Authorization & Capture


Overview

Authorization and capture enables you to authorize the availability of funds for a transaction but delay the capture of funds until later. This is often useful for merchants who have a delayed order fulfillment process. Authorize & Capture also enables merchants to modify the original authorization amount due to order changes occurring after the initial order is placed, such as taxes, shipping or gratuity.

Authorize and capture can be used in tandem with other PayPal payment options, such as Express Checkout, Website Payments Pro, and PayPal Payments Standard buttons.

The time periods for authorization and capture are:

Period Duration Description
Authorization

A 29-day period that begins when the customer authorizes the payment.

Note: A day is defined as the start of the calendar day when an authorization or reauthorization is made, from 00:00 to 23:50 Pacific Time.

The authorization places the customer's balance on hold to ensure that you can capture the funds.

Honor

A three-day period from day one to day three of the authorization period.

Note: A day is defined as the start of the calendar day when an authorization or reauthorization is made, from 00:00 to 23:50 Pacific Time.

After a successful authorization or reauthorization, PayPal honors the authorized funds for three days. However, PayPal cannot ensure that 100% of the funds will be available.

You can only reauthorize a payment after the honor period concludes.

To ensure that funds are still available, you can re-authorize a payment after the initial three-day honor period from days four to 29, after the three-day honor period for the original authorization expires. A re-authorized payment has a new, three-day honor period and there should be only one re-authorization within the honor period. If 30 days have passed from the original authorization, you must create a new authorization. You can re-authorize a transaction once for up to 115% of the original authorization or $75 USD more, whichever is less.

Within a 29-day authorization period, you can issue multiple reauthorizations after the initial three-day honor period expires.

Day Action Authorization period Honor period
1 Authorization-1 Begins 29-day authorization period Days 1 through 3
4 Reauthorization-1 on Authorization-1 Within 29-day authorization period Days 4 through 7
8 Reauthorization-2 on Authorization-1 Within 29-day authorization period Days 8 through 11

For any payment type, you can capture less than the or the full original authorized amount. You can also capture up to 115% of or $75 USD more than the original authorized amount, whichever is less.

You can also complete partial captures during a single authorization period. For PayPal payment authorizations, you must enable this feature on your PayPal account.

Note:

  • Customers and merchants cannot close accounts that have authorized but not yet captured payments.
  • You can also authorize payments for orders, which confirms the availability of funds but does not place the funds on hold.

Types of authorizations

You can make two types of authorizations, basic authorizations and order authorizations.

Basic authorizations

Basic authorizations place the customer's funds on hold for up to 29 days. During this time, you can capture, void, or reauthorize the funds. You can reauthorize a transaction only once. You can reauthorize it for up to 115% of the originally authorized amount or an increase of $75 USD (whichever is the lesser amount).

You can capture NVP/SOAP and void NVP/SOAP basic authorizations through the APIs or by logging in to your PayPal account and using the web interface.

Orders and order authorizations

Creating a PayPal Order indicates that the buyer has consented to the purchase but does not place the funds on hold. After creating the Order, you can capture the order directly without any additional authorization, or you can create an authorization API call to place funds on hold until you are ready to capture. Since the order does not place funds on hold, it is advised that you follow the second approach and create an authorization instead of capturing an Order directly.

This technique is often used by merchants who accept orders for varying items, some of which may not be available for shipment at the time the order is placed. Subsequent basic authorizations are made as the items become available. These authorizations ensure the customer still has the funds available to purchase each item. You can make up to 10 basic authorizations for each Order. If your account allows only a limited number of authorizations per Order, contact PayPal Customer Support to configure your account to allow up to 99 basic authorizations for each Order.

You create authorizations on order transactions using either the PayPal API (for Express Checkout or Website Payments Pro) or PayPal Payments Standard. For Direct Payments with Website Payments Pro, you can only create authorizations; you cannot create order authorizations.

An order is valid for 29 days. Within this period, you can request one or many authorizations to ensure the availably of funds. The sum of the total open authorizations can’t exceed 115% or $75 (whichever is less) of the amount provided to PayPal when the order was created.

Using authorization and capture

You create authorizations or order transactions using either the PayPal API (for Express Checkout or Website Payments Pro) or PayPal Payments Standard. For Direct Payments with Website Payments Pro, you can only create authorizations; you cannot create order authorizations.

After you have created authorizations, you can capture, void, or reauthorize the transaction using the PayPal API. You can capture or void authorizations from the PayPal website.

You must capture and void orders and order authorizations with the Authorization and Capture APIs. You cannot process order authorizations through the PayPal website. The PayPal website only supports processing basic authorizations, not order authorizations.

Integration information

For integration information see How to Authorize and Process a Payment Using Express Checkout.

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