PCCharge includes a utility allowing you to have your terminal-based credit card merchant account settle automatically--at a specified time--just like a host-based account's batch.
The PCCharge Auto-Settle utility creates a log of settlements in plain-test format and stores the log in the PCCharge installation directory. The file (named Settle.log) will contain the settlement response from the processor and the time.date of the settlement.
The PCCharge Auto-Settle utility can be used on the computer on which PCCharge is located, or a computer with read/write access (full permissions) to the PCCharge installation directory.
Arts Management's thoughts on having PCCharge Auto-Settle
The Auto-Settle utility is primarily intended for use with one account. When used with multiple accounts, PCCharge will attempt to settle the batches in the order their respective accounts appear in the software. If a settlement attempt fails, the Auto-Settle utility will not continue on to the next account. We highly recommend that you check your Settled Batch Report after using the utility with multiple accounts.
Installing and Using the Auto-Settle Utility
- We strongly recommend you close the batch using Theatre Manager's End of Day process, rather then having your Merchant Provider or PCCharge auto-close the batch. This is particularly important if you are running web sales.
- There are complications with having the merchant close your batch. For Example:
- You run your end of day at the end of your shift. At that time Theatre Manager includes all of the sales to be deposited from that moment back to the last time you ran the deposit process. This is the information you would be providing your accounting department.
- After you run your deposit the web listener continues to process sales. It processed transactions till midnight and then deposits the credit cards.
- Those sales are NOT in the deposit information you are providing accounting. They won't be in the deposit until you run the deposit the following evening at which time the next days sales will also be included.
- If there is ever a discrepancy between your monthly bank statement and Theatre Manager's End-of-Day reports, it can much harder to trackdown and resolve in a quick and timely fashion.
- Another disadvantage is errors in the batch. If the batch has too much money or not enough money to match Theatre Manager you have no opportunity to correct the issue before you deposit. You are sending it to the bank and won't be able to locate differences until the account department finds them. By closing the batch at the box office there is more opportunity to fix things before they are sent on to accounting for posting.
A great example would be, there is a duplicate charge in PCCharge, but only shows a single time in Theatre Manager, you will be double-charging the patron. Most likely only when the patron calls to complain about the extra charge will you know that something went wrong.
- Finally, if the batch has an error in PC Charge, such as an invalid batch settlement error, you wouldn't know. Unless you are checking the PC Charge totals and PC Charge's auto-settle reports on a daily bases, something like this can be missed. The longer it went unnoticed the more likely you are to loose transactions and require to re-authorize any dropped transactions that have not been settled within your merchant provider's required time period.
- Comparing the PC PCharge batch to Theatre Manager is a part of the end of day process. It is very easy and very obvious if there are any discrepancies.
- If Arts Management is requested to provide forensic investigation in balancing any settlements between your bank and Theatre Manager, when the merchant account is set to auto-settle (regardless if the settlement was done via PC Charge, or via the merchant provider directly), any time incurred or resources used during the investigation will be deemed a billable service and invoiced to the Theatre Manager client.
Since the PCCharge Auto-Settle utility is a powerful tool, it's not included in the standard PCCharge installation. To install the utility, double click on the file Setup.exe found in the AUTOSETTLE directory from within the PCCharge 5.7.1 Auto-Settle Utility download.
Follow the on-screen installation instructions to install the Auto-Settle utility.
PCCharge MUST be running while you're using the Auto-Settle utility.
Additionally, it is necessary to select the default window (credit card screen) in PCCharge.
To use the Auto-Settle utility, browse the directory where it was installed. Double-click the file AutoBatch.exe. On your first execution of the program, you'll be prompted to specify the location of the PCCharge directory.
It may be convenient to create a shortcut to this file on your desktop. Consult your Windows help file for instructions on creating a shortcut (instructions vary among the versions of Windows).
- Browse to the directory of your PCCharge executable.
- Select the file named tid.pcc.
- Click the Open button.
- The Auto-Settle main window will appear.
Displays the directory path of the PCCharge executable.
Default = 12:00am midnight. Enter the desired time (in 24 hour standards i.e. 15:00:00 for 3:00:00 pm) for the batch to be settled.
Displays the current time (in 24 hour standards i.e. 15:00:00 for 3:00:00 pm).
Select this option to enable automatic settlement of your batch.
As a safety precaution, the Auto-Settle utility is not enabled when it starts.
To make it so that settlement is enabled every time this utility starts, you'll need to edit the program shortcut's properties. If you want settlement to be enabled every time this utility starts:
- Right-click on the program's shortcut
- Select Properties from the context menu
- Add /e to the end of the address shown the Target: i.e. "C:\Program Files\AutoBatch\AutoBatch.exe" /e
- Click OK. The shortcut will now cause the utility to start with settlement enabled.
Default=User1. Specify the user that PCCharge will use to settle your batch. Most users should leave this field at the default value.
Default=60. Specify the number of seconds that the PCCharge Auto-Settle utility will wait for a batch to settle before displaying an error message. You will very likely need to adjust this value to accommodate the following:
- the size of your batch
- the average settlement speed of your processor
- whether you're using a TCP/IP or dial-up connection
The exact time needed will have to be determined through trial and error. It's suggested that you time a normal "Manually settled batch before entering a value into this field.
Default=30. Specify the number of seconds that the PCCharge Auto-Settle utility will wait for any response from PCCharge. This response comes before actual settlement is attempted, and can be thought of as the initial "handshake" response. Most users should leave this field at the default value.