A pre-authorisation hold is a temporary hold on funds against your card to ensure there is a sufficient amount of funds and a valid method of payment available for your journey.
The Passenger app utilises a number of Anti-Fraud measures, including, but not limited to Biometrics (in the case of Apple and Google Pay) and 3dSecure. These processes use Strong Customer Authentication - an initiative being rolled out by the Financial Conduct Authority - all banks need to sign up to use Strong Customer Authentication by September 2021, although most (including Stripe, who we use to process card transactions through the app) have already completed the work required.
Where most online payments, protected by Strong Customer Authentication are paid at the point of sale, taxi journeys are not paid for in advance. Because of this, we need to initiate a pre-authorisation so that the requirements of SCA can be fulfilled. The pre-authorisation action forces the bank to consider the use of 3dSecure to verify the transaction. Without this step, 3dSecure would not be used, which could lead to an increase in card fraud.
Second to this, the pre-authorisation amount taken ensures that customers have the funds available in advance of the journey. A 'hold' is placed on a certain amount on your card when you use the Passenger App. The actual amount of the pre-authorisation is the Estimated Fare + 20%. The pre-authorisation amount is more than the estimated journey amount because the fare quoted is only an estimate. The fare in-vehicle may exceed the estimated amount, or the passenger may choose to go via a different point, or change their destination altogether. By taking an additional amount ensures that in most cases, the actual fare will fall within the pre-authorised amount. Where this happens, any amount over the actual fare will be released at the end of the journey.
In the case where a fare is in excess of the pre-authorised amount, the full fare needs to be requested from the bank -in this case, the passenger must ensure they have sufficient funds to cover both the pre-authorisation amount AND the fare.
When a pre-authorisation is taken, any unused element will be released either (1) at the end of the journey, or (2) if a booking is cancelled by the office or passenger (or is marked as a No Show by the driver).
Please note that banks can take up to 5 working days to release a 'pre-authorisation' hold on funds. The length of time is at the discretion of the bank and is not something that we can influence. If the amount has not been released after 7 days, please contact your bank.