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07/18/2024 03:02 AM


Understanding Credit Card Transaction Declines

Credit card transactions can be declined due to various reasons. To ascertain the cause of a decline, it's necessary to examine the transaction response from the Authorize.net payment gateway account.

How to Review Transaction Details

  1. Log into the Merchant Interface.
  2. Click Transaction Search from the main toolbar.
  3. Enter the relevant search criteria to find the transaction.
  4. Click Search at the bottom of the page.
  5. Click the appropriate Transaction ID to review the transaction details.

On the Transaction Detail page, the transaction status Declined is displayed directly under the Transaction ID. A brief reason for the decline may be provided in parenthesis.

Common Decline Messages and Information

Here are some common decline messages and information about the decline types:

Declined (Card declined by issuer - contact card issuer to determine reason.)

This usually happens due to one of these reasons:

  • The customer's credit card issuing bank did not approve the transaction. This could be due to insufficient funds, frozen account status, invalid credit card number or expiration date, etc. Regrettably, the card issuing bank does not provide additional details regarding the reason for the decline. The customer will need to contact the card issuing bank for more information. One way to recognize a bank decline is to look at the transaction's Address Verification Service (AVS) status in the Authorization Information section of the Transaction Detail page. If it shows AVS Not Applicable (P), this generally means that no verification of the address information was initiated as the transaction was declined beforehand.
  • The transaction may have been declined by your processor based on transaction limits established by your Merchant Service Provider (MSP). Your MSP sets both per-transaction and monthly transaction amount limits for your transaction processing. If you have questions regarding your transaction limits, please contact your MSP. A phone number to your MSP should be on your most recent funding statement.
  • The transaction may have been declined due to the Gateway account and Merchant Account (set up by the MSP) not both being set up for the same types of transactions, e.g. Gateway is set up as a "Card Not Present" Account and the Merchant Account is set up as a "Card Present" account. In this case, you will need to reach out to your MSP to confirm the types of transactions you are set up to accept.

Declined (Contact card issuer to complete transaction.)

A referral to a voice authorization center was received. Please call the appropriate voice authorization number below for the card type being used:

  • American Express: (800) 528-2121
  • Visa/MasterCard: (800) 228-1122
  • Discover/Novus: (800) 347-1111
  • Diners Club: (800) 525-9040
  • JCB: (800) 522-9345

For international merchants (UK and AU):

  • Please contact your Merchant Service Provider (MSP)
  • If your MSP is WorldPay, please call 0845 7 600 530

Declined (Card reported lost or stolen - contact card issuer for resolution.)

The transaction status means that the credit card has been reported as lost or stolen. The credit card company is informing you, as the merchant, that this card should be taken from the customer and destroyed. We understand this is impossible if the transaction was made via the Internet. In any case, you may contact the customer to inform them of the card's status, and seek another method of payment.

Declined (AVS Mismatch) or (Card Code Mismatch)

This means the transaction was declined due to the Address Verification Service (AVS) or Card Code Verification (CCV) results. AVS compares the billing address (numerical portions) provided in a transaction with the cardholder's address on file at the credit card issuing bank. CCV compares the card code (a three- or four-digit security code that is printed on the credit card) provided in a transaction with the card code on file at the credit card issuing bank. When enabled, both services return a code to the payment gateway indicating the verification results. You can configure settings for AVS and CCV in the Merchant Interface to decline transactions based on those codes.

For more information on AVS and how to use it, see: What is Address Verification Service (AVS) and how to use and configure it?

For more information on Card Code how to use it, see: What is Card Code Verification (CVV) and how to use and configure it?

Declined (The transaction was declined as a result of triggering a Fraud Detection Suite filter.)

If the account has Fraud Detection Suite (FDS) or Advanced Fraud Detection Suite (AFDS) enabled, you can configure the payment gateway to decline transactions that trigger specific FDS filters. To determine if AFDS is the reason for the decline, you can review the Fraud Information section of the Transaction Detail page. The Fraud Filter field will display which filter was triggered.

Declined Reason Codes

Authorize.net may not provide specific reasons for a particular decline, but we do include some details on declines in our transaction responses, if available.

Here are some common decline reasons along with their associated Response Reason Codes:

  • 2: General decline by card issuing bank or by Merchant Service Provider
  • 3: Referral to card issuing bank for verbal approval
  • 4: Card reported lost or stolen; pick up card if physically available
  • 27: Address Verification Service (AVS) mismatch; declined by account settings
  • 44: Card Code decline by payment processor
  • 45: AVS and Card Code mismatch; declined by account settings
  • 65: Card Code mismatch; declined by account settings
  • 250: Fraud Detection Suite (FDS) blocked IP address
  • 251: FDS filter triggered--filter set to decline
  • 254: FDS held for review; transaction declined after manual review

For a more complete list and details, please visit our Developer Center Transaction Response Codes Lookup.


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