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Manually Capturing Transactions (Authorize Only)

The "authorize only" feature allows your payment gateway to authorize the charge without actually withdrawing the funds from the customer's account until you approve it. For example, some store owners prefer not to charge their customers until the order is ready for shipment. Using authorize only has other benefits like reducing fraud, reducing processing costs, and improving customer satisfaction.


Payment Gateways that Allow "Authorize Only"

See Available Payment Gateways for all gateways that support authorize only, and all gateways that support capturing of funds from the BigCommerce control panel.

Only some gateways support manual capture from the BigCommerce control panel (designated in Available Payment Gateways). For all others, you'll need to log into your payment gateway's dashboard or terminal to capture funds.


Setting up Authorize Only

Use the following steps to enable Authorize Only for any of the payment gateways we've listed. To get started, go to Store SetupPayments, and click the settings tab of the payment gateway. In this example, we're using Authorize.Net.

Authorize.Net Settings tab

In the payment gateway settings, look for Transaction Type. Click the drop-down, select Authorize Only, and Save your changes.

Authorize Only transaction type


Capturing Funds Within BigCommerce

You can only capture funds within BigCommerce if you are using a payment gateway that supports it. For all others, log into your payment gateway's dashboard or terminal.

Note that authorizations will expire after a certain amount of time. Depending on the gateway, this can be anywhere between 7 and 30 days.

To capture funds for an order, go to OrdersView, and click the + icon next to the order you wish to capture funds for.

Expand order button

With the order expanded, click Capture Funds in the Billing section of the order details. A confirmation pop-up will display. Click Ok to capture funds.

Capture funds link

A clock icon will appear next to the order status, along with the message, "Capture request has been received and will be processed shortly."

Clock icon for when captures and voids are being processed.

If your payment gateway does not immediately capture the funds, the payment status will change from Awaiting Payment to Capture Pending, which is only visible via the API.

Once payment is captured successfully, the order's status will update to either Awaiting Shipment or Awaiting Fulfillment, depending on your gateway. You will also see a new notification message on the dashboard, informing that the capture request was successfully processed for the order.

Notification message on the dashboard for successful captured payments.

If a pending capture is declined or rejected, the payment status will revert back to Authorized.


Authorization can expire! If for any reason the funds cannot be captured, an error message will display at the top of the View Orders screen. If this occurs, contact your payment gateway for additional information as the authorization may have expired.

Capturing Funds for Multiple Orders

To capture funds for multiple orders at once, go to OrdersView, and check the box next to the orders you want to capture funds for.

Select Capture Funds for Selected from the Choose an action menu, then click Confirm.

Capture Funds for Selected action



How much of a window will I have to capture a transaction when set to Authorize Only?

The payment gateway determines the capture window.

How can using Authorize Only reduce fraud?

One of the most significant benefits of authorize only is that the cardholder cannot dispute a transaction or issue a chargeback if funds have not been captured.

How can using Authorize Only reduce processing fees?

Some credit card processors charge a fee for chargebacks or refunds. A card that has not been charged does not need to be refunded. Additionally, refunds are often due to not having enough inventory to fulfill outstanding orders. By using authorize only, you do not have to issue refunds for orders that could not be shipped.

How can using Authorize Only improve customer satisfaction?

Echoing the above response: as a consumer, it is disappointing to pay for something and not get it. By not capturing an authorized payment, the customer has peace of mind knowing their account has not been charged for an out of stock item.

Having an easy to find transaction policy can help set expectations. Something as simple as "your card will not be charged until your order has been processed" can go a long way towards improving customer relationships.

Can I void an authorized payment?

Yes, the process is similar to capturing payment. The order status will show instead as Void Pending, with an accompanying clock icon.

How long will an order remain in Pending Capture?

Orders will remain in Pending Capture until we receive a response from the merchant processor. Declined or rejected transactions will revert to Authorized, and successful captures will display as Awaiting Fulfillment.

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