Duplicate Credit Card Transaction error

Friday, September 2, 2011

Duplicate Credit Card Transaction error

We frequently get multiple sales in the same day from the same customer for exactly the same amount. For example, someone may sign up for a class, and later sign a colleague up for the same class. But the payment processing system rejects the payment, claiming it is a duplicate. What can we do about this?

This is a setting you can change in X-Charge.  Open the X-Charge server software, go to setup->credit cards, and make sure the the checkbox called Allow Duplicate Transactions is checked. Now duplicates will be allowed.

But why is Allow Duplicates turned off by default? Because there is an error condition that can arise -- ourside of your control -- that can lead to a duplicate charge. This occurs when the attempt to charge a card takes too long, and the software decides that the bank is not going to respond.  But the transaction MAY still have been processed at the bank's end of the connection.

Your user gets a time out error, swipes the card again, or enters his card info again on the web. This time it works, and they think everything is fine. But they've been charged twice.

These time outs can be caused by delays anywhere along the Internet path between the user's machine and the credit card processor - the same kind of delays that now and then make a web page take forever to load. Setting Allow Duplicates to off prevents this double charging. But it also prevents a lot of legitimate transactions from being entered. We recommend that you Allow Duplicates. In the rare case that a double charge occurs, you can refund it from the X-Charge console. 

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