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Magento’s Order Management Workflow: Comprehensive but Unrealistic

September 25th, 2009

Here I am, knee deep finalizing a Magento goEmerchant payment module. When done, the module will integrate a Magento store with the goEmerchant XML API which will allow seamless pre-authorizations, captures (on invoicing), refunds, and voids.  All will be handled by the Magento admin panel at the order management pages. Well, I have just discovered how Magento handles things and it is slightly different then what we need it to be. In fact, it is different than what any payment gateway will require. Let me explain:


Assuming that the Magento is configured to Authorize only on checkout, once an order is processed, the payment info will be sent to the gateway and a Credit Card pre-authorization will occur. Resulting in a reference_number which is stored somewhere in the database. In the back-end, an admin will then review all the open orders, or orders under the ‘processing’ status and will create invoices accordingly. When the invoice is created there is an option to Capture the funds at that point. Great! this is almost what needs to happen, but workable. In essence, pre-authorized transactions need to be ‘Settled’ not ‘Captured’ according to goEmerchant’s logic. Not a problem.

What is problematic and will require serious re-plumbing of the Magento logic is the fact that only captured invoices can be voided. Well, this defeats the purpose because that is why we pre-authenticate. In short, according to Magento, a pre-authenticated order can issue an invoice which will then capture the funds and only then one can void the captured, pre-authorized transaction. This is a problem in the logic! What needs to happen, according to goEmerchant, is the ability to void a pre-authorized order without the need to issue an invoice and capture the funds.

I’ll keep you posted on this… to be continued.


  1. | #1

    Thanks for the heads up on this, just about to read the follow up.

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