Forms: Viewing and managing unpaid transactions

In this article:

Why do payments fail?

It sometimes happens that a donation or other payment form is submitted without a successful transaction attached to it. This article describes how to view and manage these unpaid transactions.

Payments can fail for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The user may have abandoned the form after submitting page one (meaning they did not complete page two, where they are asked for their payment information)
  • The credit card information provided may be flawed in one or more of the following ways:
    • Incorrect expiration date
    • The name provided doesn't match name on the card
    • The card has been registered as a stolen card
    • The card number isn't valid
    • The ZIP code or "card verification value" (cvv) is incorrect
    • The bank has frozen the card
    • The transaction exceeds limits set by the merchant account provider

Payment statuses and what they mean

  • Paid - The payment was successfully completed
  • Unpaid - The payment was not made (the form was submitted without payment)
  • Pending transfer - The payment has been made and is pending ACH transfer (These transfers can take several days to complete.)

Viewing unpaid transactions

In LGL Forms, you can view unpaid transactions by searching in the Received area of the Donations/Payments tab:

In the search results, you will see the payment status, and for some unpaid transactions, you may see an error message (such as the “Declined” messages shown below).The error message is not always made available by the credit card processor, and they can be contacted for more detailed information about why a payment may have been unpaid. 

Receive a daily itemization of your LGL Forms transactions

To get around needing to search in order to see whether new unpaid transactions have come in, you can subscribe to the Daily Digest of your LGL Forms transactions. The Daily Digest arrives via email any time there were submissions to your form the prior day. It shows the following information:

  • Total number of forms submitted for the prior day and for the trailing 30-day period
  • Total number of recurring donations for the prior day and for the trailing 30-day period
  • Totals for paid versus unpaid submissions
  • Breakdown of paid and unpaid one-time donations
  • Breakdown of paid and unpaid recurring donations
  • Number of credit cards that will soon expire

You can subscribe to the Daily Digest in the Admin > Users area of your LGL Forms account:

You can set the subscription status for each user:

What should you do about unpaid transactions?

First check to see whether any donors with unpaid transactions have made a subsequent successful transaction. You can find these by searching on "All" statuses and scanning above any unpaid transaction to see if that same donor made a subsequent successful transaction. If they did, there's no need to take any followup action.

If you do not see a successful subsequent transaction, you could send a courtesy email to the donor to let them know their submission appears to have an incomplete payment associated with it. Of course, you'll want to take into account what you already know about the donor, as you would likely word your email slightly differently for a well-known donor than you would for a new donor.

If the donor does want to re-submit their form, they will need to fill out the form from scratch again. There is no way for them to re-submit their previous submission with a new card. It is also not possible for you to edit the prior submission for them. 

To ask them to re-submit, you can send them directly to the form by taking the following steps:

  • Go to their submission in your LGL Forms account and click the "Complete payment" link for their submission, as shown below:

  • The payment form will load on your screen and will look something like this:

  • Include the URL to this page in the email you send to the donor. When they receive your email and click the link, they will be able to easily re-submit their payment.

Integration to your Little Green Light database

We are very intentional about only pushing successful payment submissions over to your LGL database and not sending over failed transactions. Your LGL database is a great place to track actual donations, but it is a bad place to manage failed submissions. So, we strongly recommend leaving unpaid transactions alone in your LGL Forms account. If you contact the donor and they re-submit a successful donation, that one will go over to your LGL account automatically (assuming you have set up the integration).