SMS from the bank is not the final word, your Point of Sale Machine is

Most people today know that every SMS cannot be trusted but when paying by card, an SMS from your bank cannot be wrong or can it? Taken from an aritcle in The Star and our many years of experience, we would like to shed some light on this often frustrating topic.

Sometimes a lot of frustration is caused when you are informed that a point of sale transaction was declined and you are requested to have your card swiped for a second time even though you have received a SMS alert from your bank indicating that the transaction has gone through on your account. Basically what happens is that the machine sends a request to the bank for approval. If due to signal congestion or other connectivity issues, the bank’s approval response to the machine takes to long, the machine declines it and informs the bank. In the meanwhile, the bank has already gone and sent you an SMS! If an error ticket is printed from the machine you can be assured that the transaction has not been processed.

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This has in fact been confirmed by the major banks with the following explanation:

“The retailer’s card machine sends the request to the customer’s bank, that bank approves the transaction and sends an approval SMS to the customer. At this time an approval message is also sent to the merchant’s card machine but in some instances this fails to reach the machine because of a timeout or network issue. In such instances the machine does not receive the approval message and declines the transaction.”

Therefore, no matter what your bank SMS says, if the cashier’s card machine can produce a slip saying transaction failed/declined/unsuccessful you can be assured that your payment did not go through. If in doubt, contact your bank to check what has or has not been debited to your account.

The WAPPoint team have the following tips that you can use when, as a merchant, you are found in this situation:

  1. Ask the client to phone their bank to confirm that it did not go through.
  2. Take down the client’s details, do the transaction again and inform them that if they can show on their bank statement that it went off twice, a reversal can be processed.
  3. Call the WAPPoint 24 hour technical helpline on 021 3000 121 so that they can assist you in confirming that the transaction did not go through.

We believe that you deserve more than just a Merchant Service provider and offer our clients so much more! To find out more about what we offer and how we can provide a service tailored to your needs fill out our Sign Up form and one of our sales team will get in touch with you.

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