Simple definition
Confirming and collecting a payment.
Expanded definition
The process of finalizing a preauthorized transaction, ensuring funds are transferred from the cardholder's account.


For card transactions, the final step between authorization and funds dispersal is capture. Understanding this pivotal part of the payment processing cycle unlocks a merchant’s ability to finalize sales confidently. Let’s explore what capture entails and best practices around it.

Defining Capture

Capture occurs after a merchant receives card authorization but before settlement. The merchant "captures" the authorized transaction to claim its completion and initiate the transfer of approved funds.

Capturing solidifies the sales agreement. It converts preliminary card approvals into closed transactions destined for bank deposits. Merchants can even delay capturing for up to several days after authorization.

The Importance of Timely Capture

Prompt capture offers advantages like:

  • Preventing settlement delays that slow revenue deposits
  • Reducing authorization reversals that force reprocessing
  • Meeting card network rules around timing thresholds
  • Supporting accounting needs to record completed sales
  • Enabling faster order fulfillment after payment confirmation

Strategic Capture

Merchants should:

  • Integrate capture capabilities directly into POS and payment systems
  • Perform batch captures daily to keep revenue flowing
  • Avoid waiting until order shipment to capture payments
  • Confirm successful captures in processing reports
  • Contact their processor immediately regarding capture issues

The Bottom Line

Authorization alone doesn’t complete a card payment - merchants must close the loop with timely capture. Sealing transactions swiftly brings sales to fruition while optimizing cash flow.