How to Fix Error Code 96 | System Error

How to Fix Error Code 96 | System Error

Imagine you are at the checkout counter, ready to finalize a purchase for a customer, and just as you confidently slide their credit or debit card through the terminal, the transaction fails. In such condition it triggers error code 96. This system error code or commonly known as error code 96 is common and today we will learn more about it.

What is an Error Code?

An error code is a numerical or alphanumeric representation that arises when a transaction or process encounters an issue or fails to complete successfully. It acts as a communication tool between various systems involved in the transaction, such as the customer’s bank, payment network, or payment processor. When a payment fails, these entities generate an error code, which serves as a concise message indicating the reason for the unsuccessful transaction.

Error codes play a crucial role in troubleshooting and resolving payment-related issues. Each code comes with a specific description, offering valuable insights into the nature of the problem encountered during the transaction. By deciphering the error code, merchants and support teams can identify the root cause of the payment failure. Armed with this knowledge, they can work towards finding potential solutions to rectify the problem, enabling customers to complete their transactions successfully and ensuring that crucial sales are not lost due to technical glitches.

We have explained all types of error codes in detail in our articles. This article we will focus on error code 96.

What Does Error Code 96 Mean?

What Does Error Code 96 Mean?

Error code 96, commonly known as “System Error,” is a decline code merchants may encounter while processing credit card payments. When faced with error code 96, it indicates that the customer’s card issuer is experiencing difficulties in processing the payment. Essentially, the card issuer’s system is malfunctioning, which disrupts the smooth flow of the transaction and results in the payment attempt’s failure.

As a merchant or payment processor, understanding error code 96 is vital for effectively addressing payment-related issues. When this code appears, it serves as a signal that the problem lies with the customer’s card issuer rather than any fault on the merchant’s end. To resolve this issue, the customer may need to reach out to their card issuer or bank to identify and rectify the system malfunction. Being familiar with the nuances of error code 96 ensures a proactive approach to assist customers and facilitating successful transactions in the future.

Reasons Error Code 96 Can Occur

Reasons Error Code 96 Can Occur

When a customer attempts to make a purchase using their credit or debit card, the transaction goes through a series of intricate processes involving the card issuer, payment network, and the merchant’s payment processor. If any issues arise during this complex chain of events, the transaction may be declined, leading to the generation of an error code 96. In this section, we will explore the various reasons why this error code occurs and the implications it has for merchants and customers.

Card Issuer’s System Malfunction

The primary reason behind error code 96 is a system malfunction within the customer’s card issuer. The card issuer’s system plays a crucial role in authorizing and processing payments made by their cardholders. However, if their system experiences technical glitches, such as connectivity problems, server issues, or software malfunctions, it can hinder the successful completion of a transaction. As a result, the payment attempt is declined, and error code 96 is generated.

Expired or Blocked Card

In some cases, the customer’s credit or debit card might be expired or blocked by the card issuer. An expired card cannot be used for transactions, while a blocked card may result from suspicious activity or security concerns. When the payment processor communicates with the card issuer during the transaction, it receives a response indicating that the card is invalid or blocked, leading to the display of error code 96.

Insufficient Funds

While error code 96 is primarily related to system errors, it can also occur if the customer’s account has insufficient funds to cover the transaction amount. In such cases, the payment request is declined by the card issuer due to insufficient balance, and the error code is triggered.

Communication Errors

Sometimes, technical issues can occur during the communication between the merchant’s payment processor and the card issuer. These communication errors may result from network disruptions, transmission delays, or data conflicts, leading to the generation of error code 96.

Implications for Merchants and Customers

For merchants, encountering error code 96 can be concerning, as it might impact their sales and customer satisfaction. It is essential for merchants to handle such situations with care and provide clear instructions to customers on how to proceed. Merchants should emphasize that the issue is not related to their payment system but is a result of the card issuer’s system malfunction.

Customers facing error code 96 may experience frustration and confusion, especially if they are not familiar with decline codes and their meanings. To mitigate customer dissatisfaction, merchants should communicate openly with customers, assure them that their card details are secure, and offer assistance in contacting their card issuer to resolve the issue.

Error code 96, or “System Error,” can occur due to various reasons, most notably arising from a system malfunction within the customer’s card issuer. While it can present challenges for both merchants and customers, understanding the reasons behind this decline code empowers merchants to address the issue effectively and provide exceptional customer service. By fostering transparent communication and offering guidance, merchants can navigate error code 96 scenarios and ensure smooth payment processing experiences for their valued customers.

Steps to Fix Error Code 96


Fixing error code 96, also known as “System Error,” requires a systematic approach to address the underlying causes. Here are the steps you can take to resolve this issue:

Step 1: Verify Card Details

Double-check the credit or debit card details provided by the customer. Ensure that the card number, expiration date, and CVV/CVC code are entered correctly. Even a minor mistake in the card information can trigger error code 96.

Step 2: Retry the Transaction

In some cases, error code 96 may be a temporary issue caused by a momentary glitch in the card issuer’s system or communication errors. Ask the customer to wait a few minutes and attempt the transaction again. If the issue was transient, the payment should go through successfully on the second try.

Step 3: Ask for an Alternative Payment Method

If error code 96 persists after retrying, it might indicate a more substantial problem with the card issuer’s system. In such instances, suggest to the customer to use an alternative payment method, such as a different credit card or another form of payment, to complete the transaction.

Step 4: Contact the Card Issuer or Bank

Advise the customer to get in touch with their card issuer or bank to investigate the issue further. They can contact the customer support helpline provided on the back of their credit/debit card or the customer service number available on their bank’s website. The card issuer’s support team will be able to access specific details about the system error and assist in resolving the problem.

