The Account Authorization System, or Issuer Authorization System is used when making a purchase to determine that the funds are there to be spent without complications. These days, it is transferred to the STAR network instantaneously via the internet. This is the process used to decide whether a purchase will be accepted or declined. This is a safeguard for merchants to ensure payment, and for credit card companies to keep clients from racking up debts that are too high.
The account authorization system may decline a charge for one of several reasons. A credit card may be above its limit, or a bank account may be overdrawn. A credit card may also be stolen or closed for other reasons. The purchase may be above the bank-authorized daily purchase limit for a card. This is common to see in situations like new credit cards for teenagers, where a large purchase on a joint card must be pre-authorized by parents. Some cards will decline a purchase until it is verified by the client if it differs from their typical purchase history or regular geographic area.
There are some situations where a card may be declined by the account authorization security programs. These holds or declined charges can usually be resolved quickly with a call to the credit card company to ensure that the suspicious purchases were in fact authorized by you. If you have a high-security program on your card, it is a good idea to let them know that you will be traveling abroad, if you choose to use your card there. This can help to avoid an embarrassing decline charge and an international phone call at odd hours to try and clean up the situation.
In some cases, lack of access to an internet connection may still occur, and the account authorization system will be delayed. Computer systems that are down, power outages and remote locations all may still require using a paper authorization system that causes a delay in approval of purchases. In this case, if the approved purchase should have actually been declined, the merchant will still be paid, and the issuer will assume the additional debt or penalty collection responsibilities. The ability for cellular, wireless, and hard-wired internet services to all provide near instantaneous verification for credit card owners has reduced the likelihood of this happening. The new addition of mobile credit card swipe devices has even allowed merchants like farmers market vendors to take advantage of this service.