Within the payments space, there are a few nuances to consider regarding receiving real-time data. Some may be tied to the specific brand’s preferences over payment processing, or a change in payment processing provider. These scenarios are out of our control, however, there are some pre-emptive actions you can take in response.
It is also possible to not receive a real-time authorization from a brand location, even when they are set up with real-time capabilities. These are edge cases in which transactions will not populate on the Fidel Dashboard in real-time, for brand locations set up for real-time.
You can verify a brand’s eligibility for real-time authorizations within the raw data in the Fidel Dashboard. Irrespective of the card scheme, where a location is eligible for real-time transactions, the raw data will show as follows:
💡 Some of the reasons behind these nuances can be complex and are typically very rare, however, it’s worth being aware of them.
- When a Mastercard is linked for the first time, it can take up to 24 hours for the transaction authorization to trigger. Therefore, an initial transaction will not receive authorization in real-time.
- Brand payment terminals can go offline temporarily. If this occurs at the time of the transaction, no real-time authorization will be triggered, and the transaction would only be flagged at the settlement phase, which is typically 48-72 hours post-transaction.
- From time to time, brands can change the way they process payments. This may mean a change in their physical payment terminal, a new acquirer bank, implementation of new technology or similar tweaks in process. When POS changes occur, it’s possible the brand location may no longer be set up to accept real-time transactions. We’d recommend checking with the brand concerned to understand whether they can still support real-time or not in this scenario.
- In some cases, and usually with larger brands, the brand will choose not to auth under a fixed amount since they pay a fixed rate per auth request. In this case the brand has decided they will accept the risk of funds not being available on the issued cards. This is rare but it does happen.
- Some real-time issues can be caused by how the card schemes operate. Until a certain volume of transactions is reached, the location/MID may not have processed a high enough volume of payments for the card scheme to have an identifier associated with this brand - and therefore won’t facilitate real-time authorization messages until then. Nevertheless, we would expect to see the transaction during the later settlement process.
Fidel would always recommend notifying the customer of spend in real-time (acknowledging that the card has been used) and rewarding by the settlement phase of the transaction.
This point is a slightly more complex issue, and it’s worth diving a little deeper as to why transaction volume can affect a location ⬇️
🤔 Why do networks take longer to provide an identifier for low-volume brand locations?
Essentially, Visa & Mastercard create locations in their brand repositories using live transaction data that runs on their network rails. The card networks will use a combination of Merchant ID & Address data to differentiate locations. As such, to avoid erroneous locations being created on the networks databases for brand data, the card networks will validate that a brand is in fact a genuine and non-fraudulent - much like a KYC/AML process that banks will carry out on prospective customers.
As part of this process, Mastercard's systems will refresh every 60 days looking for new transaction data and require a brand to have regularly processed a certain transaction volume as part of AML checks.
Settlement transactions will always carry a location record as it is part of Mastercard & Visa's Global mandate services - the brand is required to submit postcode & address data on the transaction as shown here:
- Mastercard Transaction Processing Rules
However, within the same document, you will see that authorization messages are not required to carry a postcode or address data (as part of the mandate between Mastercard & Merchant Acquirers/Processors). As such it can often take more time for brand new brands to process real-time authorization messages than a regular brand.
Payment processors like Stripe are known for being able to get brands up and running in a much shorter time-frame. However, this results in them seeing more of these real-time authorization delays. That being said, so long as the brand is processing regular transactions (at least weekly) then a ticket can be submitted to Fidel to request onboarding the brand in Auth.
And Finally This article focuses on the differences within non-payment facilitator transactions. If you are using payment facilitators (Payfacs) like Paypal, iZettle or Discover, we recommend checking out our article on the nuances found in Payfac transactions: