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Welcome to the PayPal Community! This is a great question. I can certainly understand how temporary authorizations can be a bit confusing. When you authorize a payment to a merchant, you agree to make a purchase for a specified amount. Your account will show a “Pending” authorization until the merchant captures the payment. During this time, the funds may not be available in your bank or credit card depending on how they process the authorization. Once a merchant processes the order, they capture the payment and charge your account. The payment will show as ‘"Complete” and the merchant will ship the item.
Bear in mind, orders and authorizations typically expire in 30 days. Authorizations are sometimes for a future payment, for example a hotel stay or reservation. If that's the case, the venue will normally capture you're payment when you arrive and that authorization will be cancelled.
I hope that clears things up,
- Jon K
Thank you for your reply!
The authorization is kind of like a placeholder for the payment. The funds are actually captured at the time that the order is processed by the merchant. When the merchant initiates the beginning of their process for fulfilling the order, they capture the payment.
With many sellers, the funds are processed right away. With larger merchants, the authorization/capture method is sometimes employed, possibly in order to allow orders to be queued or for other steps to happen in between your purchase and their fulfillment or the order.
This does not mean that they do not get the funds until you get the item. You will still have all the benefits of Buyer Protection once the order is processed and the funds are captured, however. If you have any problems before that time, you can contact the merchant to cancel the order.
I hope this helps!