Donors are being charged twice when experiencing timeout errors in Online Express

When making donations or event registrations online, donors are reporting that their credit card is being double charged. After investigation, these transactions have timeout errors associated with them.
We are currently evaluating this issue and will update this article when we have more information. 

This behavior is related to the difference in timeout windows with BBMS’ server and Online Express’ server.  OLX will submit the transaction request to Blackbaud Payment Services’ server and will keep its connection to Blackbaud Payment Services’ server either until the transaction is cleared with Blackbaud Payment Services’ or after 90 seconds after  waiting for the transaction to clear with Blackbaud Payment Services.  If Blackbaud Payment Services does not clear the transaction within 90 seconds, Online Express’ server will disconnect from Blackbaud Payment Services’ server and generate a timeout error on the transaction in the Online Express server; even though Blackbaud Payment Services is still attempting to process the transaction.  Once Online Express disconnects from Blackbaud Payment Services’ server, the donor receives a timeout message in their web browser and thinks the transaction did not process, which sometimes results in the donor submitting duplicate transactions.  Because Blackbaud Payment Services’ timeout window is longer, Blackbaud Payment Services will continue to attempt to process the transaction until the transaction successfully clears or Blackbaud Payment Services times out.  Most times, Blackbaud Payment Services eventually times out, so the behavior you experienced with this transaction is very rare.  If Blackbaud Payment Services does eventually process the transaction successfully after the 90-second timeout window has been reached between Online Express’ server and Blackbaud Payment Services’ server, Online Express’ server has no way of knowing because the connection was already disconnected.  This is why there might be occasions where a transaction may appear in the Blackbaud Payment Services web portal , but  never successfully downloads to the Online Express plugin. 

Again, this behavior is very rare and is typically a one-off incident that we do not to expect to regularly occur with transactions made to your forms, but we do know that we can resolve this behavior by addressing the difference in the timeout windows with Online Express’ server and Blackbaud Payment Services’ server.  Our developers and Blackbaud Payment Services are currently working together to align their timeout windows so that there is no longer a discrepancy between the two servers.  While this is being addressed, we are regularly checking our servers for transactions that failed, but potentially processed with Blackbaud Payment Services and contacting customers as we see them, but if you find any transactions in your Blackbaud Payment Services web portal that you believe did not download to Online Express and you have not heard from us, please don’t hesitate to reach out and we can look into the transaction for you.

Environment

 Blackbaud Online Express

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