I didn’t receive any tickets but I was still charged!

You may have just checked your bank statement or your PayPal account and noticed that there is a still a (pending) charge for a failed payment and/or you have not received your ticket. Don’t worry - there’s no reason to fret.

After making your payment, you will be directed to the  "Tickets" section of your Trainline account or to a confirmation page of your booking. If this has not happened after your payment and you did not receive a confirmation email, it is likely the transaction was not successful. However, it can happen that the transaction attempt still appears on your account statement.

Credit card payment: Why does this happen?

Well, in technical speak, we work with an  authorisation plus capture method. This is very similar to what many hotels do with deposits: they will authorise your card for the deposit and will only capture it in the event it needs to be paid. Otherwise the funds are released after a short period of time. 

  1. We receive your payment information i.e. your credit card details.
  2. If your bank is enrolled, you will then have to complete the 3D Secure verification (e.g. enter a code sent by SMS)
  3. Once the 3D Secure verification has been completed, your bank will to let us know if you have sufficient funds available. 
    1. If you do, your bank will then authorise the transaction. This means they tell us there is enough money on the card and give us the green light to go ahead and debit your account. It is at this point that they have also reserved the amount for us, in case we choose to debit it from your account.
  4. Now we have been authorised to make the charge, we can capture the money. If we do capture it, then your card has been debited. However, if your payment was cancelled or failed due to an error, then it means we do not complete the capture. If you consider the hotel example, it is the same process - if no charge (capture) is made, the money is released.
Sometimes payments fail in between step three and four and that can cause a big misunderstanding. If the transaction appears on your bank statement, do not fret. Some banks show the authorisation on the bank statement (usually in the 'future operations' section or similar). The 'transaction' usually disappears from the statement after a few hours or a few days, depending on the bank. 

PayPal payment: Why does this happen ?

When you make a payment with Trainline or any other company online, your PayPal payment is always pending until your order is processed and then the payment is collected. If your reservation fails, then your order also isn’t processed and we do not collect the payment. 

The payment will automatically be cancelled from our side. So this will also be reflected in your PayPal account once the cancellation is processed.

Why does the charge still show on my account?

The charge still appears on your bank statement or PayPal account because it is a pending payment. Often, you will even find it listed under the pending payments in your account. If we follow the steps above, we can see it makes sense that the payment is registered as pending. Your bank or PayPal has already been “informed” that we wish to make the charge and have reserved the money for us. However, due to the payment failing or being cancelled, we did not complete the capture and did not make the charge.

What happens now is that your bank just needs to process this and then will release the money on your card. The payment will eventually also be listed as cancelled. 

What should I do now?

The best thing to do is wait, generally it takes no longer than a few hours and you'll soon see that the charge hasn’t been made. You can always contact your bank in the mean time for some extra confirmation.

If it seems like the above information doesn’t apply to your or you have a particular case, we’ll be very happy to help! You can get in touch with us.