Frequently Asked Questions about Payment Processing

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Is ThinkReservations a payment processor or payment gateway?

No. ThinkReservations connects your business to a processor or gateway. Think of ThinkReservations as a "messenger." You and your guests use ThinkReservations to enter credit card details. ThinkReservations, in turn, sends that data to your payment gateway or processor. Your gateway or processor will reply if there are any errors like a decline and the payment status. ThinkReservations is used to ask your gateway or processor to retain, charge, and refund cards through this connection, but to be clear, it's your payment gateway or processor that performs these tasks, not ThinkReservations.

How does Payment Processing work with ThinkReservations?

ThinkReservations connects the cardholder (the guest or customer) with your payment gateway or payment processor. Your payment gateway and processor are responsible for validating, retaining, charging, and refunding payments. They are also responsible for batching out or settling those payments. Your payment processor is also responsible for depositing funds from those transactions into your bank. This is important to understand when troubleshooting.

If you use Braintree, Heartland, MPI, or Stripe as your payment processor:

If you use Authorize.net as your payment gateway, the process looks like this:

Do I really need to have a payment processor or gateway connected directly with ThinkReservations?

Yes. Your ThinkReservations account must connect to one of our partners to take online reservations. There are no exceptions. Our partners are:

  • Mercantile Processing, Inc. (MPI)
  • Heartland Processing
  • Braintree Payments
  • Stripe Payments
  • Authorize.net as a gateway to connect to another processor

How does Authorize.net work?

If you want to use your existing processor instead of MPI, Heartland, Stripe or Braintree, you might be able to use Authorize.net. If you use a different processor, then it must be connected via Authorize.net. Authorize.net is the only gateway we connect with that can act as a middleman between another processor and ThinkReservations. The other four processors we work with are direct integrations. They don't require an Authorize.net account because we integrate with them directly. Because of the role that ThinkReservations plays in processing payments, we are unable to see beyond Authorize.net - See the above graphic. 

Can I use my terminal with my existing processor?

Yes, but transactions ran with that terminal will need to be manually updated in the ThinkReservations bill. You can manually post a journal entry payment into ThinkReservations so that ThinkReservations knows you charged the customer. When you charge the customer on a system that isn't connected to ThinkReservations, you will manually add the payment so that the bill is updated, your printed or emailed receipts will be up-to-date, and your reports will be accurate.

Can I see credit card numbers?

No. ThinkReservations does not store full credit card data, but rather gives the credit card data to your processor or gateway. It is not possible to view and copy the guest's full credit card details after they are retained in ThinkReservations because ThinkReservations will not allow you to see full credit card data. Credit cards retained with ThinkReservations can only be used with ThinkReservations. 

Is credit card data verified?

Yes. Your connected payment processor (see above) will validate and retain your guest's credit cards. If your payment processor has a problem with the card, it will not be possible to retain or charge the card. If your business takes a deposit, guests cannot make an online reservation unless their card can be run for the deposit. ThinkReservations doesn't verify or store credit card data; this task is done exclusively by your payment processor.

Can I opt to use a different processor that is not one of the choices ThinkReservations offers?

No. Please research and choose one of the five partners we connect with. You can likely keep your existing processor by using Authorize.net as your payment gateway. ThinkReservations connects seamlessly with Authorize.net, and Authorize.net connections with most other processors if you wish to keep your existing processor.

Can I take online reservations without a connected payment processor?

No. You will not be able to take online reservations until your payment gateway or processor is connected to ThinkReservations properly. For an online reservation to process, a connected payment gateway or processor must verify and retain a valid credit card before a reservation can be confirmed. While waiting for the processor to be connected, your ThinkReservations account can show your availability to your guests but ask them to call to book. Please ask a member of the ThinkReservations support team for assistance with this configuration.

What if I want to switch payment processors?

ThinkReservations offers a menu of different payment processors. ThinkReservations also works with Authorize.net as a gateway to get your business access to even more processors. Because of this, you might find yourself in a position where you would like to switch processors to get better service or pricing. It's important to keep in mind that ThinkReservations doesn't store the credit card data. This is stored with your processor or gateway. If you disconnect it, you disconnect the ability for ThinkReservations to access those cards to issue refunds or charge their card. You may be able to refund or charge guests directly from the online portal of your old processor. For this reason, some clients might retain access to their old payment processor for some time. Please let us know if you have any questions about payment processors.


S
Sean is the author of this solution article.

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