Authorization and ReversalProcessing Requirements for MerchantsFor merchants eligible to perform estimated/initialand incremental authorizationsEstimated/initial authorizations give eligible merchants theability to better process transactions when the fnal amountof a transaction is not known. Partnered with estimates/initialauthorizations, incremental authorizations give merchants furtherfexibility to increase the amount authorized as conditions changeor additional charges accrue.The best practices in this document can help merchants tomaximize the benefts of this authorization processing capability,while creating the best experience for the customer.Authorizing transactionsAuthorizations are a key part of any transaction, giving merchants the ability to complete thetransaction. With each successful authorization, the amount available to the cardholder for otherpurchases is typically reduced to cover the approved transaction- this is commonly known as anauthorization hold. Authorizations are meant to be settled; however, when they are not, it can causea problem for cardholders when the authorization is tying up money that can be used for otherpurchases. This guide outlines simple steps that can be taken to prevent such problems. 2020 Visa. All Rights Reserved.
AUTHORIZATION AND REVERSAL PROCESSING REQURIEMENTS FOR MERCHANTSEstimated and incremental authorizationsVisa systems and rules allow certain merchants to obtain an estimated/initial authorization when the fnal amount of the purchase is unknownand to use incremental authorizations if needed.Eligible MerchantsMCCSEGMENT3351-3500, 7512Car Rental3501-3999, 7011Lodging4111Local and Suburban Commuter PassengerTransportation, including Ferries4112Passenger Railways4121Taxicabs and Limousines (Card-AbsentEnvironment only)4131Bus LinesWhen to use estimated/initial authorizations4411Steamship and Cruise LinesEstimated/initial authorizations may only be used when the merchantdoes not know the fnal amount when the transaction begins. Forexample, an estimated authorization is appropriate when a cardholderchecks into a hotel, but not when the cardholder is prepaying anagreed amount. Estimated/initial authorizations should be used for:5411Grocery Stores15552Electric Vehicle Charging*5812Eating Places and Restaurants5813Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages),Bars, Taverns, Cocktail Lounges,Nightclubs and Discotheques7033Trailer Parks and Campgrounds7394Equipment, Tool, Furniture and ApplianceRentalMerchants should follow documented Visa authorization proceduresfor obtaining estimated/initial and incremental authorizations,including using appropriate identifers such as reusing the TransactionIdentifer from the original authorization for any incrementalauthorizations. Incorrect coding may result in the issuer not matchingthe authorization and clearing, and may result in an improper hold anddispute liability. In addition, this may lead to customer complaints tomerchants, as cardholders may believe they have been double charged. Lodging, Cruise Line, Taxi Cab1 and Amusement Park Merchants:Amount that the merchant expects the cardholder to spend duringthe stay, voyage or trip, plus applicable taxes. Passenger Transportation, Bus and Railway Merchants: Amountequal to the price of the cheapest journey a Cardholder can take.7513Truck Rentals Vehicle Rental and Other Rental Merchants: Cost of cardholder’sintended rental period, plus taxes and mileage rates, if applicable.7519Motor Home and Recreational VehicleRentals Grocery,1 Restaurant and Bar Merchants: Actual cost of food/beverages ordered plus applicable taxes before tip.7523Parking Lots, Parking Meters and Garages*7996Amusement Parks, Carnivals, Circuses,Fortune Tellers7999Recreation Services Parking and Electric Vehicle Charging: Amount that the merchantexpects the cardholder to spend for the parking or charging session.Important: Under no circumstance can authorizations include chargesthat cover potential damage or an insurance deductible amount.* Additional MCCs eligible as of October 2019When to use incremental authorizationsIncremental authorizations can be used to increase the total amount authorized if the amount of the estimate/initial authorizationis insufcient. An incremental authorization request may also be based on a revised estimate of what the cardholder may spend.Incremental authorizations do not replace the original authorization — they are additional to previously authorized amounts — thesum of all linked estimated and incremental authorizations represent the total amount authorized for a given transaction.Multiple incremental authorizations can be performed throughout the duration of the transaction. At the end of the transaction, anincremental authorization must be obtained if: Cruise Line and Lodging Merchants: Final amount of the purchase is more than 15% higher than the sum of the authorized amounts. Vehicle Rental Merchants (including car and truck rental): Final amount of the purchase is more than 15% higher than the sum of theauthorized amounts or USD 75, whichever is greater. Restaurant and Bar Merchants: Final amount of the trip or purchase including taxes and tips is more than 20% higher than the sumof the authorized amounts. Taxicab,1 Grocery,1 Parking and Electric Vehicle Charging: Final amount is more than the sum of the authorized amounts. Other Rentals, Commuter Transportation, Bus, Railway and Amusement Park Merchants: Final amount of the purchase includingtaxes is higher than the sum of the authorized amounts.One or more incremental authorizations can be requested while the transaction has not yet been fnalized (submitted for clearing).Incremental authorizations must not be used once the original transaction has been submitted for clearing. In such a scenario, a newauthorization for the delayed charge must be requested.1Card Absent Environment Only. 2020 Visa. All Rights Reserved.2
