Credit card declines can mean lost sales and customers left wondering about their cards’ security. When a credit card gets declined, the chances are good that the problem isn’t with your business or the customer’s credit card account. These declines sometimes occur as a result of an error in card processing between the time the merchant transmits the card information and the time the decline notification arrives. Stopping these unnecessary credit card declines is sometimes a matter of finding the cause of the problem and correcting it.
Image via Flickr by Sean MacEntee
Two types of card-decline messages exist: card declined, and card declined by the processor. When you receive the latter message, the problem isn’t with your high-risk merchant account (if you have one) or processing account; instead, the problem is with the card issuing bank. When this error arrives, any number of factors may be to blame, including the following:
These issues are hard to pinpoint, but sometimes banks will explain these problems if you contact them. Once you know the problem, you can publish a message on your website or warn customers who call in with phone orders. This action on your part is excellent customer service and has the advantage of bolstering confidence with your clients.
The CVV, the three digits on the back of the card (or four for American Express cards), offer an extra layer of security for transactions. While you can accept credit card information without a CVV, not entering the CVV can allow fraudulent transactions to get through easier. You as the merchant can make entering the CVV code mandatory or optional.
When a card with a bad or no CVV gets declined, the customer has to correct the issue. This situation has the potential to be problematic for website purchases. The best solution is to have the field set to refuse a credit card process unless all the required information appears. This setting alerts customers to enter the CVV to complete the purchase.
While this feature is something that remains the customers’ responsibility, sometimes it’s also up to the merchant to have the proper systems in place. Some card holders use an extra layer of security known as 3-D Secure. This process requires the cardholder to enter a PIN as well as the CVV. In turn, the merchant has to be equipped to accept 3-D Secure to accommodate customers and their wish to protect themselves.
Accepting credit cards for purchases can sometimes create more frustrations than solutions, particularly if you have a high-risk merchant account. Be patient, find where the errors occur, and offer customers multiple options to complete their purchases with you. The more flexible you are, the fewer declines you’ll experience, and your clients can be kept satisfied.