02/01/2016

4 Ways to Avoid Suspended Batches

4 Ways to Avoid Suspended Batches

You may have had the experience of attempting to close an open batch of authorized transactions and seeing a notification that one of your batches has been suspended. This means that DOLLARS ON THE NET® has flagged the batch because Shift4 received an error or timeout from the processor indicating a problem with it. When this happens, all or part of the transactions in the batch will remain unfunded until the issue is resolved. Most often, batches are suspended due to a transaction with incorrect or suspicious data that the processor will not accept. We recommend that merchants always examine and correct the transaction data in a suspended batch before settling it.

We’d like to share some tips that can help you reduce the number of suspended batches that you encounter.

  1. Avoid false authorizations by making manual (phone) auths a “manager-only” function.
    There are times when a clerk attempts to authorize a transaction and the card-issuing bank responds with a request to obtain a voice authorization, also called a voice referral. If this happens, you need to call your merchant bank to acquire an authorization code and enter it into DOLLARS ON THE NET. We’ve seen cases where employees have developed the bad habit of quickly entering a fake authorization code instead of taking the time to call and get an actual authorization. This “quick fix” only causes more inconvenience down the road if the batch is settled without fixing the incorrect data.
  2. Pay close attention to suspicious card numbers to prevent yourself from processing fraudulent cardholder data.
    When reviewing a suspended batch, watch for suspicious card numbers. Examples include any card number that has repeating numbers or other unusual number sequences (e.g., “4444 3333” or “1234 5678”). When examining a suspended batch, these transactions should be removed if they are found to be fraudulent card numbers. Card fraud is a major concern for merchants, so noticing a fraudulent card number before the transaction process even begins can save a merchant time, money, and headaches.
  3. Try not to process reservations with check-in or check-out dates more than a few days in the past.
    For those in the hospitality industry, another cause of suspended batches is incorrect or irregular reservation dates. Processors will reject batches with transactions that contain check-in and check-out dates that are months (or further) in the past. Also, properties that use house accounts, which are accounts often created to process miscellaneous charges or for testing purposes, tend to experience a larger number of suspended batches. This is because the house accounts sometimes use random reservation data that the processor will reject when a settlement is attempted, thus causing DOLLARS ON THE NET to flag the batch. If you process transactions using a house account, make sure that you always use realistic reservation information.
  4. Adopt a “measure twice, cut once” policy, making sure to double check card numbers before submitting them.
    For merchants who manually enter card numbers into a keypad, human error can lead to suspended batches, especially when creating a credit transaction. One incorrect digit on a single transaction can result in the entire batch being suspended, so attention to detail is essential. Taking the time to double check the card numbers after you enter them can save a lot of time and effort down the road.

Hopefully with these tips, you will see more batches go through without issue. Not only can this save you time and money, but you and your staff members may form some good habits and policies that can help to catch erroneous card data before it is submitted.

As always, if you have any questions, email support@shift4.com or call 702.597.2480 (option 2) to contact our 24/7/365 Customer Support team.