How to accept credit card without charging it?

8 replies
For the upcoming case study on my blog, part of the deal with the subject is that they will put a credit card on file with me with the understanding that I will charge the card should they default on their part of the bargain.

What's the best way for me to collect the information from them in advance--securely--without actually charging the card? In my Google wanderings, I see some sites who give you a pdf to fill out, but that doesn't seem secure.

Or should I just have them "buy" something for $.01 and do it via PayPal's credit card processing like usual?
#accept #card #charging #credit
  • Profile picture of the author JennSpencerIM
    Could you charge them and then refund when they follow through...basically the opposite of what you are trying to do but maybe that's not what you want. Just an idea that might be easier to work out in case the credit card limit is reached or number changed/canceled later on...
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    • Profile picture of the author Laura B
      That's a good idea, Jenn, it didn't cross my mind. The only problem is that I didn't have that in the disclaimer previously, so I don't know if it would be fair to ask the winner to agree to it. But it's probably the best way to go. Thanks!
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      • Profile picture of the author TommyBussey
        Laura, I'm not sure of exactly what the stipulations of your transaction might be, but in my early days I used PayPal to offer Free Trials. What this does is it allows you to charge them $0.00 for a certain number of days (whatever you decided) and then if they don't cancel the subscription it will charge them whatever your fee might be.

        I'm not sure if this link will work for you but here's an example of a subscription button and if you scroll down you will see a check box that you can tick to offer a free trial.

        If that link doesn't work, just go to this link, then click the "Setting Up" tab, then click the "Subscribe" button, and this will take you to an example.

        Hope this helps!



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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          This is similar to what some companies such as netflix do - they take credit card info and once a month they charge $1 to the card (to make sure the card is still active) and then the $1 is refunded to the card in a couple days.

          They do this even though you pay for a year in advance.

          If it's a long term project, "testing" the card monthly or quarterly may be a good idea.

          kay
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  • Profile picture of the author Laura B
    Thanks, Tommy, I will check that out, and thanks, Kay, as well. I appreciate the suggestions very much!
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    • Profile picture of the author ChasHicks
      With some merchant accounts you can do a Pre-Authorization and not charge the card. It posts a test transaction for a given amount but it does not commit the transaction until you tell it to. It does NOT actually transfer funds when you do it as a pre-auth.

      Charlie
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  • Profile picture of the author Bellthorpe
    Or should I just have them "buy" something for $.01 and do it via PayPal's credit card processing like usual?

    ... with the understanding that I will charge the card should they default on their part of the bargain.

    I've edited, and swapped the order of, your quoted material to better suit my answer.

    If they pay you something with PayPal, you do not have the ability to go back and make another charge. Only the account holder can initiate a charge against their PayPal account.
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    • Profile picture of the author Laura B
      Originally Posted by Bellthorpe View Post

      If they pay you something with PayPal, you do not have the ability to go back and make another charge. Only the account holder can initiate a charge against their PayPal account.
      Coincidentally, I just realized that and came back to this thread, and here was your post. I knew there was a reason it wouldn't work, but it wasn't coming to mind until now.

      Does anyone know if there's a way to do the preauthorization that Charlie mentioned above with PayPal?
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