A Merchant’s Guide to Credit Card Failure Codes

Credit card security

 

Understanding Card Failure Codes

Credit card declines occur when the payment transaction cannot be processed. There are a range of reasons that this may happen: a decline from the payment processor, the payment gateway, or (most commonly) the issuing bank. Associated with the declined payment is a failure code and reason provided to the merchant.

There are two categories of credit card declines: hard declines, and soft declines. Hard declines occur when the payment is refused by the issuing bank, and the customer should contact their bank to resolve the issue. Soft declines occur when the transaction has been approved but there is an issue in completing it. Typically in these instances, the payment can be retried and will go through.

Below is a guide to the most common credit card failure codes and some recommended actions to take when they occur.

Here is a quick glossary of commonly-used terms to be sure the definitions are clear:

Card Issuer – Refers to the financial institution that issues credit cards. This is not MasterCard or Visa, but the bank or credit union where the card account is held.

Card Holder – A person who has a credit or debit card. Essentially, this is the person whose name is on the card account, or the card itself.

Terminal – Also known as a payment terminal, POS (point of sale), EFTPOS, or credit card terminal, this is the device which interfaces with payment cards in order to process the electronic funds transfer transactions.

Payment Processor (PSP) – Typically a third party, a PSP is assigned by a merchant to handle the processing of payments through various means, such as cards and checks, online or at in-person terminals.

CID – Credit Card Identification Number. This is a 3-digit code in the signature panel on the back of Visa, MasterCard, and Discover cards. The CID for American Express is 4 digits on the front of the card.

CVV/CVV2 – Card Verification Value 2. The CVV is a code embedded into cards which is passed when a card is scanned at a POS or ATM. The CVV2 is akin to the CID (see above) and is printed on the physical card and is used during check out for an additional security measure.

 

Failure Codes

Failure code: 01

Response text: Call

Failure code definition: Refer to Card Issuer

Explanation: 

The issuing bank is preventing the authorization of this transaction.

 

The specific reason for this decline is unclear, and the card holder should contact the issuing bank for more details. Once the problem has been addressed and resolved, the issuing bank will confirm with the card holder that they will authorize the transaction, and and the merchant may attempt to process this payment again.

If the problem cannot be resolved, request an alternative card or payment method.

 

Failure code: 04

Response text: Hold-call or Pick Up Card

Failure code definition: Pick Up Card

Explanation: The issuing bank is preventing the authorization of this transaction.

Recommended action: The card holder should contact the issuing bank for more details. Once the problem has been addressed and resolved, the issuing bank will confirm with the card holder that they will authorize the transaction, and and the merchant may attempt to process this payment again.

If the problem cannot be resolved, request an alternative card or payment method.

 

Failure code: 05

Response text: Decline

Failure code definition: Do Not Honor / Card Declined by Issuer

Explanation: The issuing bank is reporting an issue and advising the merchant not to accept this card.

Recommended action: The card holder should contact the issuing bank for more details. Once the problem has been addressed and resolved, the issuing bank will confirm with the card holder that they will authorize the transaction, and the merchant may attempt to process this payment again.

If the problem cannot be resolved, request an alternative card or payment method.

 

Failure code: 07

Response text: Hold-call

Failure code definition: Pick Up Card, Special Conditions

Explanation: The issuer has detected fraudulent activity on the cardholder’s account, so the transaction is not authorized.

Recommended action: If this is a return customer who has previously completed a successful payment, request an alternative card or pay method and advise the customer to review their account with the issuer. If this is a new customer or someone making a one-time payment, it is best to assume this is a fraudulent use of the card. Do not provide this customer with any goods or services, and do not attempt to run the card again.

 

Failure code: 12

Response text: Invalid Trans

Failure code definition: Invalid Transaction

Explanation: This transaction is unsupported or otherwise invalid. This code may be displayed when attempting to refund a credit payment, for example.

When working with a secure payment processing solution, these errors should be detected before the transaction is submitted for authorization, meaning this code will rarely – if ever – appear. Should you receive this failure code, check the payment type and payment details, and correct them as necessary. Once the problem has been addressed on the merchant side, attempt to process the payment again.

 

Failure code: 13

Response text: Amount Error

Failure code definition: Invalid Amount

Explanation: The transaction is invalid because the amount requested for processing is either negative, or non-numeric.

