If you have a transaction workflow that is unique you can choose to step through the payment process in distinct steps. Amazon Payment Services also allows you to manipulate payments in situ.
For example, you can use our API to partially capture an authorized amount, to void authorization -- or to refund a payment you have already captured.
Why do I need to use payment operations?
Many transactions follow the standard workflow: your customer checks out and pays, and you ship the goods -- or render the services. However, there are often circumstances where a payment must be processed in more distinct steps.
For example, you may want to make sure that your customer can pay for goods before you start to buy those goods for eventual delivery. However, you may not want to charge your customer's payment card before you are certain you are able to ship the goods that your customer ordered.
Or, consider the scenario where the final amount that your customer is required to pay is uncertain and you want to ensure that your customer has the means to pay the expected maximum amount -- while only charging the full amount once the final bill becomes clear.
Payment maintenance operations allow you to code custom payment flows that meet these unique requirements.
What are payment operations?
While Amazon Payment Services offers low-code solutions that enable merchants to easily start accepting payments by simply connecting to our API, the underlying payment process still consists out of distinct steps, called payment operations.
For example, straightforward transactions use the
purchase operation to
send a single request to the Amazon Payment Services server that
executes both the authorize command and the capture command in one go.
Another example of a payment operation would be the
which you can use if you want to refund an amount already captured.
When your customer makes a transaction you will use one of two commands to initiate the transaction:
Authorize. With this operation you ask your customer's bank to verify that your customer can pay the requested transaction amount. The customer's bank also ringfences the amount for a set period. For example, by reducing the customer's available credit card balance. Note that the authorize step does not transfer the transaction amount to your merchant account, you must execute the
capturecommand to transfer the amount.
Purchase. This command performs the complete payment cycle in a single step by authorizing the transaction amount and capturing the transaction amount in a single step.
👆 When you authorize a payment, the customer's bank verifies that the customer can pay the requested transaction amount. The customer's bank also ringfences the amount for a set period. For example, by reducing the customer's available credit card balance. Note that the authorize step does not transfer the transaction amount to the merchant.
👆 To transfer an authorized amount to your merchant account you must capture the transaction amount by performing a capture operation. The amount that you capture can be less than the authorized amount but cannot be greater than the authorized amount. You can authorize and capture in one step by using the purchase operation.
If you do not, within a set period, capture or void a transaction that you have authorized the transaction is automatically voided and the funds returned to your customer.
Payment maintenance operations
Maintenance operations can be performed after an amount has been authorized or after a purchase transaction. Once your customer has confirmed their card details and passed security and only if an amount was authorized on the customer's card will you be able to carry out a maintenance operation.
These are the payment maintenance operations you should be aware of:
Capture. To transfer the authorized amount to your merchant account you must capture the transaction amount by performing a capture operation. The amount that you capture can be less than the authorized amount but cannot be greater than the authorized amount. You can also capture amounts multiple times, to a maximum amount -- the amount you authorized.
Void. In some instances, you or your customer may not want to or be able to complete the transaction. For example, if the customer cancels a reservation. If you do not wish to capture a payment you can void it using the void operation which immediately releases your customer's funds. However, captured payments can only be refunded. Read more about the void command here.
Refund. Where you have already captured a payment, you can return to your customer all or part of the funds transferred to your merchant account. You do that using the refund operation.
Get in touch
Payment operations can help your business deal with complex transaction workflows. For help implementing payment maintenance operations and the business logic that drives your transactions feel free to get in touch -- email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org for best practice advice.