What Credit Card Decline Codes Mean?

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If your business processes credit cards, you may have seen a number of payment decline codes. Declined credit cards are quite common in any business scenario, especially in B2C (business to consumer) transactions, and may occur due to a variety of reasons. But what do they mean? How should you handle specific codes? Here we provide a great reference for deciphering various credit card decline codes so that you can take the appropriate actions.

If you are processing a large volume of credit card or debit card transactions, understanding these decline codes will be particularly valuable, so that you know how to proceed during these unforeseen situations. Understanding the following credit and debit card decline codes will help you run your business seamlessly, and enable you to resolve issues more quickly.

01: Refer to the Issuing Bank

When you see code 01, it means that the credit card issuer, that’s Mastercard, Visa, etc., has stopped the transaction from taking place. In other words, the card issuer has stopped the funds from getting transferred from the customer’s account to your merchant account. In that case, you must ask the buyer to use another card or some other payment method.

02: Refer to Issuer (Special Condition)

This is similar to code 01 and comes from the issuer. Again, you need to ask your customer to use another card and contact his/her issuer to learn the reason for this declined payment.

04: Pick Up Card (No Fraud)

You will receive this code when the card is either stolen or expired. In this case, you, as the merchant, need to confiscate the card and then return it to the card-issuing company.

05: Do Not Honor

This code implies that you should not accept such a card. Ask the buyer to pay by other methods.

07: Pick Up Card, Special Condition (Fraud Account)

This code means that the issuing bank has found some fraudulent activities associated with this account. Never accept cards showing code 07 and try not to sell anything to this consumer in the future. If you absolutely have to then accept cash only.

12: Invalid Transaction

When a transaction that you are processing shows code 12, then the entire payment is considered invalid or incorrect. For instance, if you are processing a refund, check your configurations carefully and whether they are correct on all the payment batches.

13: Invalid Amount

This card decline situation usually arises from an erroneous data entry task, such as when you put an incorrect data in a number field.

14: Invalid Card Number

Similar to code 13, this too is a data entry error that occurs when you enter an incorrect card number, for example, by typing the wrong digits while inputting the consumer’s credit card number manually.

15: No Such Issuer

Card issuers like Visa, Mastercard, AMEX (American Express), and Discover start with specific digits; for example, 4, 5, 3, and 6 digits, respectively. If you get these initial numbers wrong, then a message showing a card type mismatch error will appear.

19: Re-Enter, An Unknown Error Occurred

If you get a code 19, you simply need to try again. However, if you keep receiving the same error repeatedly, you must contact your issuer to learn about the next steps for solving the problem.

28: File is Temporarily Unavailable

If there happens to be a glitch or technical fault during the authorization of the transaction, then you might get a code 28 error. In this case, try entering the numbers again, and if the error persists, contact the card issuer.

41 and 43: Lost Card, Pick Up (Fraud Account)

When codes 41 and 43 appear, it indicates that the card owner has reported the card to be stolen or lost. In that case, never retry the transaction by running the card again, and don’t give any products or services to that consumer.

However, if that customer is an old one and s/he has used that card at your store before without showing any errors, then ask the buyer to provide another card or go for an alternate payment mode.

51: Insufficient Funds and 65: Activity Limit Exceeded

When code 51 or 65 appears, it means that the buyer’s issuing bank is preventing the transaction because either there are insufficient funds or the crest limit is reached. Merchants, in this case, must request another payment using a different method, or ask the consumer to contact the card issuer requesting a raise in the card limit.

54: Expired Card

It’s obvious that a payment made with an expired card will be declined by the issuer. The customer must get a new card, and in the meantime, you can ask for a different payment mode. However, if the card is not expired yet, make sure you have entered the correct date.

57: Transaction Not Permitted – Card

Code 57 occurs when the card is not configured correctly with the specific transaction type you are running. The customer must contact the issuer to get the transaction approved.

58: Transaction Not Permitted – Terminal

In this case, the merchant payment processing account is not configured properly for accepting payments. You must request your account provider to re-configure your POS system as per your needs.

62: Invalid Service Code – Restricted

It appears when your system is not properly configured to accept Discover or AMEX cards. Alternatively, it may occur when your consumer is attempting to make an online payment using a card that’s not authorized for internet transactions.

63: Security Violation

It may occur when the card’s CVV or CID number present on the back was entered incorrectly.

85 OR 00: Issuer System Unavailable

These codes may show up when there’s a temporary communication error. In that case, you must wait for a minute or two and attempt the transaction again. Contact the card issuer if the problem continues.

85: No Reason to Decline

This code covers errors that are usually unexplainable and which generally can resolve on their own.

91: Issuer or Switch is Unavailable

Code 91, too, has no particular reason for payment failure. Simply try fixing the issue by contacting the payment processor or the card issuer.

93: Violation, Cannot Complete

Code 93 indicates that there’s some issue with the consumer’s account. Again, ask him/her to pay using a different method.

96: System Error

This problem may arise during the transaction, in which case, you must retry after 1-2 minutes. Contact the issue if the issue continues.

RO or R1: Customer Requested Stop of Specific Recurring Payment

In these cases, the customer has requested the bank to prevent recurring payments from going into your account. Ensure from the customer that this was not a mistake.

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