July 13, 2011

What is a Suspended Batch?

Have you ever had a suspended batch? Don’t be too scared, it’s not as bad as it sounds… in fact, it’s not a bad thing at all.
Suspended batches are typically triggered by one of two things 1) missing or invalid data included in the batch or 2) a communication failure somewhere between you and your processor.

In the first case, Shift4 will suspend batches with missing information to protect you from fees, downgrades, and potential chargebacks. Consider this the final step in your pre-settlement auditing process – we go through and flag the transactions that may cause you problems, and hold off on processing those batches until you have time to fix them. If it’s just a few transactions, we can typically split them out of the batch and submit the accurate transactions so as to not delay settlement of all transactions while you sort out the few that may be incorrect.

In the case of communications failure during the settlement process, Shift4 opts to err on the side of caution and suspend batches rather than resubmit. When there is a communications error, it’s difficult to be exactly sure how many (if any) of your transactions made it through the pipe before the problem started. If you were to resubmit the whole batch, those early transactions could be duplicated, resulting in a double-charge to your clients. By suspending the batch we stop the process long enough to confirm with the processor what information they had received before the timeout. We can then remove those already-processed transactions from the batch before we resubmit.

Now, the next time you see “suspended batch,” you’ll know what’s going on. It’s our way of saying “Hey, let’s be cautious about this and make sure we get it right – it’ll pay off in the long run.” Suspended batches help you avoid chargebacks, downgrades and other fees, and frustrated customers; it’s just another way Shift4 shows you that we’ve got your back.