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August 10, 2015

Understanding orphaned transactions

“What are orphaned transactions?”

SagePay is a very popular payment gateway in the UK and the official SagePay module (created by Ebizmarts) has been available for Magento since the early days, this has evolved to be a feature rich module and provides some very useful features to retailers.

All SagePay transactions completed by a customer are linked to a ‘parent’ Magento order, but what happens if the transaction was not completed?

As you will know, incomplete transactions can be caused by a number of things. These orders are considered to be Orphaned Transactions, transactions that have not been matched with a corresponding order.

There are two main types of orphan transactions:

1. Failed payment in SagePay and no order present in Magento. This issue is often caused by customers entering invalid card details, 3DS checks not completed, fraudulent activity or perhaps the customer has simply abandoned their order. These orders are recorded in the Orphan Transaction List, however they can easily be deleted.

2. Approved payment in SagePay, yet no associated order in Magento. These orders raise more of a concern as they are usually caused by errors when attempting to save the order in Magento. This may be due to a JavaScript conflict, a PHP error or even a database error. To identify the issue, Magento developer logs need to be enabled. These orders are also recorded in the Orphan Transaction List and action should be taken in order to resolve any internal issues.

How to avoid orphan transactions:

Initially, to help reduce the risk of Orphan Transactions it is vitally important you keep SagePay up to date by instaling the latest versions when they are released. The latest releases often include upgrades to existing features, entirely new features and more importantly, security fixes.

Are your orphaned transactions being overlooked?

If your store is experiencing Orphaned Transactions (this is almost always the case), a notification will occur in the Magento admin panel and provide you with a link to the Orphan Transactions List. Often people see the notification appear but don’t know what actions to take from it.

Orphaned Transactions Image

The list includes some customer information including the product they were going to purchase and the billing & delivery details. The logs (if enabled) will include full details of the status of the order and why it was incomplete. A record of this offers an opportunity to rescue the situation and generate a conversion, potentially providing an all-important source of revenue.

For example, you could phone the customers that abandoned the order at 3DS check and enter their order manually with the reassurance that the customer is already interested in your product. If the payment has been taken but there is no associated order in Magento, it is possible to resolve this without having to notify the customer; you can achieve this by using the “Recover” function against the transaction (please note it is a beta feature). However, it is important to investigate how this occurred in the first place.

In order for a store to capitalise on their Orphan Transactions, they rely on an updated transaction list to allow them to resolve issues or reach out to customers as soon as possible. Old transactions need to be cleared from the list in order for new ones to be documented.

Update your orphaned transaction list:

  • Pay attention to the Orphan Transaction List notifications
  • Review new orphaned transactions
  • Act on them when appropriate
  • Delete them when they have been dealt with!