Credit Card Authorization Forms

We use our credit cards for virtually all purchases, including groceries, insurance payments, car payments, and monthly payments for utilities and subscriptions. Credit card authorizations are used for many of these purchases, while larger purchases and subscription or monthly charges may require a credit card authorization form to be completed before the purchase can be completed.

Consumers must fill out the credit card authorization form, providing personal details normally not required for smaller single purchases. In this post, we will review what the form is used for in more detail, what information is needed, and how it is used. There are alternatives to providing these details and following the process, which will be reviewed. Credit card companies process billions of dollars every year, and these forms are part of a standard process used by all credit card companies.

What Is a Credit Card Authorization Form?

Every purchase involving a credit card must be authorized before the purchase can be completed. Essentially the consumer is agreeing to the purchase and allowing the merchant to charge the consumer’s credit card for the goods or services purchased. Authorization of the credit card confirms the card is valid and that there are sufficient funds or credit available to cover the purchase.

The standard process used to authorize charges to credit cards involves the following steps:

  • The sales clerk enters the transaction amount into the payment device
  • The consumer inserts their credit card into the payment device
  • The payment device connects with a payment processor
  • The payment device requests the consumer’s PIN
  • The transaction is approved or denied (Some merchants may require a signature)
  • Tapping your card on the payment device is popular with many merchants and consumers and is usually limited to a maximum amount determined by the merchant, approximately $250 plus or minus.
  • Online transactions may require more information, such as the name on the card, the expiry date, and the CVV number, which is an additional security code found on the back of the card

Credit card authorization forms are used to document a transaction and capture additional information about the consumer before the transaction can be authorized. This form is used to capture the consumer’s agreement to the charges to their credit card. The form is often used for large transactions, single-use or ongoing transactions such as utility charges or monthly streaming fees, or car payments. This information is also required whether you authorize the charges in person or online. The information typically needed on the form includes:

  • Cardholders name
  • Billing address (Must be the same as the information on the credit card account)
  • Email address
  • Contact information, e.g., mobile phone
  • Credit card number or debit card number
  • The expiration date of the credit card
  • CVV or security number
  • Account number, if applicable
  • Amount charged
  • Consumers signature (must match the signature on the card)

Credit Card Authorization Forms

One (1) Time ACH Payment Authorization Form - PDF

Airline Credit Card Authorization Form - Word, Google Docs, PDF

Employee Credit Card Authorization Form - Word, Google Docs, PDF

Hotel Credit Card Authorization Form - Word, Google Docs, PDF

One (1) Time Credit Card Payment Authorization Form - Word, Google Docs, PDF

One Time Credit Card Payment Authorization Form - Word, Google Docs, PDF

Recurring ACH Payment Authorization Form - Word, Google Docs, PDF

Travel Agent Credit Card Authorization Form - Word, Google Docs, PDF

    When to Use Credit Card Authorization Forms

    Credit card authorization forms are typically used for services charged monthly. These might include:

    • Cellphone payments,
    • Utilities
    • Streaming services,
    • News subscriptions

    Hotels also use credit card authorization processes in several ways. Whenever you make a reservation over the phone or online, consumers will be asked to provide their credit card information to hold the room. You are authorizing the hotel to charge your card, and a hold or authorization will be placed against your card.

    In addition, when the consumer checks in, the hotel clerk will run the credit card again and place another hold or combine the current hold with added funds. These added funds are to cover incidentals and potential damage to the room during your stay. Your signature on the check-in form constitutes a credit card authorization for the room, incidentals, and potential damages. The hold or authorization may stay on your credit card for several days.

    Some government agencies follow this same approach. For example, when you are renewing passports, license plates, etc., they will place holds on your credit card, which is another form of credit card authorization.

    Essential Elements of a Credit Card Authorization Form

    Credit card authorization forms come in a variety of formats depending on the merchant or government agency and also when making purchases online. They all formally authorize the merchant to charge your credit card for single or recurring charges. The amounts can be variable or fixed depending on the service or products provided.

    Regardless of the format, all credit card authorization forms will typically contain the following information:

    • Date of Purchase
    • Invoice number
    • Merchant name
    • Merchant address
    • Merchant phone number
    • Merchant contact number
    • Merchant tax ID
    • Cardholders name
    • Billing address (Must be the same as the information on the credit card account)
    • Email address
    • Contact information, e.g., mobile phone
    • Credit card Type
    • Credit card number or debit card number
    • The expiration date of the credit card
    • Account number, if applicable
    • Amount charged
    • Any terms and conditions
    • Consumers signature and date (must match the signature on the back of the card)
    • A statement advising the customer they are authorizing the charges

    Credit Card Authorization Form Template

    Using a template for creating your credit card authorization form can save you time and help prevent fraud and chargebacks. They can be used for recurring payments or single payments, depending on the products and services provided. Customize the form for your own business needs.

