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Capturing a payment

Authorizing a payment merely ringfences the authorized amount. You must capture the payment before the transaction amount is transferred to your merchant account. The capture operation allows you to capture the authorized amount to your account.

Read more about the distinction between authorization, capture, and purchase transactions on the payment operations page.

What is the capture operation?

When you authorize a payment on your customer's payment card you verify that your customer is able to pay the amount that you are authorizing and ensure that your customer's bank ringfences the amount so that your customer cannot spend the funds elsewhere.

However, to complete the transaction and transfer the authorized amount to your merchant account you must execute a separate capture operation.

The capture could be partial, so that an amount that is less than the authorized amount is transferred. Alternatively, you can capture the full authorized amount. You can also execute the capture command multiple times, to a maximum amount -- the amount you authorized. However, you can never capture an amount greater than the authorized amount.

Our two-step authorization and capture process enable you to capture payments either automatically or manually. If you prefer to capture the amount automatically you should use the purchase operation instead of the authorize operation.

When should I use the capture operation?

Use the capture operation as part of a two-step authorize, capture transaction flow if you have a transaction workflow that has unique requirements. This is in contrast to the single step purchase operation that authorizes and captures in one operation.

For example, you may want to make sure that your customer can pay for goods before you start procuring the goods -- but you may not want to charge your customer's payment card before you are certain you are able to ship the goods your customer ordered.

Or, if the final amount your customer is required to pay is uncertain and you want to ensure that your customer has the means to pay an expected amount -- while only charging the full amount once the final bill becomes clear.

Go to the full API reference

We've given you an overview of how the capture step works and why you would choose the capture operation instead of the purchase operation. Developers should review the full API reference for complete instructions.

Need further help?

If you get stuck feel free to get in touch with the Amazon Payment Services team. Just message our support team at