Where's our money... from last year?
The call started out as any other, a support call regarding a terminal’s printer being faint. I thought, hey, no biggie. This is a quick setting adjustment and we’ll be on our way. I learned the terminal had been in a closet for a few months and they were unsure if it could still be used as a backup. We made the update to the printer settings and ran a test sale, which went through with no problem. However, there was a slight oddity.
The "transaction number" was over 300 rather than being transaction #1 as I expected. Naturally, this was an eye-brow raiser for me and I had to dive in. I asked them to print out a batch report from the terminal, and through the phone I could hear an incredibly long receipt printing! The terminal was reporting more than $30,000 in unsettled transactions. Uh-oh... this means they haven't been paid $30,000. I let the merchant know not to use the terminal until I called them back so that I could research. I knew this was a learning opportunity, since I had never seen a batch this old.
Sure enough, the network was showing the batch in "stale status" that was opened 13 months ago! I thought to myself how this was going to be a doozy of a time capturing these sales. Typically, an approval code will remain active for only a few weeks, maybe a few months. How could an approval from more than a year ago be captured for funding? I was seriously worried that this merchant would never see the money for these sales. Luckily, after thorough research, I learned that many banks have recently altered their internal processes, and will still allow an old authorization code to process - just with increased interchange rates charged to the merchant. I’ll admit, I was still skeptical but hopeful!
I called back the merchant and we attempted a settlement, and the batch closed without issue. Great! Upon review of the settlement the following morning, I was pleased to find that only a few sales were not able to be captured, totaling about $5,000. Not bad, considering $30k was on the line from over a year ago! I was able to confirm the missed sales and with a little detective work together with the merchant, we determined which of their client’s cards were unable to process. They decided not to reach out to their customers about a transaction from so long ago, but if they wanted to they had the records to do so.
The big takeaway: Always review your daily sales, and match them with your bank deposits. This could have been easily avoided, but instead, this business was without $30,000 in sales for about a year, and lost about $5,000. A costly mistake, but certainly avoidable! Always review your daily sales, and reconcile with your bank and settle your terminal daily. Had this merchant been utilizing an "auto-batch" feature, this would not have been a costly learning experience. We highly recommend automatically batching every day, and are happy to set your terminal up to do so.