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Offering products for sale that are not physically in stock or are to be delivered or collected at a later date is a common scenario. When it comes to taking payments for these orders, each business will handle the situation differently depending on a range of factors including the customer ordering, supply chain processes, delivery timescales and many more.
Although there is no definitive right or wrong way to handle the situation, when payment is taken before stock availability is verified or the order has been fulfilled, there is a risk that the customer could be charged for goods that cannot be delivered. Although a refund can be processed this creates additional complexity to the order handling process, undoubtedly inconveniencing the customer and often looked upon poorly by merchant service providers.
Taking payment once the order is fully processed or fulfilled presents its own risks and restrictions; stock could have been purchased from suppliers or picking and packing completed only to then require contact with the customer to take payment. The strict rules and regulations surrounding recording card payment information means a company cannot simply hold on to payment details until they wish to process payment, even if this were the case, there is no guarantee that when payment is requested the funds are available.
One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways is to pre-authorise the payment. This is a service offered by certain payment processing providers where the customer’s card payment details and the transaction value is processed at the point of order but the payment is not fully processed at that stage. Companies can then get the payment processed in full at a later point such as when the order is ready for despatch or availability fully confirmed. The card details are held and managed by the payment gateway provider throughout the payment process, removing the burden of regulation from the seller.
There has been multiple licenced feature developments in the 2014 v9.4 to provide a range of options for companies wishing to fully utilise and manage Pre-Auth payment processing through the Verifone Vanguard and SagePay payment gateways.
Verifone Vanguard is a new payment gateway activated as a licenced feature. This can be used within OrderWise as an alternative to existing SagePay and SecPay payment gateway options under the CCP licenced feature. If the ability to handle Pre-Auth payments via the Verifone Vanguard gateway is also required then this can be activated using the new CCP Pre-Auth licenced feature.
Verifone Vanguard can be easily set up and a payment method in OrderWise linked to the gateway. If the CCP Pre-Auth licenced feature is also activated, users can configure a separate payment method for this to distinguish between a card payment that will be processed immediately and one that would use the Pre-Auth method.
When a payment for an order is processed using the Verifone Vanguard Pre-Auth, a ‘shadow’ will be placed on the card for the order amount so a payment can be taken at a later date, ensuring the funds are available. These Pre-Auth payments can be managed within the Sales module under a new Expiring Payments node, which is controlled via a user group setting. Payments can be re-authorised within this area should they expire. Pre-Auths from Vanguard are valid for around 30 days with the payment shadow usually lasting around 6 days, but this can vary.
The Pre-Auth functionality and control provided through the Verifone Vanguard payment gateway offers excellent flexibility. Pre-Auth payments can be split should an order be part-delivered and expiring pre-auths can be reapplied, again ensuring funds are available, when payment is required. Because payment has already been secured, Pre-Auth payments via Vanguard would normally be processed in a batch at the end of the day, using generated invoice information to calculate the payment required to be taken.
Verifone Vanguard Pre-Auth payment handling is easily managed when processing the payment manually within OrderWise, simply by completing a standard on screen form with card payment information that is then passed securely to the payment gateway. However there are many companies that will take orders online. When using Verifone Vanguard Pre-Auth on a website, we are able to produce scripts to utilise the eCommerce module and bring the Pre-Auth token information into OrderWise with the order. This allows the final payment processing to be completed within OrderWise following the despatch of goods. Our ecommerce team here at OrderWise would be able to outline requirements in order for this to be achieved.
The existing SagePay payment gateway option available as part of the CCP licenced feature can also be used to handle Pre-Auth payments by activating the new CCP Pre-Auth licence. Although still referred to as Pre-Auth, the option provided by SagePay is actually better described as deferred payment. Although SagePay Pre-Auth also places a ‘shadow’ against the card to ensure funds are reserved for when payment is processed, it is highly recommended that payment is processed in full before goods are released to customers.
The SagePay Pre-Auth payments can be managed in the Deferred Payment node of the Sales module which is activated via user group settings. The status of all Pre-Auth orders will display as Awaiting Payment until payment is taken. For SagePay Pre-Auth orders, this status is vital to ensure payment is fully processed prior to them being despatched. Users also need to be aware that SagePay will only allow the original Pre-Auth value to be processed, making it more suited to companies that do not despatch part orders.
Stress free payment processing
New payment gateway provider integration and two Pre-Auth payment management options means OrderWise customers can now benefit from even greater flexibility and choice when handling card payments. Combined with options to also handle pre-authorised payment orders from websites, OrderWise payment processing can effectively meet the most demanding requirements.
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