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Visa Compliance Updates: New Authorization Expiration Time Frames

What’s changing?

Visa has introduced new requirements for transaction authorization timelines, which is the timeframe between when a transaction is authorized and when it is submitted for settlement. Previously, all Visa authorizations were permitted 10 days in an "Authorized" status, before updating to "Authorization Expired." Going forward, Visa expiration timeframes will default to 7 days instead of 10 days, with additional changes for recurring transactions and both reductions and extensions for certain business models. Read on for more details and merchant action required to comply.

Why do we need these changes?

These changes to authorization timelines are in line with best practices for authorization management and create a more positive experience for customers. Most customers expect to see pending authorizations to be settled a day or so after they initiate the transaction. Leaving “stale” authorizations open for a long period of time leaves customers wondering when and if the transaction will be finalized, how much they’ll actually be charged, and when they can fully balance their checkbook.

On the merchant side, a major benefit of settling authorizations sooner is getting paid sooner! Reducing the authorization timeframes is ultimately better for both parties involved, and also ensures merchants are in compliance with Visa’s new rules.

What are the changes, exactly?

Visa global changes (all regions)

The changes below will occur for all merchants processing through Braintree.

Recurring transactions

A recurring transaction is any transaction created using Braintree’s recurring billing or sent with a transaction indicator of recurring. Note that if you are using Braintree’s recurring billing, we will always submit recurring transactions for settlement immediately, so no changes are necessary for you to comply.
Old expiration time frame: 10 days
New expiration timeframe: 24 hours

Unscheduled transactions

An unscheduled transaction is any transaction created using an unscheduled transaction source.
Old expiration time frame: 10 days
New expiration time frame: 24 hours

All other transactions (default)

Old expiration time frame: 10 days
New expiration time frame: 7 days

Visa merchant-specific changes (US and APAC regions)

The changes below will occur for only US and APAC Braintree merchants with the specified business models and Merchant Category Codes (MCCs). An MCC is a four-digit code used to classify a business by the type of goods or services it provides. If you aren’t sure what your MCC is, contact our Support team for assistance.

EXTENDED time frames for Lodging, vehicle rental, and cruise line merchants

Time frames for these travel-related business models are extended to allow more flexibility to adjust for incidentals, add-ons, and other delayed charges.
Affected MCCs: 3501-3999, 7011, 3351-3500, 7512, 7513, 7519
Old expiration time frame: 10 days
New expiration time frame: 31 days

REDUCED time frames for Restaurants, bars, amusement parks, and taxicab merchants

Time frames for these service industry business models are further reduced to ensure merchants submit adjustments soon after a service has been rendered.
Affected MCCs: 5812, 5813, 7996, 4121
Old expiration time frame: 10 days
New expiration time frame: 24 hours

What do merchants need to do?

To comply with these new requirements, merchants should update their workflows to ensure they are submitting all transactions for settlement within the appropriate windows.

It is highly recommended that merchants who utilize the transaction sources “recurring” or “merchant-initiated” submit their transactions for settlement upon creation. Merchants who submit for settlement within the above time frames are unaffected, and no changes are required.

  • For merchants utilizing the Braintree API to submit for settlement, please see our developer documentation.

  • For merchants utilizing the Braintree Control Panel to submit for settlement, please see our support articles.

  • For merchants utilizing a third party shopping cart or billing system, please reach out to your provider for instructions on how to proceed.

Merchants who do not update their integrations may experience increases in "Authorization Expired" transactions. If an authorization expires, merchants may reauthorize the customer’s payment method and submit it for settlement.

By updating these timelines, Braintree not only ensures our merchants remain in good standing and in compliance with Visa authorization timeline requirements. If you have any questions about the changes, please reach out to accounts@braintreepayments.com.

Note: These changes went live on September 10, 2018.

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Tim Whicker Tim is a Business Analyst under Braintree's Payment Operations team. In his free time, he's a tech, music, and design enthusiast. More posts by this author >>

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