Handling Partial Authorizations

Partial Authorization occurs when a payment authorization is attempted for a transaction, and there are not enough funds available in the account to cover the total amount. Participating issuers return an auth response with approval for a portion of the original amount requested, enabling the remainder of the transaction amount to be paid by other means.

How it works

  1. The customer presents a prepaid card/ debit card to pay for the purchase i.e $100.
  2. The merchant sends out the authorization request, which includes the Partial Authorization indicator.
  3. When the card's balance ($75) is less than the purchase amount ($100), the issuer sends back an authorization response with a unique response code and the available balance as a partial amount approved.
  4. Merchant identifies the unique response code, subtracts the partially approved amount from the total transaction amount ($100 - $75), and requests another form of payment for the remaining ($25) using split-tender functionality.
  5. The customer pays the remaining purchase with another form of payment, depending upon the merchant's policies and device capabilities.
  6. The merchant completes the sale and prints a receipt showing each payment amount.
  7. The customer is satisfied with a seamless process.

Partial Authorization helps:

  • Merchants realize more sales
  • Reduce authorization declines
  • Helps in increasing Authorization approvals
  • The checkout process runs smoothly



Please note that partial authorizations are only supported on the First Data North, First Data Omaha, and Elavon networks.