What is a Credit Card Authorization and how does it differ from a Capture on my credit card?

617 views  June 21, 2021

Customers often ask us why we charged their credit card immediately after their order was placed, when in reality, our system only performed an authorization on their card rather than actually capturing the payment.


If this sounds familiar, don't worry because it is one of the most common questions we get from customers.  When you purchase an item using a credit card, the credit card system that accepts your credit card as a form of payment must first confirm that there is sufficient credit available on your credit card to pay for your transaction.  When you attempt to place your order with GoVets using a credit card, our system performs an Authorization hold of funds on your credit card for the purchase amount.  This does not mean that we have actually captured the funds from your credit card.  It simply means that we are reserving the required amount of funds from your credit card while we are waiting for your order to ship out (up to 6 days).  This Authorization hold will decrease the amount of remaining credit that you have on your credit card, but it still does not mean that you owe anything until the Authorized amount has been captured, and this can up to 6 days on GoVets.  


For example - if you have a credit card with a credit limit of $1000 and then make a purchase on Amazon for $350, your available credit will decrease to $650.  If you then shop on GoVets and make another purchase for $100, we will first verify that you have sufficient funds on your credit card and place an Authorization hold of $100 on your remaining credit until the $100 item ships out or after the 6-day Authorization window ends if your order is still pending shipment with GoVets.  This Authorization hold will decrease your remaining credit to $550.  If you decide that you want to cancel your $100 order with GoVets, we will remove the Authorization hold on your credit card account, and this $100 amount will be released within 2-3 business days, if not sooner. 


Here is another way to look at it - When you're looking at your Credit Card statement, pay attention to transactions that are pending on your account versus transactions that have posted to your account.  Pending transactions from GoVets are Authorized Transactions.  They do have an impact on your remaining Credit Limit, but will not be posted until the payment has been captured.  Once a payment has been posted to your account (i.e. Captured by GoVets), then it becomes a payment that you now owe your credit card company.  




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