Our experience in mobile retail solutions at large footfall events has taught us a lot about the processing of card payments in offline mode. Offline mode is required for card payments when no mobile data connection is available to seek online authorisation from your selected acquirer or payment gateway.
When you accept card transactions you should seek an authorisation from the cardholder’s card issuer that the transaction details that have been processed by your terminal are correct. You will receive an authorisation code for that particular transaction at that time on that day.
However, even though an authorisation has been given it only checks that there are available funds in that card account up to the value of the transaction at the time it is processed and that the card used has not been reported as lost or stolen. An authorisation does not guarantee that a transaction is not fraudulent or that it will not be charged back at a later date. This is an important point that you have to remember. PIN code can be lost or stolen and not all PIN verified card transactions are immune from fraud.
When a retailer wishes to operate in an environment where they know that the data communications for online authorisations will be weak they often consider implementing mobile retail solutions that support off-line card payments. Our mobile retail solution supports these types of card payments. We work with the retailer and the acquirer to agree the rules of engagement for off-line card payments thereby ensuring that retailers never lose a sale just because a data connection is not available at the critical time of a card payments.
Offline card payments may be necessary for on-board airline or train card payments when a WIFI connection is unavailable. Even with mobile phone voice coverage a retailer operating a pop-up store at a busy event (for example, Chelsea Flower Show) is never guaranteed to get a data connection and therefore they will want us to configure the retail systems to support offline card processing.