Why do some customers see pending payments on their online banking?

Some Airpay customers have raised an issue with pending payments showing on their online banking summaries that they do not expect. This article explains why this happens to some customers when their payments go through smart auth.

The way that AirPay charges passenger is as follows:

  1. Customer requests a ride. At this point AirPay will estimate the fare and authorise the fare amount on the passengers card.
  2. An authorisation is essentially ring fencing the money for the fare in the customers bank account.
  3. Once the journey is completed the the final fare is calculated.
  4. The final fare is calculated and if the amount is different to step 1, one of two things happen.
  5. If the journey cost increased AirPay ask the banks to add an amount to the original authorisation amount from step 1. AirPay do this by an authorisation adjustment. We call this 'SmartAuth'.
  6. If the journey costs less AirPay ask the bank for partial amount from step 1 and release the rest of the funds to the customer.

The issue that some passengers have been facing is largely due the cost increasing and having to request addition money from the customers bank account.

To use an example:

The original fare is £10

The original fare was adjusted up to £15 as the journey took longer than expected.

The end result for a small percentage of passengers is the following:

  • They see the final amount of £15 on their statement. This is to be expected.
  • They see the amount of the fare adjustment on the statement as well. Resulting in a temporary line on their statement of £5 in this case. The value of £5 is how much the fare increase by, as AirPay had to ask the customers bank for more money to cover the cost of the fare.

Why is this happening?

This is happening because when AirPay Adjust the fare addition funds have to be requested from the bank. The banks are supposed to link these transactions together so that they appear as one item to the passenger. However we have found that in some cases this is not happening. The end result is that the shopper appears to be charge twice, they have not been charged twice.

How the Banks handle payments and authorisation adjustments

There are essentially three ways in which a bank can handle this transactions:

  1. The bank chooses not show any pending transactions at all. The bank will not show any pending transactions or transactions for which AirPay have just ring fenced money for the fare. The net result here is that the customer only ever sees the final captured amount on their statement.
  2. The bank shows pending or ring fenced amounts as well as transaction for which AirPay have captured the funds on behalf of you. In this case every time the shopper makes a payment this will appear on the shoppers statement. These transactions will generally be flagged as pending, but not always. They will also see the final captured amount. The result here is the customer can see multiple items on their statement.
  3. This is the same as option 2, however in this case the bank appropriately links the original or pending transaction and the fare adjustment into one payment. Resulting in one payment on the shoppers statement.

Overall Issuing Bank adoption for options 1 and 3 is very high. The issue we have sometimes is with banks that fall into option 2. At present we believe this falls into the newer banks rather than the tradition banks such as HSBC, Lloyds etc

Still require assistance? Email our support team.