CP-SQL: Voiding tickets paid with debit cards

CP-Tiicket EntryThere is a question that has come up a few times with some of our customers.  This is the scenario:  A ticket is run for a customer, who pays with a debit card (not a credit card), and the ticket is completed.  Then, for some reason, it is desired to void the ticket.  If the ticket was paid with a credit card, or any other way than via a debit card for that matter, this is possible.  However, if you attempt to void a completed ticket that was paid with a debit card, you get a message that this cannot be done.

The reason for this, is that debit cards and credit cards are processed differently.  With a credit card, at the time of the transaction, the charge is authorized.  When this happens, the credit card processor verifies that the card is valid, and has sufficient credit available.  Additionally, the card issuing company is made aware of an upcoming charge, and the amount.  Basically, when the charge is authorized, there is an agreement that the funds will be transferred at some point in the future.  However, the actual transfer is not initiated until the credit cards transactions are settled.

So, with a credit card transaction, if the ticket is voided after the fact, and before the transactions are settled, what happens is that transaction drops out of the records to settle.  With no settlement for that transaction, the actual transfer of money is not started.  That is why sometimes a customer will see a “pending” transaction for several days, until the authorization expires.

With debit cards, it is a little different.  The processing of a debit card does not generate an authorization, but actually initiates the money transfer request.  This does not mean that debit transactions will be received by the merchant any quicker, as the actual transfer takes place at a later time.  However, it does mean that at the point the transaction is done, that the transfer will take place the next time that the issuing company processes its transfers.  

In order to void a completed debit transaction, then, a reversing transaction would need to be generated.  It is not a matter of just not settling the transaction.

So, how do you deal with this issue?  Do a return ticket, for the identical items that were sold.  Then, use the same debit card for the payment (credit for the return) that was used for the original ticket.  This will create the reversing transaction, to balance everything out.  Be aware, however, it may take a day or two for both transactions to process all the way through.