Why do I have a charge on my credit card account, if the purchase failed?

Sometimes when you place an order on a website your payment is declined and you might see an entry on your credit card account when you view account activity on your bank's web site. If your order payment attempt was declined it's very likely that you are seeing a temporary authorization rather than an actual charge, and you will never be charged for or have to pay the authorization amount. These types of charges on your account are temporary and used for place holding by the bank. This is an automated process that your bank, credit card company, payment gateway company, or the store you're trying to make a purchase from can do anything about. Sit back, relax and wait for this all to blow over.

What exactly is an authorization?

For many different types of credit and debit card transactions, an authorization occurs before the actual payment is processed. Another common example can happen when you purchase gasoline and pay at the fuel pump by inserting your card. If you check the account activity online shortly after the fuel purchase, you might notice a separate authorization (sometimes for a small amount such $1.00, and sometimes for much more - even $50.00). This authorization happens when the filling station initially contacts the card's issuing bank to make sure there are sufficient funds available for any likely fuel purchase amount.

These authorizations can have the temporary effect of reducing the available balance for the account, but they will automatically expire and drop off the account eventually, within 1 to 5 days. The duration for which an authorization remains on the account varies by issuing bank or card type, and cannot be controlled.

Important: These authorizations are NOT charges even though they look the same on your account activity to you. The cardholder will never be permanently be billed or have to pay those amounts. These items will also never appear on the cardholder's credit card statements - for most banks or card types, they can only be seen or noticed by viewing the account activity online or calling the card's customer service number.

What to do when you see a transaction on your credit card account for a failed order?

Many banking websites make a distinction between authorizations and actual charges. Double-check the entire item you're seeing - not just the description and the amount. Is there a heading, column or grouping that includes the word "pending" or "authorization"? If you see either of those words next to the item in question, you can know for sure that you're seeing an authorization rather than a charge. Furthermore, for any authorization from GTR Lighting, if the order failed, you can be sure that the authorization will NEVER be captured (that is, converted to an actual, permanent charge).

If your bank's web site does not include an indication of "pending" or "authorization" and you're not sure, please call the customer service number on the back of the card, and speak to a live representative. Ask the bank's representative to confirm for you that you are seeing a pending authorization, and not a captured charge. The representative should also be able to tell you how soon the authorization - which was created by the bank, not by GTR Lighting - will expire and drop off the account permanently.

Why was my credit card declined in the first place?

In today's world of cyber crime, identity theft, hacking and fraud it's important for a company that accepts digital online payments to be diligent to avoid these types of payment dangers. The way we do this is by using strict anti-fraud filtering algorithms within our payment acceptance software. If something doesn't look right to our payment gateway your order may be declined even if the bank allows the pre-authorization charge to appear on your account activity.

Your card may be declined if:

* The balance of available funds is too low to cover the charges.

* The address you provide us as your billing address is not 100% perfectly identical to how it shows up on your credit card bill in the mail.

* The IP address used to place the order is not similar to where the order is being shipped to.

* The billing address and shipping address are not the same.

* You are making a purchase from outside the United States using a credit card that our payment processor does not accept or recognize.

* Our payment processor fraud flag is triggered by some information in your address or credit card.

* Your card is reported as lost or stolen.

Any of these things listed above could potentially decline your transaction. Sometimes the bank declines the transaction and sometimes our payment processor declines the transaction. If you have any questions about why your payment was declined, and to resolve any issues relating to a declined transaction, please call the phone number listed on the back of your credit or debit card and talk to a live representative from the bank and ask for assistance clearing up the issue.