A credit card transaction can seem simple on the surface, but once you start accepting payments online, you can quickly become confused with all of the transaction specific terms. On this page, we will introduce you to the different terms and explain the lifetime of a transaction.


An authorization (also referred to as a reservation) of a transaction is the first step in the lifetime of a transaction. When we authorize a transaction we ask the cardholder’s bank (issuing bank) if we can reserve the transaction amount on the card. You can charge your customers in any currency.

From the issuing bank, we get a message of either success or failure to reserve the amount.

If we get a failure message, we also receive an error code explaining the reason. Depending on the issuing bank we receive different error codes. Here are some common errors on authorizations:

  • Insufficient funds
  • Wrong card number
  • Card lost or stolen

Failed transactions will not show in your Paylike dashboard, but can be pulled from our API.

If we get a success message from the issuing bank, we have the following possibilities for the transaction:

  • Void
  • Capture

An authorized transaction is valid for 30 days whereafter it expires and automatically becomes void. You can void and capture payments directly in your Paylike dashboard, through most of our plugins and via the API.


To void a transaction means to cancel the authorization and remove the reservation of the money on the cardholder’s account. A transaction can either be partial or fully voided in Paylike.

Once you have voided a transaction amount, you can not capture it again.

You should void a transaction if the transaction is not to be captured, e.g. in the case that the customer cancels the order before you have shipped it.


To capture a transaction means to move either a partial or the full amount of the authorized transaction from the cardholder’s account to your Paylike account. You can never capture more than the authorized transaction amount.

You should capture the transaction once you have delivered the sold goods or service to the customer.

Settlement of a captured transaction

Depending on your settlement and reserve terms, the captured transaction will be settled (transferred) from your Paylike account to your designated bank account on a fixed schedule. A settlement includes all the captured transactions within a given period.

Most merchants receives a settlement once a week.


Anytime, typically maximum 14 months after the capture, you can receive a dispute (chargeback or retrieval request) on a captured transaction. The cardholder can initiate a dispute for many reasons, among them are:

  • The card was stolen and the transaction was not made by the cardholder
  • The cardholder claims that you did not deliver the product or service
  • The cardholder claims that you captured the wrong amount
  • The cardholder can not recognise the transaction and is requesting the receipt (retrieval request)

Immediately when Paylike receives the dispute, the amount is added to your account reserve. Read more about disputes here to understand when and why you can receive one and how you can respond to it.

This is a simplified description of the lifetime of a transaction. If you want more details you should refer to our technical documentation on Github or contact us.