Step 5: Resolve Card Issuer’s System Malfunction

If the card issuer confirms that the error is due to a system malfunction on their end, reassure the customer that their card information is secure and that the card issuer is working to resolve the issue. Advise the customer to wait until the card issuer resolves the problem with their system.

Step 6: Use an Alternate Card Reader or Payment Processor

In some cases, the error code 96 may be related to issues with the merchant’s card reader or payment processing system. If possible, try using an alternate card reader or payment processor to rule out any technical problems on the merchant’s end.

Step 7: Keep the Customer Informed

Throughout the process of resolving error code 96, maintain clear and open communication with the customer. Keep them informed about the steps you are taking to address the issue and provide timely updates on the progress.

Step 8: Monitor for Future Occurrences

Once the issue is resolved and the payment goes through successfully, keep a watchful eye on future transactions. Monitoring for the potential recurrence of error code 96 will help identify any persistent problems and allow for swift action to rectify them.

By following these steps and being proactive in assisting the customer, you can effectively resolve error code 96 and provide a positive payment experience for your customers.

How Can Businesses Deal with Error Code 96

Dealing with error code 96, also known as “System Error,” requires a strategic and customer-centric approach. Businesses can take the following steps to effectively handle this issue and maintain smooth payment processing experiences:

Train Staff on Error Codes

Ensure that your staff, especially those involved in payment processing, are well-trained and familiar with various decline codes, including error code 96. Proper training enables them to recognize the error, understand its implications, and respond appropriately when assisting customers.

Provide Clear Customer Communication

If a customer encounters error code 96, provide clear and empathetic communication. Inform them that the issue is related to the card issuer’s system and not the fault of the business. Reassure them that their card details are secure, and offer assistance in resolving the problem promptly.

Advise Customers to Retry and Use Alternatives

Suggest that the customer retry the transaction after a short interval, as error code 96 may sometimes be caused by transient issues. If the problem persists, recommend using an alternative payment method, such as a different credit card or another form of payment.

Promptly Address Customer Concerns

Establish a customer support system that promptly addresses and resolves customer concerns related to error code 96. Offer multiple channels for customer support, such as phone, email, or live chat, to cater to different preferences.

Collaborate with Payment Processors

Maintain good communication and collaboration with your payment processors. Stay informed about any known issues related to decline codes and work together to find solutions.

Monitor Transaction Trends

Regularly analyze transaction data to identify patterns related to error code 96. Tracking the frequency and timing of occurrences can help pinpoint potential underlying causes and facilitate targeted solutions.

Contact Card Issuers on Behalf of Customers

As part of exceptional customer service, businesses can offer to contact the card issuer or bank on behalf of the customer to report the error. This proactive approach demonstrates a commitment to resolving the issue promptly.

Implement Redundant Payment Systems

Consider having redundant payment systems or alternate payment processors in place. This can help minimize disruptions caused by system malfunctions and ensure a smooth payment experience for customers.

Notify Customers of Resolutions

If the error is resolved and the transaction is successful, notify the customer promptly. Sending a confirmation message reassures the customer and keeps them informed about the status of their payment.

Continuously Improve Systems

Regularly assess and improve your payment processing systems to minimize the occurrence of error code 96 and other decline codes. This may involve updating software, enhancing security measures, and staying up-to-date with industry best practices.

By taking these proactive measures, businesses can effectively deal with error code 96 and maintain customer trust and satisfaction. Prioritizing customer support and open communication will go a long way in resolving payment-related issues and fostering positive customer relationships.

Final Words

Error code 96, or “System Error,” is a credit card decline code that can arise due to various reasons, primarily stemming from a system malfunction within the customer’s card issuer. Understanding the implications of this decline code and adopting a customer-centric approach to resolve it is crucial for businesses.

By providing clear communication, proactive customer support, and alternate payment options, businesses can effectively address error code 96 instances and maintain smooth payment processing experiences. Moreover, collaborating with payment processors, monitoring transaction trends, and continuously improving systems will contribute to reducing the occurrence of error code 96 and enhancing overall payment reliability.

Ultimately, businesses that prioritize transparency, efficiency, and customer satisfaction in handling error code 96 will strengthen their reputation and build lasting relationships with their valued customers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is error code 96 a serious issue?

    Error code 96 can be concerning, but it is not always a critical issue. In most cases, it is a temporary problem related to the card issuer’s system. However, it can still impact sales and customer satisfaction if not addressed promptly.

  2. What should I do if I encounter error code 96 during a transaction?

    If you encounter error code 96, first verify the card details entered by the customer. Ask the customer to retry the transaction after a short interval. If the issue persists, advise the customer to contact their card issuer or bank for assistance.

  3. How can I prevent error code 96 from happening again?

    While you cannot entirely prevent error code 96 as it is related to the card issuer’s system, you can minimize its occurrence by having redundant payment systems, staying updated with industry best practices, and maintaining good communication with payment processors.

  4. Can I manually override error code 96?

    No, you cannot manually override error code 96. It is a decline code generated by the card issuer’s system, and only the card issuer can resolve the underlying issue.

  5. Is my customer’s card information safe if they encounter error code 96?

    Yes, encountering error code 96 does not compromise the security of the customer’s card information. The issue is related to the card issuer’s system and not the merchant’s payment system.

  6. How long does it usually take to resolve error code 96?

    The time to resolve error code 96 depends on the cause of the issue and how quickly the card issuer can address their system malfunction. In some cases, it may be resolved within minutes, while in others, it may take longer.

  7. Can I still accept payments from customers with error code 96 issues?

    If a customer encounters error code 96, it is best not to attempt further transactions using the same card until the issue is resolved. Suggest alternative payment methods to complete the transaction successfully.

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