This blog covers the inner workings of a payment gateway and how it related to hospitality industry. We will do a quick review of Shift4 and how FairCloud interacts with the gateway. We discuss different credit card operations and back certain scenarios with real life example. We hope after reading this article you will have a beter understanding of how credit card authorizations and settlements are handled in the hotel industry.


New Reservation: Filling the Shift4 form in the New Reservation screen.

Filling the Shift4 in the New Reservation might not be the best approach, but at times it is needed. When you fill the credit card information in the Shift4 section of New Reservation, then FairCloud will do a 1st authorization for $1.



Please see the image below. You can click on it to expand it so that the image is easy to read.



When the new reservation was created(we filled the Shift4 information), the last row in the table above was created 165094. This is the first authorization for $1, please see the Function Request code and the primary amount.






Best Practices

  • Before the guest is handed over the room key, we should have enough authorization to cover the length of the stay + security deposit.
  • At check out, or the night before the check out, the night auditor should settle the total amount.
  • For holiday seasons and peak times, we recommend to authorize the guest card atleast 2 weeks in advance. This way if there is a cancellation, you still have the opportunity to sell the room.


The Risk of doing Incremental Auth.

Scenario : Hotel has a valid auth of $200 on Mr Smith’s card ending in 1234, and the Mr Smith decides to buy a candy for $2.99.

When Mr Smith approaches the front desk for the candy purchase, the FDA has the following two options.

Option 1. Get an incremental auth of $202.99. This is a very risky transaction, FDA should keep in mind that Mr Smith might be have reached his credit limit and the hotel might loose the existing auth of $200 due to this new potential purchase of a candy.
Doing an incremental auth (instead of settling and then getting a new auth) is a high risk transaction and is not recommended.

Option 2. Settle the $200 and then do a new authorization for $2.99 and then later on settle $2.99.


The winning transaction/invoice


Shit4 search options

If a guest calls and provides you with his credit number, you can still search for the reservation where this credit card was used. Please navigate to the search page, and scroll down, in the Shift4 token, put the last 4 of the guest card and press search.


Incase you need to match Shift4 and FairCloud, you can use the Shift4 invoice id. You can search Shift4 or FairCloud with this invoice id.

Dangers of accepting debit card

Scenario: Mrs Smith calls and makes a reservation on Friday morning and holds the reservation with her debit card. She only has $200 in her bank account, the stay charges are $100 for one night. FDA creates a reservation and does a 1st authorization of $100. Mrs Smith is on her way to the hotel, she gets a call from a friend (Mrs Shah) who offers Mrs Smith to let her use her apartment. Mrs Smith calls the hotel and cancels the reservation, FDA releases the authorization.

A few hours later, due to a last minute change of plan, Mrs Shah wont be able to let Mrs Smith use her apartment. Now Mrs Smith, calls the hotel back and makes another reservation. The FDA is happy to help her and makes a new reservation and authorizes her card again for $100.

Mrs Smith is on her way to the hotel, and needs gas. She stops at the gas station, and gives the same debit card to get gas for $50. Her credit card is declined at the gas station and Mrs Smith panics and calls her bank.


The shelf life of a token
Any token that Shift4 issues has a shelf life, generally it is 3 months. Shift4 admins have the ability to increase or decrease the shelf life of the token. FairCloud generally doesn’t know when the Shift4 token has expired, we do have the ability to delete credit cards from the folio so the FDA’s can regenerate the token to use for auts/settlements.


Relevant Reports


Important Shift4 Flag

In DOTN please set Do Not Decline transactions if the CVV/ZIP fail. If this flag is not correctly set, then FairCloud will show that a transaction is failed when in reality it was approved.


Batch Process and Problem Transaction

During the batch process, we recommend to turn off the problem transactions before running the audit. We had an implementation, where the night auditor, had turned ON the PROBLEM TRANSACTION flag. With the problem transaction flag being turned on, he was not able to run the audit without either recharging or deleting/voiding the transaction. Instead of deleting the transaction the front desk kept forcing a recharge! This often created issues for the guest. We recharged the guest even though we had alternate payment methods on file in FairCloud.