Troubleshooting Card Payments (UK/IE only)

Billy Fluck
Billy Fluck
  • Updated

There are various links in the process between a customer entering their card details into their browser and the money reaching you. It’s not just Spektrix, but also internet providers, payment providers, card issuers, the customer’s bank and your acquiring bank who are all involved.

Most of the time card payments should go through without any problems, and there’s no need to worry about getting the money from the customer to you. If there are ever any breaks in the links however, the Spektrix system will let you know rather than risk purchases going through without you getting the correct money.

This article explains how money gets from the customer to you and gives you some tips to help you out if things do need attention.

The Process of Card Authorisations

There are a number of steps involved in getting money to you from a card sale via an online or phone transaction:

  1. The customer (or box office user for phone sales) enters their card details into a browser.
  2. The card details, amount to be processed, and customer’s name and address are then sent securely to your payment service provider (PSP). For UK/IE users this is SagePay or YESPay.
  3. The PSP then sends these details on to the customer’s bank who check if there’s enough money in the customer’s bank account. If there is, a hold is put on this money to the value of the transaction, so that it can’t go elsewhere in the meantime. The bank also tells the PSP if the address that the customer gave Spektrix matches the one they have on file. 
  4. If there is enough money to hold, the PSP then looks at the address response from the bank. If the response meets your rules, the money is taken from the customer’s bank account.
  5. In the early hours of the following morning all transactions from the previous day are paid into your bank account by your acquiring bank. This is known as a batch. Depending on how your acquiring bank has set up your accounts, you may get one batch for phone payments and a second for online payments, or one large batch. If you take American Express payments, these will come in a separate batch. Once an individual payment has been deposited to you in a batch, it is known as settled.

For SagePay users it’s also possible to have set up 3D Secure checks on your online payments, which adds another security stage check after the address checks in step 4. At this point the customer is asked to provide their 3D Secure password, which is then checked by their card provider.

 

Rejected Payments

On the occasions when payments are rejected, there are a few reasons why the rejection might happen:

  • One or more parts of the customer’s card details are inputted incorrectly, which means it’s not possible to identify their card.
  • The address rules you’ve set up aren’t met. You could for example have set the rules to only accept exact matches on the first line of customers addresses, so any differences between the address stored in Spektrix and the address held by the customer’s bank will cause a rejection.
  • The address details could be matching, but the 3D Secure rules may not be met. Depending on your rulebase you may require a 3D Secure match to authorise a payment.

 

If at any point a payment is rejected, it may take a day (or in some cases several days) for the hold on the money to be released. If a customer has tried multiple times and had rejected payments, there may be multiple holds on their account. This can be frustrating for customers as the money can appear to have already been debited from their account, while in reality it has not been taken. Unfortunately, this is in control of the customer’s bank and isn’t something that Spektrix or your PSP can control.

SagePay allows you to view the reasons why a payment was rejected - this is detailed here.

Changing the rules for accepting rejecting payments
It’s possible to relax or tighten the rules on when payments are accepted.

It’s up to each venue to consider the risk of fraud to their organisation and make an assessment of the best set of rules for them. In general, we’d advise making the rules as relaxed as you are comfortable with in order to not obstruct customer purchases. Ticket purchasing is typically a low risk of fraud as it requires a customer to arrive at a venue, unlike other mail order ecommerce which can carry a higher risk of fraud.

The rules for accepting can be set on the following factors:

  • The first line of an address in Spektrix matching the one the bank has on file.
  • The postcode of an address in Spektrix matching the one the bank has on file.
  • The CV2 number on the card being correct.
  • The 3D Secure password provided being correct (if 3D Secure is enabled - on SagePay only).

You can set which of these checks are required to be met for a payment to be allowed.

If your PSP is YesPay, these rules have to be consistent, but for SagePay you can vary them depending on the transaction value. See this article for info on configuring rules in the MySagePay control panel.

Ambiguous Authorisations

If any point in the transaction process there is a break in any of the links in the payment process it can be impossible for the system to say with certainty that a card payment has been authorised successfully. Possible causes of this include:

  • A temporary blip in the connection at the customer’s end meaning it’s not possible to say if the card details have already been transmitted.
  • A temporary blip in the communication between any of Spektrix, your PSP and the customer’s bank, when transmitting the results of the payment checks.
  • A failure in connection or service from either the customer’s bank, card provider or 3D Secure services.

In these cases, rather than risk double payment, or no payment, Spektrix will alert the cashier to check with the PSP to see if the pending payment has gone through.

 

Ambiguous payments display in Spektrix as Awaiting authorisation, with two options:

  • Confirm: selecting this option will manually authorise the payment in Spektrix.
  • Delete: selecting this option will cancel the payment in Spektrix.

What should I do about it?
The first thing to do in this situation is to check with your PSP to see if the payment went through on that end. You should never just make an assumption at this point, as you can end up taking too much money from a customer, or giving them tickets without actually taking any money.

  • Confirming a payment without the money having been taken will result in Spektrix showing that you have taken more money than you actually have.
  • Deleting a payment in Spektrix which has actually gone through with your PSP (and then making another payment) will result in you taking twice as much money as you should.

For information on how to check whether a payment has gone through in the different PSPs, please see the relevant article for your PSP - SagePay or YESpay.

  • If the payment did go through then you can manually authorise the payment, by clicking Confirm.
  • If the payment did not go through then you should cancel the payment by clicking Delete, and contact the customer to retake payment.

In the case of online transactions, an ambiguous payment will mean that the transaction can’t be completed. To find one of these transactions, look in the Open Transactions menu in the Spektrix control panel.

 

You will often see transactions in this menu, but normally that’s just because they’re in the process of being completed. You can usually identify an online transaction with an ambiguous payment because the user will be web (as opposed to one of your box office user names) and the timestamp shows that the transaction started more than just a few minutes ago.

For information on how to load an open transaction, see this article.

What if I can’t log into my PSP?
We recommend that there is always at least one person in the box office with access to your PSP - if you use SagePay you can to set up a basic View Only account that all box office staff can access.

If you don’t have access to your PSP in order to confirm whether a payment has gone through, the safest way to proceed is usually to delete the transaction and try again - chances are 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 it did not go through twice then you won't need to do anything.

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If you have any further questions about card payments, please get in touch with the Spektrix Support Team to discuss them.

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