Recommended action: A simple correction can be made by checking the payment amount and adjusting it. Once the amount has been fixed, proceed with the transaction again.

 

Failure code: 14

Response text: Card No. Error

Failure code definition: Invalid Card Number

Explanation: The card number is invalid.

Recommended action: Review the card number and correct it before attempting to process this transaction again. If there are recurring payments scheduled, be sure to stop them once the invalid card number is found. Merchants will incur an authorization fee for each attempted transaction with an invalid card number.Review the card number and correct it before attempting to process this transaction again. If there are recurring payments scheduled, be sure to stop them once the invalid card number is found. Merchants will incur an authorization fee for each attempted transaction with an invalid card number.

 

Failure code: 15

Response text: No Such Issuer

Failure code definition: No Such Issuer; Decline

Explanation: This failure code indicates that the first digit of the card number is invalid, as it does not match a card issuer number.This failure code indicates that the first digit of the card number is invalid, as it does not align with any card number from this issuer.

Recommended action: Check the first digit of the card number, correct it, and attempt the transaction again.Check the first digit of the card number, correct it, and attempt the transaction again.

 

Failure code: 19

Response text: Re Enter

Failure code definition: Re-Enter Transaction

Explanation: There was an unknown error.

Recommended action: Attempt the transaction again. If repeated attempts are unsuccessful, contact your PSP for assistance.Attempt the transaction again. If repeated attempts are unsuccessful, contact your PSP for assistance.

 

Failure code: 28

Response text: No Reply

Failure code definition: File Update File Locked

Explanation: A temporary error has caused the payment authorization to fail.A temporary error has caused the payment authorization to fail.

Recommended action: Attempt the transaction again. If repeated attempts are unsuccessful, contact your PSP for assistance.Attempt the transaction again. If repeated attempts are unsuccessful, contact your PSP for assistance.

 

Failure code: 41

Response text: Hold-Call

Failure code definition: Lost Card – Pick Up

Explanation: The card being used for this transaction has been reported lost or stolen by the card holder. No attempted payments on this card will be authorized.

Recommended action: If this is a new customer making a one-time payment, assume this is a fraudulent purchase. Do not provide goods or services, and do not attempt to process this transaction again.

 

If this transaction is part of a scheduled or recurring payment, it’s possible that the card holder has filed a lost or stolen report for the card since the last successful transaction occurred. Contact the customer for a new card number, or another payment method. Be sure to update future payments to the new card number.

 

Failure code: 51

Response text: Decline

Failure code definition: Insufficient Funds

Explanation: This card account is over the holder’s credit limit, or will go over the limit of this transaction is completed. The issuing bank is therefore declining the transaction.

Recommended action: Ask the card holder to contact their issuing bank to request a credit limit increase. They can also make a payment on their account, in certain circumstances, to have more credit available. Once this problem has been addressed and the issuing bank has confirmed there is credit available, process the transaction again.

If the problem cannot be solved, request another card from the customer, or use an alternative payment method.

 

Failure code: 54

Response text: Expired Card

Failure code definition: Expired Card

Explanation: This card has passed its expiration date and is now invalid. This code is common with recurring or scheduled payments.

Recommended action: Contact the customer to ask for an updated expiration date or card number. Update the customer’s account to reflect these new details. Future payments will automatically update, including existing recurring payments.

Process this transaction again as a one-time payment, even if it was part of a scheduled or recurring payment.

 

Failure code: 57

Response text: Serv Not Allowed

Failure code definition: Transaction Not Permitted to Cardholder          

Explanation: The card being used does not allow the type of transaction that is being attempted for this payment.

Recommended action: Ask the customer to contact the issuing bank to request permission for this transaction. Once the issuing bank has confirmed that they will authorize the transaction, process it again.

If the problem cannot be solved, request another card from the customer, or use an alternative payment method.

 

Failure code: 58

Response text: Serv Not Allowed

Failure code definition: Transaction Not Permitted to Terminal

Explanation: The attempted transaction cannot be processed by the merchant account, because it has not been set up. For example, attempting to process a payment using an American Express card without having the appropriate configuration.

Recommended action: Contact the PSP to ensure the merchant account is configured for all required payment types.

 

Failure code: 62

Response text: Decline

Failure code definition: Restricted Card

Explanation: Either the merchant account is not configured to process the requested transaction type, or the customer’s card has restrictions for online or international payments.

