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 a consumer’s card when they swipe or tap their card or tap their mobile wallet at an unattended point of sale, like a vending machine. The pending charge stays in place until the final amount is posted approximately 24 – 72 hours later. Pre-authorizations are intended to ensure a payment can be processed.

Q: How does this impact consumers using credit cards at self-service retail machines?

A: Consumers shopping at vending machines or at a self-service retail market will see a pre-authorization (or what may look like a “pending charge”) on their card. The pre-authorization amount will remain until the final amount is updated and posted, typically within 24 – 72 hours of purchase. Please note that this pre-authorization process is standard procedure for many merchants and banks.

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, for example if the account holder is not in good standing. Please visit FIS Global’s website for additional information on credit card processing. 

Q: Why does Cantaloupe pre-authorize $5 for all card readers accepting cashless payments?

A: We pre-authorize up to $5 for Cantaloupe card readers to we and our 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).

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

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