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Processing Charges electronically

To process Charges electronically, follow these easy steps:

Before processing your first Charge, make sure your Electronic Data Capture (EDC) terminal or electronic cash register is properly programmed. Your terminal must be able to generate forms containing the following information:
  • Authorisation Approval Code number
  • Card account number and expiry date
  • Date of Charge
  • Amount of Charge, which must be the total purchase price of goods or services purchased, including applicable taxes, tips, postage and packing charges. Any tip amount should be filled in by the Cardmember before you complete the total
  • An acceptable description of the goods or services purchased
  • Your business name, address and American Express Merchant number


Processing Credits
   
When a Cardmember returns merchandise, or is due a Credit from your business, never refund cash. Always issue a Credit. A Credit can only be issued to the same American Express Card account number used for the original purchase.

To process Credits, follow these simple steps:

Imprint an American Express Credit Form with the Cardmember's Card. If the Card is not available, complete the Cardmember's name and account number by hand. Ensure that the account number on the Credit Form matches the account number on the original Record of Charge being credited.

Enter the total amount of the transaction. Please also enter the total amount on the Credit Summary Form. American Express will debit your Merchant account for the net amount but will refund the Cardmember in full.

Enter the reason for the Credit (e.g. wrong size).

If possible, have the Cardmember sign the Credit Form.

Return the Card and Cardmember's copy of the Credit Form to the Cardmember. Retain the Service Establishment copy for reference and submit the "Amex" copies to American Express.

 


Processing mail order, telephone and Internet Charges

All merchants who process charges by mail order, telephone and Internet will need to have a separate American Express merchant number. Internet Merchants are required to sign Internet Addendum. Processing charges by mail, telephone and Internet usually presents a greater risk of fraud and Cardmember disputes. To protect yourself from Chargebacks, please follow the Card Acceptance procedures in your agreement with American Express.

Be sure to obtain an Authorisation Approval Code for every mail order, telephone order or Internet transaction regardless of amount. When you call for an Authorisation you may be referred for an address verification to confirm that the delivery address is the same as the Cardmember's billing address. If you want to reduce the risk of fraud and Chargebacks by verifying the billing address and your call is not referred or you obtain Authorisation electronically, call Authorisations on 0 2273 5522 and override the automated telephone response to talk to an operator

Remember:

  • Charges cannot be submitted for payment until the order has been dispatched
  • If you dispatch more than 30 days after the original Authorisation, then you must call to obtain a new Authorisation Approval Code before posting the merchandise and submitting the Charge for payment
  • Obtain a signature upon delivery
  • If the Cardmember picks up the merchandise from you, follow the standard Card acceptance procedures


Processing estimated Charges

Businesses receiving Authorisation Approval Codes for estimated charge amounts (e.g. lodging, car hire and restaurants) must utilise the following procedures:

Lodging
Lodging establishments must obtain an estimated Authorisation based on the Cardmember's intended length of stay at check-in, the room rate, applicable taxes, and/or service charge rates, and the merchant's procedure for estimating additional ancillary charges.

Car Hire
When the vehicle is checked out, the Car Hire Office must obtain Authorisation for the full estimated amount of the charge. The estimated charge must be determined by multiplying the applicable rental rate by the hire period.

If upon Cardmember check-out from Lodging establishments or when the vehicle is returned, if the final Charge is greater than the estimated Charge by more than 15% then the Merchant must obtain an additional Authorisation Approval Code for any amount of the charge which is greater than the original estimated Authorisation amount.

If such Authorisation is not requested or is requested and declined and the Cardmember fails to pay the charge for any reason, then American Express has the right to charge back.

 


How to process delayed Charges

Businesses such as hotels often compute the guest's final charges (e.g. telephone calls, meals) after the guest has left. American Express will bill the Cardmember for such charges when submitted by the business, but generally American Express has the right to charge back in the event of a Cardmember dispute.

Follow these steps to submit delayed charges:

Electronic Submittal

Process a separate Charge for the delayed amount following normal processing procedures. Be sure an accurate description of the Charge is indicated on the receipt.

Paper Submittal

  • Do not alter the original amount. Although the Cardmember has the Cardmember copy, make your additions in the designated spaces on the remaining portions of the Record of Charge.
  • Enter the types of delayed Charges (e.g. telephone, breakfast). The more specific the description, the less likely there will be a disputed Charge.
  • Enter the total amount of all delayed Charges.
  • Compute and enter the revised total. Do not cross out the original total. If possible, send an itemisation of delayed Charges directly to the Cardmember in order to reduce the chance of a dispute.


How to process Card Not Present Transactions for Meetings and Events
 

To process such charges whereby a card may not be physically available to be presented, follow these easy steps:

  1. Obtain the following information from the authorized user for the Card (the Cardmember). This information should be captured in the written Meeting Sales Agreement between your Hotel and the Client.*
    • Their name for the Card to prove that they are the authorized user and legitimate party for the card
    • Their Card Account number
    • The Card's expiry date
    • The Cardmember's billing address - this address is to be confirmed by Authorizations
    • The Cardmember's billing telephone number. Do not accept mobile telephone numbers
  2. Obtain an Approval Code electronically or via phone. For phone authorization, please call Authorizations on 0 2273 5522 or 0 2618 0022. Please have your Merchant number and customer details ready when you call.
  3. Complete Record of Charge (ROC) and write "Signature on File" on the signature line of the ROC.

*Ensure Card number details are captured in the Sales Agreement (for Meeting contracts) under Payment Mode or Authorization Forms (for third party transactions) and duly signed by the Authorized Cardmember. American Express will not be responsible for any unauthorized transactions or any transactions not carried out in accordance with the American Express Terms and Conditions.

More information on Best Practices for Accepting American Express Cards for Meetings



Best practices for accepting the American Express Card for Meetings
 

Step One: The Meetings & Events Contract

  • The first step for a meeting/event is the development of a contract, signed by both the Merchant (usually a hotel or venue) and the meeting planner (the Cardmember)
  • This contract should stipulate that the American Express Card will be used as the form of payment and no charges can be put on the card without prior written authorization from the Cardmember
  • The contract should list upfront all the agreed costs related to the meeting. Any amount that is not specifically agreed in the contract cannot be charged to the Card without prior agreement
  • Ask for the Card number as a guarantee for no shows/cancellations and call the American Express Authorizations department to ensure that the proposed amount can be charged to the card

Step Two: The Event

  • Establish if the Cardmember is going to be present at the actual meeting. If he is not, advise the Cardmember that he will need to receive the invoice via email or fax after the meeting and ask him to fill out the "Charge Authorization Form" and submit to the Merchant in advance. This form provides confirmation that the Cardmember is authorizing these charges to be paid on Card
  • If the Cardmember wants to authorize another person to charge on their behalf, he will also need to fill out the "Charge Authorization Form", sign and submit to the Merchant. (As an added check it is suggested that you e-mail the person who looks after the account at the corporation and have the authenticity of the form confirmed)

Step Three: Authorization of Charges to be put on the Card

  • Prior to any charges to the Card, the hotel will need to send the final invoice to the meeting planner
  • The meeting planner to review the invoice and ensure that they are in agreement with the charges

Additional Tips and Hints

  • You should not ask the Cardmember to fax a photocopy of the front and back of the Card (or any other card). This introduces a higher risk of fraud and therefore is not advisable
  • Ensure that the Cardmember has completely reconciled the balance of charges and has given final approval to charge the event to their Card
  • Contact your local American Express representative for a Charge Authorization Form if you do not have an in-house Form available


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