Recommended action: Contact the PSP to ensure the merchant account is configured for all required payment types.

If the card is the reason for the failure, ask the card holder to contact the issuing bank for more details. Once the problem has been resolved, process the transaction again. If the problem cannot be resolved, request another card or alternative payment method.

 

Failure code: 63

Response text: Sec violation

Failure code definition: Security Violation on Credit Card or Machine

Explanation: The CID or CVV2 code provided with the transaction request does not match the one associated with the card number.

Recommended action: Check the code and ask the customer for the correct one. It is also possible to attempt the transaction again without a CID or CVV2, but merchants should be aware that an invalid code may signal fraudulent card use.

 

Failure code: 65

Response text: Decline

Failure code definition: Exceeds Withdrawal Frequency Limit

Explanation: Transaction not permitted because the daily maximum credit limit for the card holder has been reached, or will be exceeded if this transaction is approved.

Recommended action: Ask the card holder to contact their issuing bank to request a credit limit increase. Once this problem has been addressed and the issuing bank has confirmed there is credit available, process the transaction again.If the problem cannot be solved, request another card from the customer, or use an alternative payment method.If this is a first-time customer or a one-time purchase, merchants should be aware that this transaction may be fraudulent.

 

Failure code: 85 or 00

Response text: Retry

Failure code definition: Issuer System Unavailable

Explanation: A temporary communication error has caused the authorization to fail.

Recommended action: Attempt to process the transaction again. If repeated attempts are also unsuccessful, contact the PSP for assistance.

 

Failure code: 85

Response text: Card OK

Failure code definition: No Reason to Decline

Explanation: An unknown error has caused the authorization to fail, but there is no issue detected with the card itself.

Recommended action: Attempt to process the transaction again. If repeated attempts are also unsuccessful, contact the PSP for assistance.

 

Failure code: 91

Response text: No Reply

Failure code definition: Issuer or Switch is Inoperative

Explanation: A temporary error caused the authorization to fail. The issuer or switch is inoperative error typically indicates that the card issuer could not be contacted, or did not respond with an approval in time.

Recommended action: Attempt to process the transaction again. If repeated attempts are also unsuccessful, contact the PSP for assistance.

 

Failure code: 93

Response text: Decline

Failure code definition: Transaction Cannot be Completed

Explanation: An account violation has resulted in this transaction authorization being denied by the issuing bank.

Recommended action: Ask the card holder to contact the issuing bank to determine the reason for the decline. Once the problem has been resolved and the issuing bank has confirmed that they will authorize the transaction, submit again.

If the problem cannot be solved, request another card from the customer, or use an alternative payment method.

 

Failure code: 96

Response text: System Error

Failure code definition: System Malfunction

Explanation: A temporary error has caused the authorization to fail.

Recommended action:  Attempt to process the transaction again. If repeated attempts are also unsuccessful, contact the PSP for assistance.

 

Failure code: CV

Response text: Failure CV

Failure code definition: Card Type Verification Error

Explanation: The CID or CVV2 provided does not match the one associated with the card number. This failure code may also indicate an error in the merchant account configuration.

Recommended action: Request the corrected code from the customer. The transaction can be re-attempted without the CID or CVV2, but merchants should be aware that an invalid code may signal fraudulent card usage. If the transaction is attempted without the code and does not go through, contact the PSP for assistance, and to determine whether it is an issue of account configuration.

 

Failure code: R0 or R1

Response text: Stop Recurring

Failure code definition: Stop Recurring Transaction

Explanation: The card holder has requested a cancelation of a recurring payment. The card holder would have made this request with the card issuer, rather than the merchant.

Recommended action: In order to prevent chargebacks, cancel the recurring schedule immediately. Merchants should contact the customer to determine how they would like to proceed. If they wish to continue the payment schedule with the existing card, they must contact the card issuer to remove the ‘stop’ order against the merchant charges. If they wish to change the payment method or update the card details, update their account and simply obtain new authorization to resume the schedule.

 

 

With this guide to the most common credit card failure codes, merchants can now evaluate and respond to declined transactions swiftly. Typically, contacting the customer or reviewing the card details will lead to a resolution. This means recovering lost revenue from declined transactions, and ensuring future transactions can be processed without incident.

Subscribe for payments, tourism and marketing blog updates

* indicates required