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All sales technically have an authorization step, where the bank confirms the funds are available and places them on hold for the merchant, and a capture step, where the authorization is placed in a batch for funding. For a ‘sale’ the authorization and capture happens simultaneously whereas a ‘pre-authorization’ splits the transaction into the two parts. The pre-authorization will still require an approval from the card issuing bank and place the funds on hold but delay the capture for a later time when the merchant approves (such as after checking inventory and calculating the final total).
Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance is a set of standards developed to ensure that the credit card industry is securing customer data uniformly throughout the industry. PCI compliance applies to any business, regardless of size or transaction volume, that accepts credit cards. Any company that processes, stores or transmits credit card information must be PCI compliant. In the event of a data breach, lack of PCI compliance could result in steep fines by the PCI Security Standards Council. PCI compliance for small business lessens the liability for your business when a data breach occurs.
A refund is made after a transaction has taken place and the merchant is returning the received funds back to the customer. Credit can be given to an account without a transaction ever taking place or after a transaction has taken place. Credit is something that a customer can use towards their purchases, the funds are not returned to their payment method, rather they can be applied to future purchases made from their account.
Using the “Capture” functionality places a hold on the card for the exact amount or less than the transaction amount that was preauthorized.