AUTHORIZATION AND REVERSAL PROCESSING REQURIEMENTS FOR MERCHANTSHow to processIn order to appropriately process estimated and incremental authorizations, merchants should work with their acquirers to ensure thatall felds are being populated correctly, including:Transaction Identifer(TID)This feld must match the Transaction Identifer (TID) generated by Visa and returned as part of theresponse message to the original authorization request. The TID is a key element that links originalauthorization requests to subsequent messages, such as reversals.Additional (Estimated)Authorization IndicatorThis feld is utilized to indicate an estimated/initial authorization.System TraceAudit NumberThis is a number assigned by the merchant that uniquely identifes a cardholder transaction and all themessage types that it comprises. The same trace number is used in an estimated authorization requestand response, incremental authorization request and response, and in a subsequent reversal requestand response.RetrievalReference NumberThis feld must contain the value from the original authorization request message. The Retrieval ReferenceNumber is used with other key data elements to identify and track all messages related to a givencardholder transaction. It is usually assigned by the acquirer, but it may be assigned by a merchant or byan individual electronic terminal.Message Reason CodeThis feld is used to identify the reason for the authorization (i.e. Incremental Authorizations).U.S. Merchants may use the Authorization Characteristics Indicator to identify incremental authorizationsalternatively.Please note that feld names mentioned in this document refer to messages exchanged between Visa and fnancial institutions (such as issuers and acquirers) when processing transactions.Field nomenclature and formats for messages exchanged between merchants and processors or acquirers may difer from these.Multiple standalone authorizations should not be processed for one payment transaction. If incremental authorizations are not properlycoded, issuers may not be able to link associated authorizations, which may lead to cardholder frustration. Additionally, cardholderfunds may be held in error.Note: Acquirer/Merchant may have Dispute Condition 11.3 (No Authorization) dispute liability if transactions are not properly formatted,including but not limited to the following errors: Not estimated authorization indicator on the frst authorization No incremental authorization indicator on all subsequent incremental authorizations Mismatching Transaction ID between the frst authorization and the incremental authorizationsImportant: The frst authorization (estimated/initial) determines the fnal transaction characteristics (i.e. whether a transaction took placein a card present or card not present environment). Incremental authorizations are not taken into consideration for this purpose.Authorization validity for estimated/initial authorizationsVisa has introduced a single point of reference for the length of time an estimated/initial authorization is valid to complete thetransaction: Lodging, Vehicle Rental, Cruise Lines – 31 days from day of initial authorization approval Commuter Transportation, Bus, Railway Merchants – 7 days (in the U.S. 3 days) from the date of initial authorization approval Other Rental Merchant Categories – 7 days from day of initial authorization approval Other Card-Present Transactions – Day of the approval (same as transaction date) Other Card-Absent Transactions – 7 days from day of initial authorization approvalPrepayments (including travel), delayed charges, cancellation penalties (no-shows) are valid for the day of approval (same as transactiondate). Merchants should work with their acquirer for the complete list of segment and validity periods. 2020 Visa. All Rights Reserved.3
AUTHORIZATION AND REVERSAL PROCESSING REQURIEMENTS FOR MERCHANTSIncremental authorizations do not extend authorization validity periods. In the case of extended stays, cruises or rentals longer thanthe validity period of the original authorization, the original transaction must be closed within the validity period listed above. A newauthorization (reauthorization) may be requested for additional charges. The validity of the reauthorization follows the same rulesas the original authorization. A reauthorization can be estimated as well, and incremental authorizations can be performed for areauthorization.Authorization reversalsAuthorization reversals notify the issuer that all, or part, of a transaction has been cancelled and that the authorization hold should beremoved and open to buy amounts may be adjusted.When to useTo help ensure that cardholders have access to all of their available funds, merchants should process authorization reversals: Transaction not completed: Entire authorized amount must be reversed within 24 hours of the earlier of when the merchant becameaware that that transaction would not be completed or the end of the authorization validity period. Completed transaction at a Vehicle Rental, Lodging or Cruise Line that included an Estimated Authorization and sum of theestimated authorization and any incrementals exceeds the fnal amount by more than 15%: (20% including tips for Taxicabs) thediference between the total authorized amount and the transaction amount must be reversed within 24 hours of when thetransaction is completed. Other completed transactions where estimated authorizations are allowed, if the sum of the estimated