A settlement is the process of transferring money from electronic payment transactions into your bank account.
Settlement is initiated in two ways:
- Automatic: For the majority of cinemas, the credit card processor automatically initiates settlement overnight based on the information received from Vista during purchase authorisation. No action is required by the cinema manager or merchant to receive money.
- Manual: For a minority of cinemas, settlement is not automatically completed by the credit card processor and must be initiated manually. Typically, this set-up is used by cinemas running restaurant operations in the USA. The cinema must send an explicit instruction to the credit card processor at the end of the day to perform settlement. The instruction is sent when someone runs Cinema Manager's Close-of-Day.
The particular settlement environment you have is determined by the credit card processor used and whether or not you operate a tips environment.
Warning! If settlement is not completed correctly within 7-10 days, you run the risk of irrecoverable data and financial loss. Payment processors do not retain transaction data beyond this period, which means the settlement can never be performed for these transactions at a later date and the money is lost. A problem in the settlement process usually means that large sums of money are involved.
In a restaurant setting, a tip is added to the payment transaction at some time after initial authorisation. The credit card processor must wait for the tip details to be sent from the cinema before settlement can be started. The cinema manager initiates settlement from within Vista software at the end of the day via a single Cinema Manager function. As this process requires human intervention, it can be prone to failure — the manager may forget.
At a cinema using EMV PIN pads, the manager may be required to visit each POS and initiate a settlement of the PIN pad, or the Vista software may be configured to instruct the PIN pads to initiate settlement when a POS operator logs off. This requires custom installation and configuration. If the system is not configured correctly, settlement will not take place.
Situations that prevent settlement can arise. Potential causes for failure to receive funds include the following:
- The manager or a scheduled process did not perform daily settlement at the cinema.
- Transactions were processed offline, are ‘stuck’ in a PIN pad and have not been transmitted to the credit card processor.
- Technical problems have occurred in the card payment network.