to the bank - instructing them to remove the money from the customer's account.

  3. The bank immediately removes the money and informs the PSP that this is complete as well as sending back the results of any address checks.

  4. The PSP check the results of the address checks:

    • If the checks meet the requirements that you have set up (such as requiring a post code match) then the PSP send a "confirm" result to Spektrix and we complete the transaction as expected

    • If the checks do not meet your requirements, the PSP send a "Fail" result to Spektrix and we decline the authorisation.  The PSP also instruct the bank to pay the money back into the customer's account.

  5. If successful the PSP logs that transaction in a batch - along with all your other transactions.  

  6. At the end of the day the PSP will close that batch off from any other transactions and send it to the bank.

  7. The bank receive the batch file and run it overnight, transferring the money (which has already been withdrawn from the customer's account) into your bank account.

  8. The PSP then mark the batch as "Settled"


Card Not Authorised

The most likely cause of a "Card not authorised" error is that the customer's address details are incorrect.  

This means that two things have happened during the transaction:

  1. The customer's bank have reported to your PSP that there is a mismatch between the address data provided from Spektrix and the address on file at the bank.  

  2. The rules on address checking that you have set up with your PSP have caused the transaction to be rejected.  For example you have told your PSP to reject transactions if there is a mismatch in the postcode

Although it's often very frustrating for the customer, there is no way around this without changing the authorisation rules (see below) - they should be advised to speak to their bank to check their address details.  The customer should then change their address in Spektrix (or at the Bank if it's incorrect) and try again.

Attempting the purchase multiple times with an incorrect address may cause ringfencing (see below)


Changing the rules for rejecting payments

If you wish you can change the rules for rejecting a transaction with your PSP.  This must be a decision made by the venue - address checks are present to help prevent fraud and chargebacks - they can also reduce the rates you pay to your bank on card transactions.  

You should consider whether your venue is at risk of fraudulent transactions and decide what level of protection you wish to use:

The main options are:

  • To check CV2, 1st line of address and postcode all match

  • To check CV2 and postcode match

  • To only check CV2 matches

To change your settings:

  • If you use YesPay send an email to Spektrix Support with the desired settings.

  • If you use SagePay you can set up rules in "My SagePay" which depend on the amount of the total transaction.  Call support for help with this. 


Checking the reason for a failed authorisation

If you are using SagePay you can see which part of the address failed the check by logging into "My SagePay" and viewing the failed transaction.  The column on the right show different coloured shields depending on the result - green for a match, red for a mismatch.


  • CV2 is the customer's 3 digit security number.
  • Add is the 1st line of the customer's address.
  • PC is the Post Code.
  • 3D is the 3D secure result (if applicable).
  • T3M is a third party fraud score that SagePay apply to all transactions.



Ring Fenced Payments

A ring fenced payment occurs when the customer's card does not authorise and the bank do not immediately pay the money back into the customer's account (see stages 3 & 4 in the section above).

In this case, if the customer tries multiple times with incorrect details then they may have multiple amounts ringfenced.

The customer may be able to see this money as withdrawn on their online statements and the bank may even inform the customer that the money has been withdrawn (as those funds are not available).

Again, although this can be very frustrating for a customer this is a common problem with any business that provides card authorisations - although larger companies (such as Amazon or Tesco) have their own authorisation processes built for them that prevent this sort of issue.

The funds should eventually be repaid to the customer but we've found that the best way to resolve it is for them to contact a senior member of the bank's support team and explain that money has been ringfenced due to a failed authorisation and ask that the money is released back into their account.

You should not refund the customer any money until you have checked to see if the transaction went through (see below).


Ambiguous Authorisations

At any point in the authorisation process it is possible that a glitch occurs which stops the transaction result from coming back to Spektrix.  If this happens, Spektrix does not know if the original transaction request was authorised or not.  

In the case of these ambiguous transactions we therefore ask the cashier to check with the PSP and tell the system whether or not the payment went through - like so:


  • If the cashier tells Spektrix that it did go through (Confirm) then Spektrix completes the transaction as normal and reports that the card payment was received.

  • If they tell Spektrix that it did not go through (Delete) then Spektrix removes the payment completely and allows the cashier to try again.

In either case, if the cashier chooses the wrong option (such as saying that the transaction did not complete when in fact it did) then your Spektrix reports will not match your bank receipts.

There are a couple of things that we recommend here:

  • If you have the resource available on your box office to check the transaction each time you get this error then we suggest that you log into your PSP reports and check to see if you can see the transaction on there.  If it is logged in the reports as a successful transaction then you can confirm the payment - if not, then delete it.

  • If you cannot check the transaction each time we recommend that you ask cashiers to always delete the transaction and try again.  It is very likely that the second attempt will go through as normal.  You should make a note of the order number and pass it to someone who can check the PSP logs later to determine if the ambiguous transaction went through.  If it did then you will need to refund it by contacting your PSP (as you have charged the customer twice) but you must ensure that you are refunding the correct transaction - if you need help determining which transaction to refund then get in touch with Support and they will help you. If it did not go through twice then you won't need to do anything.


Checking to see if a Recent transaction was authorised

This guide shows you how to check whether a recent transaction has been authorised, for older transactions please contact support for help.

Log into your PSP account:

If you do not have a log in for these reports please contact Spektrix support.


In YesPay

  • Login

  • Hover over Emboss Reporting Portal

  • Hover over List Transactions

  • Click List Transactions by Date

  • Tick the box that says "Search By Original Transaction Date"

  • Click Search

  • If you can see the card transaction in the resulting report then the transaction has gone through and you should click Confirm in Spektrix

  • If not, click Delete and try the transaction again


In SagePay

  • Login

  • Click the Transactions tab

  • Search through the list shown - if the transaction is highlighted in green then it has completed and you should click "Confirm in Spektrix"

  • If the transaction is red or it doesn't show at all then click "Delete" in Spektrix and try again.



  • Login

  • Click Search

  • Click Search by Business Day

  • Change the options to Search for Unsettled Transactions

  • Click Search

  • This will give you a list of all recent transactions that have not yet been batched and sent to the bank

  • If you can see the card transaction in the resulting report then the transaction has gone through and you should click Confirm in Spektrix

  • If not, click Delete and try the transaction again