Credit Card Issues

Why are some online reservations being accepted without payments?

Sometimes when credit cards are being processed there is a communication error which can be caused by many different things.

The same thing can and probably has happened to you at some point in a supermarket, grocery store or gas station.

The teller swipes your card and there is a delay. Finally the terminal reads back error communicating or payment cancelled or something similar as an error message. The teller would usually give you the error slip printed out by the machine and tell you to keep it. They would then swipe the card again. This is done because:

The failed transaction message may have reached the bank and the transaction processed. However the confirmed message may have dropped on the way back to the tellers machine at the store resulting in the failed message. So when the teller re-runs the card and it goes through you would have two charges for the same amount from the same store on the same day. The banks usually catch these but if they miss it and you can see these payments on your statement you can dispute it because you will have the failed slip the teller gave to you.

On the Internet there is no teller and communication errors can happen for a number of reasons so we err on the side of caution.

What could happen?

People can get distracted half way through making the reservation (door bell, phone call etc) and not complete.

  • They could simply change their mind and go to another website
  • They could go all of the way through making the reservation but their Internet drops out
  • They could go all of the way through making the reservation but the confirmed transaction message never reaches our servers for whatever reason.. (This is the worst scenario because their card would have been charged but we did not get the confirm message so the booking is not complete in RezExpert)

The worst case scenario

The worst case scenario is a client turns up at your front desk at a very busy time insisting they have a booking and proving a charge was made on their card.
So that you never have to face this issue we have put a number of checks and balances in place that you need to be aware of and check on a daily basis.

When a reservation is made online the client gets to the payment screen after:

  • Choosing their unit type
  • Selecting amount of occupants etc
  • Entering all of their details, phone, address etc.
  • We also know at this point the deposit amount they should be paying before they reach the payment screen.

When the client enters the Credit card information into the payment screen we have no idea what they are entering because it is a separate secure form that goes directly to the processor.

RezExpert then waits for a success or failure message to be returned from the processor. This should take place in a split second but we can wait for 30 seconds to 60 seconds.

If for whatever reason the message on the way back drops or the booking not completed at this stage we err on the side of caution and place the reservation on your RezExpert grid in Red with the words CC Failure and with all of the information we captured before they reached the payment screen…. Including the deposit amount they should have paid.

This now enables you to take control. This is what you should do if you find any web related bookings without a deposit :

  • Log into your online merchant account and see if there are any payments for that person or amount on that day.
  • If there is, then you know it is a genuine reservation and you should update the reservation and add the payment to the reservation using the “other payment” option (e.g. payment received – visa – $50.00). A follow up customer service call is also a good idea to the client verbally verifying the booking and asking how their experience was booking online
  • If there is no payment in the online merchant account you could cancel the reservation knowing that no transactions were processed. However the best cause of action would be to call the client as they were in the process of making a reservation and ask if they would still like to book. It is an ideal selling opportunity to regain a lost reservation.

To help see quickly at a glance if you have any of these online failures we not only place them on the grid in red with the words CC Failure, we also show a number in the top left of your RezExpert reservation grid to show how many reservations without a deposit you have. This enables you to quickly audit them each day by clicking on the number in the box and seeing which ones were web bookings.



Number of reservations without a deposit


After clicking on the number in the “rez pending” box you will see a list of reservations without a payment as shown below. Only ones sourced from “Resort Web” are the online bookings.


Clicking on the comments link will show all of the reservation information captured during the online reservation process before the failure occurred.