Aged Batch – When a credit card transaction is not settled in 14 days, it is considered aged. The settlement, or batching, of that transaction is then considered an aged batch. In some situations, such as with Rush Mode, transactions may also need the additional step of obtaining initial authorization from the credit card processor before the settlement attempt. In any situation where 365 is aware of a pending aged batch, 365 must obtain approval from the operator before any unsettled transactions over 14 days old can be processed. Transactions within 14 days will be processed normally.
Authorization – When a credit card transaction occurs, the first step is to obtain authorization, which passes through the credit card processor to the cardholder’s bank. The bank either approves or declines the transaction, and the decision is returned to the kiosk through the credit card processor. If the kiosk is unable to obtain a response from the credit card processor, it will re-attempt authorization periodically. Authorized transactions may show as either “pending” or “finalized” depending on the type of card used and the bank’s policies. However, the transactions are not actually finalized until settlement completes successfully.
Settlement – This is the process that finalizes each credit card transaction authorization. It typically occurs at the end of the day, unless performed manually. When settled, the transaction will move from pending to finalized. If settlement is delayed, transactions that were on the cardholder’s credit card or bank statement may be removed by the bank. The timeframe depends on each bank’s policy, but it is typically between three and eight business days. When delayed transactions are finally settled, if previously removed, the charges will reappear on the cardholder’s statement with a date that differs from the original transaction.
Rush Mode (if applicable) – If a kiosk is unable to obtain a response after three consecutive attempts to communicate with the processor, the kiosk will activate Rush Mode if it is setup. This allows all transactions to be pre-approved without processor interaction. When Rush Mode transactions obtain authorization, the date on the consumer’s credit card or bank statement may not be the date of the actual transaction. This is because Rush Mode queues transactions for authorization on a later date, when connectivity is restored.
- Non-OTI/365Secure – Authorization is attempted at the end of the day before the kiosk tries to settle the daily batch of transactions.
- OTI/365Secure – Authorization is attempted the moment the kiosk regains connectivity. OTI/365Secure kiosks also refer to Rush Mode as “Store & Forward”.
A kiosk will exit Rush Mode when no credit card transactions have been attempted for 40 minutes, or after the nightly settlement attempt.
Reasons Why Aged Batches Occur
- When a location experiences persistent connectivity issues for 15 days or longer, the kiosks may accept transactions through Rush Mode and queue them for later authorization. When connectivity is restored, operators should ask Support for assistance in checking the credit card transactions on the kiosk(s). Any transaction less than 14 days old will be processed normally. Transactions over 14 days old will become part of an aged batch. Support will place aged batch transactions on hold until an Aged Batch Approval form is signed by the operator. If connectivity is restored without intervention, any aged transactions may be automatically processed.
For OTI/365Secure kiosks – Aged transactions are automatically held. However, it is still good practice to have the kiosk validated whenever a connectivity issue is resolved.
Important: If a kiosk is unable to successfully authorize credit card transactions, the kiosk may report successful batching if there are no authorized transactions to settle. For this reason, it is vital to contact Support for validation whenever a connectivity issue occurs.
- When a location operates normally and successfully authorizes credit card transactions, but connectivity issues prevent settlement for 15 days or longer:
- Non-OTI/365Secure – The authorized transactions will fall off the consumer’s credit card and bank statements because they were never settled. The length of time it takes for this to occur depends on each bank’s policy. If the transactions are later settled, they will re-appear on the statement with a new posting date.
- OTI/365Secure – If authorization was successful, the credit card processor will automatically settle at the end of each day. However, it is still important to resolve the connectivity issue preventing the kiosk’s settlement attempt to ensure correct reporting.
Proactive Steps to Minimize Aged Batches
- Create offline alerts for your devices – Offline alerts can be created through our Smart HQ or ADM websites. These alerts can be configured to notify multiple users of potential network issues before an aged batch situation occurs.
To prevent unwanted notifications, 365 recommends setting the offline alert threshold to 30 minutes.
- Monitor your ACH credit card deposits – It is important for operators to monitor their deposits for credit card sales. All processors (including 365) send settlement reports on a regular basis. If you notice that one of your sites is not reporting credit card sales, please contact 365 Support immediately.
- Review credit transaction logs – There are multiple reports available on ADM and Smart HQ that provide information about credit card activity. Missing data would indicate a network issue and potential for an open credit card batch. If you notice that one of your live locations isn’t reporting sales or credit card activity, please contact 365 Support immediately.
- Contact 365 Support prior to closing a location – One of the most common aged batch scenarios is when an operator removes a kiosk from service, and then forgets to contact 365 Support to close any remaining open credit batches. To prevent this scenario, be sure to always contact 365 Support prior to removing a device from any location.
Note: Open batches reported by the processor often result from kiosks that have been removed. It is vital to contact 365 Support for a final batch and sync when a location is closing, even if only temporarily.
How to Address Aged Batches When They Occur
- When an aged batch is discovered (either by the operator or by 365 Support), 365 Support places the batch and/or authorization of Rush Mode transactions on hold. Then they request a signed Aged Batch Approval form from the operator. The operator can decide to have the aged batch processed or discarded, depending on the size and age of the transactions.
365 recommends that consumers at the market location where the aged batch occurred, are informed of the situation and the steps that will be taken before approving the batch. Consumers may not have budgeted for the delayed charges, or the charges may have fallen off their credit card or bank statements and may not match the original transaction dates. It is critical that consumers understand what to expect on their credit card and bank statements to avoid confusion and ensure a successful resolution of the aged batch.
- In situations where aged batches cannot be put on hold (i.e., non-OTI kiosk regains connectivity without 365 Support’s assistance), any aged transactions may be automatically authorized and settled during the nightly settlement. The Aged Batch Approval form is not necessary because the transactions have already settled. However, it is still critical to confirm the situation with 365 Support and inform the location that the delayed charges are valid.