Understanding Payment Statuses

Listed below are all of the current payment statuses and their meaning. It's important to note these are merely labels, they do not take any action on the credit card or merchant account. You cannot resubmit or refund a credit card transaction by changing these statuses, that can only be done in your merchant account/​gateway interface.

Available payment statuses:

  • Canceled - The user has canceled this transaction. No further action is required by site administrators. Users must complete the form/order again and resubmit it for payment.
  • Completed - indicates online processing of credit card payment was successfully completed with a positive value (i.e., the total cost was greater than $0.00, and the user's credit card was charged some amount).
  • Completed (0 sum) - indicates that someone has submitted a payment form where payment was not required and $0 is an acceptable final price (the distinction between this and the Completed status will help when reconciling form submissions with your payment gateway reports)
  • Abandoned - The "Abandoned" status can be the result of several scenarios. If a user attempts to pay with an invalid card (such as a card that has expired), the system will report "Pending" for four hours to give the user a chance to update their card information. If they do not, or if the user completes the form but no attempt is made to submit the payment portion of form, the transaction will resolve as "Abandoned." To rectify this the user must go back and either re-submit the form, or fill out a new one and submit it again, this time also completing the payment portion of the checkout process.
  • Pending - this status is in place only while waiting confirmation from payment gateway. The user's submission and payment have both been received; payment has been sent out for processing, but the payment gateway has not yet confirmed that the payment has gone through. Although payment gateways usually process orders very quickly, this can occasionally take up to about 4 hours during high-volume periods. No manual action is necessary at this time; once the payment gateway processes the payment, the status will automatically update (usually to “Completed,” but occasionally to “Declined.”) If the user has not submitted their payment within 4 hours of submission, this will be marked Abandoned or Declined.
  • Declined - payment has been declined by the payment gateway due to expired card, insufficient balance, security lock, or other problem with the credit card. No further action is required by site admins; users can be directed to complete the order/form again and re-submit with a different credit card or an alternate payment type.
  • Awaiting Payment - indicates check, pledge, or other non-credit card options were selected, if these options were included. Once the payment has been received, a site admin can then manually edit this entry to reflect the new “Completed” status.
  • Completed (Error) - Sometimes, a transaction will have an error at the processor level (which sits between the payment gateway and the bank). Unfortunately, the nature of this error prevents us from knowing whether or not the transaction actually processed successfully or not. To avoid users submitting duplicate payments and being charged multiple times, we mark these transactions as completed, with a status of "Completed (Error)". This allows the site admin to check their payment gateway logs to verify whether the transaction was successful. If not, they can then contact the user to have them resubmit payment. 

Payment Processing Workflow

Forms Manager processes payment forms in the following way:

  1. After someone submits the form the form status is set to Pending.
  2. For credit cards, if the payment is successful as indicated by the gateway the status is set to Completed.
  3. If the payment gateway declines the transaction, the Pending status will change to Declined after 4 hours.  This gives the user 4 hours to re-try the transaction, contact the credit card company, or use a different card to complete the transaction.  If 4 consecutive declines are logged, the payment gateway locks for security reasons and the Pending status will be changed to Declined. If a transaction generates an error but we are unable to tell whether or not the transaction was actually processed, the status will be changed to Completed (Error) for the admin to follow up on.
  4. If form is submitted by the user but the payment block is not submitted within 4 hours, the Pending status will change to Abandoned
  5. If payment fields are not required, or are not displayed to a respondent due to conditional fields, a form submission will skip the credit card payment part and register a status of Completed (0 sum)
  6. If an alternate method of payment is permitted (e.g. check, pledge, etc.) a form submission will register a status of Awaiting Payment

Here's a flowchart explaining the Payment workflow visually (click to see a larger view):

Other processing notes:

  • You can manually change the payment status by clicking on it and editing from the Payment Status dropdown. For example, a commitment to pay by check with a status of Awaiting Payment can be changed to Completed when the check arrives.
  • You cannot change Pending status until 4 hours have passed, in which case the status will automatically change to Completed, Declined, or Abandoned
  • A credit card transaction with Abandoned or Declined can be changed to Completed (this is useful in cases where the respondent calls and the credit card is then successfully processed manually, for example)
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