    Credit Card Payment Authorization Form

    Merchants Name :

    Merchants Address :

    Merchant Phone Number: Email :

    [Customer Name] authorize [Merchant Name] to charge my Credit card on a {One time/Recurring} basis as payment for the services:

    [Describe services provided]

    Customer Name :

    Billing Address: Zip Code :

    Credit Card Details

    Card Type (Select one): MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, Other: [Indicate Name of Card]

    Credit Card Number :

    Expiration Date :

    CVV Number :

    I understand that my personal credit card information will be securely saved on file for future transactions and will remain in effect until I formally request the cancellation of the recurring charges.

    Customer Signature: Date :

    How to Secure Credit Card Authorization Forms?

    The PCI DSS compliance standards (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) are designed to help merchants avoid liability if there is a data breach of a client’s financial and personal information. Storing and managing credit card authorization forms are part of the PCI DSS policies. Businesses are expected to adhere to these policies to remain compliant.

    Storing credit card authorization form guidelines include the following:

    • The CVV (Customer Card Verification Value) found on the back of the credit card cannot be kept by the merchant or stored in any way after receiving authorization from the customer.
    • Authorization forms completed by customers must be stored in a secure restricted area, a safe, or a filing cabinet in a secure room. All files should be secured with a lock.
    • Canceled authorization forms should be kept no longer than three months
    • All records should only be accessed by persons with authorization and whose job descriptions require access to these forms. Physical logs of who goes in and out of the secure storage area should be kept
    • Emails and PDFs should be encrypted and password-protected before sending to financial companies or the customer. Always use a secure file transfer application protocol. Online storage of PDFs and forms should be password protected and only accessed by employees with responsibility and authorization to access this information

    Alternatives of a Credit Card Authorization Form

    While there are advantages to paying recurring bills with a credit card, there are methods that can be used to avoid a credit card authorization form. Depending on the amount of the bill and whether the merchant is geographically near where you live, the following are possible means to consider:

    • Paying with cash every month
    • Paying utilities at the store or your bank
    • Use money orders to transfer money
    • Prepay your account and top up as needed
    • Set up preauthorized payments directly from your checking or savings account

    FAQs

    The following are a few of the frequently asked questions many readers have about credit card authorization forms:

    Am I legally required to use credit card authorization forms?

    Although credit card authorization forms are not legally required, it is considered the best business practice to use them to prevent and control chargebacks and disputes with your clients and protect your business cash flow.
     
    Each time a client indicates that the charge on their credit card is invalid, the credit card company must challenge the charge with the business and determine if this is a fraudulent charge. While the assessment is being completed, funds are held and not made available to the business. The merchant also loses time defending the fraudulent charge. With a credit card authorization form in hand, the merchant has documentation proving the charge is legitimate.
     
    Every business is different and may or may not benefit from using a credit card authorization form. Check with your lawyer or accountant to assess whether your business should ask clients to fill in credit card authorization forms.

    Does a credit card authorization form help prevent chargeback abuse?

    Chargebacks occur when a business charges a credit card, and the credit card holder disputes the charge and requests the bank to refund the amount charged because it was not authorized.
     
    With a credit card authorization form properly filled out and signed by the customer, the merchant can provide this evidence to refute the chargeback claim. While the merchant has a higher probability of winning the case, they still lose a great deal of time. If a customer is aware they have filled out and signed a credit card authorization form, they may be less inclined to pursue chargebacks.
     
    Merchants with too many chargebacks risk their financial reputation and risk being removed from a financial institution’s financial services, including the ability to borrow funds in the future.
     
    Merchants should retain credit card authorizations for up to three months to demonstrate they have followed proper procedures and avoid chargebacks to their clients.

    Do holds on credit cards last very long?

    A hold on your credit card typically will only last a few days; however, it can remain on your account for up to 31 days. While the hold is in place, your available credit on your credit card is reduced by this amount until it is released. A frequent traveler staying in a new hotel every night could find they have no credit available on their credit card because each hotel, rental car, etc., has placed holds on their card, using up all their available credit.

    Key Points

    One of the reasons many merchants use credit card authorization forms is to ensure that the credit card being presented to them is to reduce fraud and chargebacks. Customers who request refunds from their credit card company claiming they never authorized a charge are usually refused when there is a credit card authorization form on file. Nevertheless, it takes time on behalf of merchants to deal with chargebacks, and many try to avoid them.

    Credit card authorization forms are used for recurring payments and also for one-time payments where charges will be incurred in the future. Utilities, media, online services, car payments, etc., are some of the typical recurring payments. Hotels routinely use credit card authorization forms when clients check in.

    Merchants must follow industry regulations and requirements for secure storage and retention of credit card authorization forms. Locked rooms, locked filing cabinets, and only approved employees accessing the information are among the requirements.

    The CVV number on the back of the card is not supposed to be saved. It is required for each transaction.