When Authorize.Net creates a subscription transaction, it does it slightly differently than you might expect, and it can be confusing. This document aims to demystify that process.

To follow along, open your Authorize.Net dashboard, and navigate to the Recurring Billing area:

The Recurring Billing section of your Authorize.Net Dashboard
The Recurring Billing section of your Authorize.Net Dashboard

When your donors donate on a recurring basis, Authorize.Net creates a “Subscription” for them in your account. In your Recurring Billing section of your Authorize.Net Dashboard you’ll see your subscriptions listed as “Active”. If the donor just initiated a new recurring donation, but the first period hasn’t occured yet, you’ll see that there are no corresponding transactions with that Subscription yet.

Subscriptions and Transactions are located in different places
Subscriptions and Transactions are located in different places

If you’ve tested a recurring transaction, you’ll see an active subscription, with no Payments. (it’ll show “0 of (ongoing)” for indefinite transactions and “0 of 4” for a subscription set to go for 4 times.

Your subscriptions listed
Your subscriptions listed

Then under “transactions” you’ll see a pending transaction. Authorize.Net settles all of your transactions once per day, generally at close of business on the West Coast (US), but sometimes the next morning.

So even though there is “0 of (ongoing)” transactions, checking the pending transactions in the other tab will verify that the subscription was properly created, and then you can check after the next business day to confirm that the transaction went through properly.