Buffer Account – Introduction

What is the buffer account?

Contis has developed a new platform solution called the buffer account.

The buffer account functionality enables the cardholder to make a card transaction from their primary account – even when there are no funds available – by transferring funds in real-time from the buffer account (held and funded by you, the client) for a frictionless experience.

How the buffer account works

Normally, when a cardholder uses their card, if there is an insufficient balance for the transaction then it is declined.

With the buffer account, the Contis platform forwards the authorisation request to the client for approval and at the same time validates that the buffer account on the Contis platform has sufficient funds.

The transaction will be declined if the buffer account holds insufficient funds or the authorisation request is declined following an API call to the client. 

If the total client authorisation time exceeds 2.5 seconds before a response is received, then Contis will respond with a decline for the card authorisation request from the merchant.

If client’s response is timed-out, then Contis will respond based on the configured Stand-In-Processing (STIP) settings, either approving or declining the transaction.

See Transaction flows for a complete range of authorisation scenarios.

Authorisation process

The principle for the buffer account is that when the cardholder account balance has insufficient funds to cover a transaction value requested by the customer, supplementary funds will be debited from buffer account to cover the remaining value of the transaction. When funds are requested from the buffer account, the authorisation request always goes to the client for approval and the funds are then debited from the buffer account before being credited to the cardholder account to authorise the transaction. A transaction can be partially or wholly funded by the buffer account.

Authorisation flow

What is Stand-In-Processing (STIP)

To allow authorisations to continue should the client platform be unavailable, Contis can offer a Stand-in-Processing (STIP) service. This could be due to an unscheduled or scheduled downtime or within a small agreed amount, usually £25 or 30€. This is an optional add-on for this programme. 

The STIP settings are configured in the Contis platform at client level after review and approval from both parties. Based on the settings, Contis will approve or decline authorisation requests on behalf of our client’s cardholder transactions when the client’s system is unavailable or unable to respond within a specified time limit.

The limits within the agreement can be specified within the Contis platform at the following levels:

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Yearly

FAQs

Can I add the product to my existing programme?

No. You would need to open a new programme.

When is the product available with Contis?

The Contis buffer account is available from December 2019.

How long does it take to set up the buffer account?

Setup takes about 2 weeks and is configured in our environment and can be done along with the programme setup following your acceptance by Visa for the co-brand. If you already have co-brand approval, we will need to make a new co-brand application for this service.

Which currencies can I use with buffer account?

You can use GBP and EUR.