Merchant Voice Authorizations for Credit Cards

How (and Why) to Obtain a Voice Authorization

Normally, QuickBooks Merchant Services obtains an electronic authorization before processing a transaction. However there are two scenarios when you might need to seek a voice authorization:

  1. You think a transaction is legitimate but technical problems with your PC, terminal, or software prevent you from obtaining an electronic authorization. You need an alternate way to find out whether your customer has the funds necessary for the transaction.
  2. You suspect fraud and want to report it to the issuing credit card company without alerting your customer.

What is a Voice Authorization?
A voice authorization is a simple check to ensure that the cardholder has the funds available for your transaction. Voice authorization is not the same as processing the transaction — you still need to process the transaction to receive the funds.

How Does Voice Authorization Work?
There are two steps to processing a voice authorization. First, you will authorize the transaction, which secures the funds for your use. Then you will process the transaction in QuickBooks, to collect the funds. The following steps assume that you started to process the transaction electronically and had to stop and seek voice authorization.

Step 1: Obtain Authorization

  1. Have the following information on hand:
    1. Your merchant number. (This number appears on your monthly statement, your imprinter, and in the approval e-mail you received when you first signed up.)
    2. Cardholder’s credit card number
    3. Card expiration date
    4. Purchase amount
  2. Call the appropriate voice authorization center:
    Visa/MasterCard: (800) 228-1122
    American Express: (800) 528-2121
    Discover® Network: (800) 347-1111
    Diners Club: (800) 525-9040
  3. You will receive an authorization code. Be sure to write this number down.

Step 2: Process the Transaction in QuickBooks

  1. Return to the original transaction in QuickBooks.
  2. Save the transaction again.
  3. In the Process Credit Card Payment window, click the Voice Authorization Number link.
  4. Enter the voice authorization code you received when you called the voice authorization center in Step 1.
  5. Click submit.

Note: If you end up canceling a sale after you receive authorization but before processing the payment, you also need to cancel the authorization. To do so, call the same voice authorization center number that you called in Step 1.

How Do I Use the Voice Authorization Process to Report Fraud?
If you suspect that a transaction may be fraudulent, it is important to report the transaction to the issuing credit card company. The process starts out much like a voice authorization. It may be useful to tell your customer that you are having a problem with your equipment and need to call the credit card company, just as though this were a normal voice authorization process.

  1. Hold onto the credit card and have it on hand to answer questions from the issuing credit card company.
  2. Call the appropriate voice authorization center:
    Visa/MasterCard: (800) 228-1122
    American Express: (800) 528-2121
    Discover Network: (800) 347-1111
    Diners Club: (800) 525-9040
  3. Ask for a “Code 10” authorization.
  4. The credit card company will walk you through a series of “Yes” or “No” questions to help you determine how to proceed.

Please note: The credit card company may ask you to keep the customer’s card, if you can do so safely. Remember that you should always put your safety and your employees’ safety first. As with all anti-fraud measures, it is important to discuss these scenarios with your staff to make sure they feel prepared to handle these situations. For the fastest possible response time, be sure to keep the voice authorization center phone numbers near your PC or terminal and your telephone.