While most events hosted by our clients do not require purchasing a ticket, some do. Knowing what to expect when collecting payments will help ensure your success!
What is a payment processor?
A payment processor is the company between a merchant (Event Farm) and your guest’s credit card company. They are responsible for verifying card information, getting authorization for the purchase, performing anti-fraud measures, and then telling the merchant, “You’ve been paid!” Some better-known companies, like Paypal and Stripe, offer payment processing services, but most are companies you’ve probably not heard of.
How does a purchase work?
When a credit card is swiped or entered, the merchant sends that information to the payment processor. The payment processor contacts the credit or debit card company, who in turn contacts the bank or company who issued the card. The bank returns a success or decline message to the payment processor, who then sends that to the merchant.
That sounds like a lot of steps. How successful are purchases?
Most payment processors put out their best numbers (of course), which varies between 90% and 95% success rate. More useful data comes from payment gateways. Spreedly, which integrates with over 120 payment processors, shows an average success rate of 85%.
15% of purchases not going through doesn’t sound great.
You’re right, it feels like a lot. If you’ve spent time as a customer in a retail environment, you might be thinking, “My card works every time.” If you’ve spent time as an employee in a retail environment, you know unsuccessful purchases happen all the time, and sometimes when the customer calls their credit card company, they can’t explain why. This is the reality of payment processing.
How can I improve the success rate?
Choosing a different payment processor may improve the success rate for purchases, but the best thing to do is be prepared for questions from guests. Understand how to see if their payment was successful, and if their registration was successful. Be comfortable asking guests to reach out to their credit card company if their purchases are unsuccessful. And consider a Plan B, when the guest just can’t get a purchase to go through. (The back-up plan is typically to charge the guest through your payment processor, and manually add them as a guest to your event.)
I refunded a guest, and they aren’t seeing the credit to their card yet.
Refunds typically take three to five business days to process, and the length of time can vary from card issuer to card issuer. Many banks and card issuers do not process transactions made after 3pm until the following business day, and they do not process refunds on weekends and most holidays. A refund made Tuesday at 9am may not be credited until the following Monday, while a refund made Tuesday at 3pm may not be credited until the following Tuesday. If five full business days have passed and guests are not seeing a credit, you should contact your payment processor to ensure the refunds were successfully made.