Credit Card Processing 101


Lately, we’ve been having a lot more trouble with Credit Card verification.  We’re not sure whether this is because there are more people trying to do fraudulent things (in which case, this would be good trouble) or whether it is because legitimate customers are having trouble getting their cards verified.  While sometimes inconvenient, please understand that credit card verification schemes exist to protect you from fraud.

How Credit Card Processing Works at Moates

  1. When you click “Submit” on the website to send us your order, your computer sends your information to us over an encrypted connection.
  2. Our website re-sends the information you have sent to our merchant service to AUTHORIZE (or pre-auth) your card.  (Important: your credit card information exists on our servers long enough to receive it and re-transmit it to our Merchant Service.  We do NOT log, store or otherwise keep a record of credit cards in any shape or form.)
  3. The Merchant Service checks your CARD NUMBER, EXPIRATION DATE, BILLING ADDRESS and CVV2 / VERIFICATION CODE versus the information that the card issuer has on file.  
  4. If the information provided by you even somewhat matches the information on file, the merchant service proceeds to place a PRE-AUTHORIZATION (hold) on the card for the amount requested.
  5. At this point, the Merchant Service performs additional verification procedures on the information you have submitted.  We normally have very strict standards for verification in order to prevent as much fraud as possible.  If any of the information you’ve submitted does not match, you will probably be kicked back to the order screen so you can fix the error.
  6. Regardless of whether your transaction was accepted or rejected by our Merchant Server, the PRE-AUTHORIZATION (hold) from the previous step has already happened and cannot be undone.
  7. This PRE-AUTHORIZATION is not an actual charge. This simply places a hold on funds in order to cover a real transaction, should it actually happen. On many online banking sites, these show up as a “Pending charge.”  We do NOT have any of your money at this point – your bank/credit card issuer is in control of the funds affected by the PRE-AUTHORIZATION.
  8. As part of the process of picking your order, packing it and shipping it out we complete the transaction, taking the PRE-AUTHORIZATION and turning it into a CHARGE.  Bottom line: until a human being manually completes the order, we do not receive any of your money.
  9. Authorizations that are not completed into transactions will generally go away on their own in 24-72 hours.  We do NOT have control over the speed at which authorizations fall off your card – this is controlled by your card issuing authority, not us.  We can’t remove an authorization from your card – we can only affect CHARGES from completed transactions.

My Card Didn’t Verify?  What Can I do?

  1. DO NOT KEEP SUBMITTING THE SAME ORDER OVER AND OVER.  If it didn’t work once, it’s not going to work a second time with the same information.  If you keep submitting an order repeatedly without changing anything, you are likely to create lots of bogus pending charges/pre-auths on your card.
  2. DOUBLE CHECK YOUR BILLING ADDRESS!!!  The most common issue with cards being declined is the billing address information not matching what your card issuer has on file.  In most cases, we can ship to a different address but we MUST have your correct billing address in order to process the order
  3. DOUBLE CHECK YOUR CVV2 CODE!!!  The second most common issue with card verification is an incorrect CVV2 code, which is the 3 or 4 digit code on the back of the card.  Your card will not process without this information.
  4. DOUBLE CHECK YOUR CARD NUMBER AND EXPIRATION!!!  Your card will not process unless this basic data is correct.
  5. USE PAYPAL.  If you have PayPal, you can use it to pay.  PayPal often can use your card for payment even when we have issues with it because of the more involved verification procedure that is required to get an account.
  6. HAVE US CONTACT YOU.  If you are 100% convinced that your card information is correct and PayPal is not an option for you, call or email us and we can look into things further for you.

Just remember – dealing with credit card authorization problems can be frustrating but the system exists to protect you from fraud.