authorization and anyincrementals exceeds the fnal amount: the diference between the authorized amount (or amounts) and the Transaction amountmust be reversed within 24 hours of when the transaction is completed.How to processWith missing or non-matching data elements, the issuer may not be able to match the authorization reversal to the originalauthorization. This could mean that the funds remain held for a longer period. Cardholders may interpret this as being an extra chargeby the merchant, which may result in inquiries or complaints from cardholders to the merchant.In order to appropriately process authorization reversals, merchants should work with their acquirers to ensure that all felds are beingpopulated correctly, including:Transaction Identifer (TID) This feld must match the Transaction Identifer (TID) generated by Visa and returned as part of theresponse message to the original authorization request. The TID is a key element that links originalauthorization requests to subsequent messages, such as reversals.System TraceAudit NumberThis is a number assigned by the merchant that uniquely identifes a cardholder transaction and all themessage types that it comprises. The same trace number is used in an estimated authorization requestand response, incremental authorization request and response, and in a subsequent reversal requestand response.RetrievalReference NumberThis feld must contain the value from the original authorization request message. The RetrievalReference Number is used with other key data elements to identify and track all messages relatedto a given cardholder transaction. It is usually assigned by the acquirer, but it may be assigned by amerchant or by an individual electronic terminal.Transaction AmountAuthorization reversals (full or partial) should always contain the original transaction amount in this feld.In the case of authorizations which have been incremented, this feld should contain the total amountauthorized (sum of all original and incremental authorizations).Replacement AmountContains the corrected amount of an authorization transaction.Please note that feld names mentioned in this document refer to messages exchanged between Visa and fnancial institutions (such as issuers and acquirers) when processing transactions.Field nomenclature and formats for messages exchanged between merchants and processors or acquirers may difer from these.Incremental authorizations are extensions of the original authorization. Since all subsequent messages are connected through the sameTID, only one reversal is needed for a linked sequence of authorizations and incremental authorizations. 2020 Visa. All Rights Reserved.4
AUTHORIZATION AND REVERSAL PROCESSING REQURIEMENTS FOR MERCHANTSDisclosure requirementsMerchants (except transit, restaurants and bars) that request an authorization for an amount that is not the fnal transaction amountmust inform the cardholder that the authorization is an estimate and not fnal, and the authorization amount.Merchants (except transit) that may use an incremental authorization must inform the cardholder at the time of the initial authorizationthat subsequent authorizations may occur.Note: In absence of a physical message, cardholders can be verbally informed of the estimate and incremental authorization practiceMisuse of Authorization System Fee (U.S. only)In order to maintain the data integrity of the Visa authorization system, a Misuse of Authorization System Fee is assessed by Visa toapproved and partially-approved authorizations that cannot be matched to a settled transaction. If an authorization was attempted andreceived but the transaction was not settled, merchants must reverse the authorization.Common causes leading up to Misuse of Authorization System Fee for lodging, car rental and cruise line merchants include: Not processing estimated, incremental authorizations and authorization reversals according to Visa’s rules and technicalrequirements. Usage of 1.00 “test transactions” in certain circumstances instead of the Visa Account Verifcation Service.Note: In the event of any confict between this guide and the Visa Core Rules and Visa Product and Service Rules (“Visa Rules”), the VisaRules govern.Common QuestionsQ: Is there a maximum amount for an estimated authorization?It varies by MCC. Some MCCs have caps for the estimated authorization and other MCCs do not. A list of the current maximumestimated amount limits can be found in the Visa Rules under Rule ID #0029524.Q: Is there a maximum amount for an incremental authorization?No, there are no amount limits for incremental authorizations.Q: Is there a limit to the number of incremental authorizations that can be submitted?No, there are no limits to the number of incremental authorizations that can be submitted as long as they are submittedwithin the applicable authorization validity timeframes.Q: Do incremental authorizations extend authorization timeframes?No, incrementals do NOT extend the timeframes. Authorization validity timeframes can be found in the Visa Rules underRule ID #0029524.Q: If the initial authorization is card-present and the incremental(s) or reversal(s) are submitted card-absent, how is thetransaction categorized?The frst authorization (estimated or initial) determines the fnal transaction characteristics.Q: Are there any costs associated with each incremental authorization request?Yes, the same standard authorization fee applies. 2020 Visa. All Rights Reserved. 24.Mar.20
7999 Recreation Services . When to use incremental authorizations . . This is a number assigned by the merchant that uniquely identifes a cardholder transaction and all the message types that it comprises. The same t