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Authorization adjustment

Learn the differences between pre-authorization and final authorization, asynchronous and synchronous adjustment, and when authorization adjustment is available.

In a basic payment flow, the payable amount from your payment request is authorized and then captured. But sometimes you want to change the amount or extend the length of the authorization. Using the authorization type pre-authorization for your payment request, you can increase or decrease the authorized amount at a later stage, and then capture the payment manually. Changes to a pre-authorized payment are called "authorization adjustments".

When you consider implementing authorization adjustment, take into account the following:

  • Availability: support for authorization adjustment is limited to specific credit card schemes and Merchant Category Codes (MCC). It is ultimately up to the issuing bank whether they allow it.
  • Expiration: pre-authorizations and authorizations expire after a while, depending on the card scheme. Ideally, you capture the payment before the pre-authorization expires.

Use cases

There are several use cases for adjusting a pre-authorized amount:

  • Hospitality. For example, in a hotel:
    1. Just before the guest checks in, or when the guest checks in using an app or in person, the hotel pre-authorizes payment of the guest's room. At the same time, the hotel stores the shopper's payment information , to be able to apply late charges when necessary.
    2. During their stay, the guest incurs expenses at the hotel facilities. The hotel adds these expenses to the pre-authorized amount by adjusting the authorization.
    3. When the guest checks out, the hotel captures the final amount, or cancels the payment if the guest prefers to settle their bill with a different payment method.
    4. If necessary, the hotel charges the guest after they have left, using the shopper's stored payment details for a new payment.
  • Pre-ordering items:

    1. A shopper pre-orders a video game that will be released three months later.
    2. The video game seller pre-authorizes the payment.
    3. The video game seller extends the validity period of the pre-authorization, because they must wait three months to ship the video game.
  • Orders with a high Average Transaction Value (ATV) and long delivery times, where the basket composition and amount has changed by the time the payment is ready for capture.

Authorization type

For some card schemes, you can set payment requests to be handled as either a pre-authorization or a final authorization.

  • Pre-authorization: this authorization type verifies that the shopper's account is valid and has sufficient funds to cover a transaction, but does not debit the account. It is intended for use cases as described above, when you don't yet know the amount to be captured. It allows you to increase or decrease the initially authorized amount at a later point in time.

  • Final authorization: the final amount is agreed up front and the transaction will be captured in full. This is the default authorization type, and it doesn't allow you to adjust the authorized amount later.

By default, Adyen handles all card payment requests as final authorizations. You can manually specify the authorization type as additionalData.authorisationType:PreAuth or additionalData.authorisationType:FinalAuth in each payment request. See Pre-authorize a payment.

Asynchronous or synchronous adjustment

There are two ways to implement pre-authorization:

  • Asynchronous authorization adjustment: you refer to a payment using the PSP reference that you received in the response to your pre-authorization request. In each authorization adjustment request, and in the final capture request, you specify this first PSP reference.

    Asynchronous adjustment is easier to implement, but it is not immediately clear if the adjustment succeeded. You must set up webhooks to receive updates and to know if the final amount was authorized before you capture the payment.

  • Synchronous authorization adjustment: you pass an adjustAuthorisationData blob from one request to the next, to enable us to keep track of the latest amount. You receive the first blob in the response to your pre-authorization request. In your first authorization adjustment request, you specify the blob you received for the pre-authorization, and you receive a new blob in the response. In your next adjustment, you specify the blob that you received in the response for the previous adjustment, and so on.

    Synchronous adjustment requires more effort to implement, because you need to keep track of the latest blob. The advantage is that you receive the adjustment result synchronously. In this way you immediately know if the final amount was authorized before you capture the payment.

    If at any point you fail to pass the blob, the flow falls back to asynchronous adjustment, and it is no longer possible to return to synchronous adjustment for that payment.


Card schemes set specific rules around which businesses can adjust authorizations. Your eligibility is determined by your Merchant Category Code (MCC), but note that schemes use different MCCs for the same business type. The payment method Klarna also allows you to adjust authorizations.

To view your MCCs for each payment method:

  1. Log in to your live Customer Area.
  2. Switch to your merchant account.
  3. Select Settings > Payment methods.
  4. View the MCC column for the relevant payment methods.

Use the following table to see if authorization adjustment is available for your business:

Card scheme Available for Merchant Category Codes (MCC)
American Express All MCCs except 5542
Discover 3351-3441, 3501-3999, 4111, 4112, 4121, 4131, 4411, 4457, 5499, 5812, 5813, 7011, 7033, 7996, 7394, 7512, 7513, 7519, 7999
Mastercard All MCCs except 5542
Visa All MCCs except 5542
Authorization adjustment does not work for V Pay cards.
Klarna All payments that have not been fully captured, cancelled, or expired.
Klarna only supports asynchronous authorization adjustment.

Expiration of authorizations

You can only adjust an authorization that hasn't expired yet. There are two authorization validity periods to take into account:

  • For the global card schemes, Adyen expires authorization requests automatically after 28 days from the day the payment is authorized. Contact our Support Team if you want to change this default setting, and configure custom authorization validity periods for specific merchant accounts and card schemes.

  • Card schemes have their own rules on authorization validity, and can expire an authorization before or after the scheme's official authorization validity period. It is possible to successfully capture a payment after an authorization has expired, but this practice increases the risk of:

    • A failed capture.
    • Increased interchange fees.
    • Card scheme transaction fees.
    • Higher risk of cardholder chargeback.

The following tables show the authorization validity periods for the global card schemes that allow authorization adjustment.

American Express

Scheme Debit/credit Environment Authorization type MCC Days
Amex All All All All 7 days


Scheme Debit/credit Environment Authorization type MCC Days
Discover All All All All 10 days
Discover All All All Car Rental, Hotel/Lodging MCCs 30 days


Scheme Debit/credit Environment Authorization type MCC Days
Mastercard All All Final auth All 7 days
Mastercard All All Pre-auth All 30 days

Capturing Mastercard payments can be successful even when the authorization has expired after seven or 30 days. For domestic transactions in the US and Canada, there is a late capture fee.


Scheme Debit/credit Environment Authorization type MCC Days
Visa electron All All All All 5 days
Visa All POS All All 1 day
Visa All Ecommerce All All 7 days
Visa All All Pre-Auth Cruise, Lodging, Vehicle Rental 31 days
Visa All Subscriptions and UnscheduledCardOnFile All All 1 day
Visa All CnP All 4121 1 day

Visa can reject capturing payments after the seven-day validity of the authorization has expired, unless other rules apply. For domestic transactions in the US, the applicable interchange fee can increase when delaying a capture for more than two days.

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