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Credit Card Authorization

Reference: wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_hold

Credit cards are processed in real time when the order is submitted on this web site. Given the increased security risk of online CNP (card not present) transactions, security checks are performed to ensure the purchaser is indeed the card holder.

Security checks include (but are not limited to):

  • Cardholder Name
  • Card Expiration Date
  • Card Address Verification System (AVS)
  • CVV2 (Security Code from back of card)
  • BIN (Bank Issuing Number)
  • Chargeback Databases
  • Stolen Card Databases
  • IP Address

In the event of a failed transaction (due to address mismatch, CVV2 mismatch, expiration date mismatch, etc.) your issuing bank may place the funds on hold.

Customers may notice the held funds (via online banking statements, etc.) and assume a charge was issued by CascadiaDesignStudio.com. This is not the case. These are funds placed on hold by your issuing bank, for failed transactions. The bank initiates a hold, even though the transaction failed, because the merchant can still manually authorize the transaction immediately, or even a a day later. However, most merchants will not manually authorize a failed transaction because of security and fraud concerns.

These held funds are not charges by CascadiaDesignStudio.com, but again are holds by the card’s issuing financial institution for failed transactions. These holds automatically expire within a few hours or a few days, depending on the issuing bank. Held funds cannot be released by CascadiaDesignStudio.com, as there is no actual charge in place. Customers may elect to wait for the hold to expire, or call their bank to cancel the hold. See questions and answers below.

To avoid held funds for declined transactions, make sure the information entered on future orders matches your credit card statement. The issuing bank expects their cardholders to know their own Name, Billing Address, Credit Card Number, Expiration Date, Security code, etc. Often when customers have recently moved, they forget to notify their bank, and so the billing/shipping addresses no longer match. Also, some very small local banks do not participate in the AVS process, so these cards fail at online merchants who use AVS. If you plan to shop anywhere online in the future, consider getting a card from a larger bank.

A common question from customers who experience held funds from the first time, is that their card worked at other online and local merchants, therefore it must be our problem. That is not the case however, as it is likely the other merchants do not perform as many security checks against the card. A majority of merchants only check against the credit card number, and expiration date. This lack of verification is a leading cause of credit card fraud.

Questions and Answers

You have not actually been charged and no money has changed hands. This is an extremely frustrating situation for the one or two customers per year who contact me with a credit card hold. This issue stems from the way that banks verify billing information and reserve funds from consumers for online transactions. The credit card industry requires fund verification and fund reservation BEFORE address verification (AVS) occurs.

Please understand there is no charge from Cascadia Design Studio and no money has transferred hands. Instead, your bank has placed a hold on the funds, and they control the hold. The merchant is powerless to alter, credit, or void the authorization placed by your bank. Only your bank can release the hold. You can either contact the bank and request that the funds be released as soon as possible, or just wait for the bank to release the funds automatically once the authorization expires. This can take 24 hours or as long as several days, depending on the bank. Most cards show an 800 number you can call for assistance.

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