Credit Card Charge FAQs

Q: What is a pre-authorization?

A: A pre-authorization is a hold for a pre-determined amount that is put on the consumers card when a consumer swipes or taps their card, prior to making any purchase at an unattended point of sale. The pending charge stays in place until the final amount is posted, for approximately 24 – 72 hours. Pre-authorizations are intended to ensure a payment can be processed.

Q: How will this impact consumers using credit cards at unattended retail machines?

A: Consumers shopping at vending machines will see a pre-authorization, or what may look like a “pending charge” on their card, until the final amount is updated and posted, typically within 24 – 72 hours of making a purchase. Please note that this pre-authorization process is standard procedure, and has been ongoing, but at lower amounts, such as $1.50 in some instances.

Q: Why does it take 24 – 72 hours to update the final amount charged?

A: The transaction goes through a number of steps to get from one bank account to another as it’s being processed. The acquiring bank will issue an authorization request to the card issuing bank through the process, sending the approval back, for the final amount to be posted once funds have been acknowledged and transferred. Note that some banks may add additional days to the process, if the account holder is not in good standing. Please visit FIS Global’s website for additional information on credit card processing. 

Q: Why did Cantaloupe update its pre-authorization amount to $5 for all ePort devices accepting cashless payments?

A: To ensure Cantaloupe and its customers stay compliant with Visa Core Rules and Visa Product and Service Rules, related to unattended transactions for the sale of food and beverages (section 5.8.3 Table 5-13: Special Authorization Request Allowances and Requirements, page 380), Cantaloupe had to update the pre-authorization amount or face incurring fines from Visa, for being non-compliant.

Q: What can an operator do to notify its customers about pre-authorizations on credit cards?

A: First, be sure to remove any old decals on machines that may refer to the old pre-authorization amount of $1.50. Operators can access new, updated decals to add to their POS machines, indicating the temporary $5 hold, by visiting Cantaloupe’s Online Store.