The Ultimate Guide to Credit Card Decline Codes

So you dipped a customer’s credit card, and it was declined. Ugh. In addition to a flustered and potentially indignant customer, you now have to figure out what to do. Should you try to override the decline? Ask the customer to call their bank? Panic? With this handy guide, you certainly won’t have to do that last one. Here’s our cheat sheet to the decline codes your machine might produce and what to do about them.

Code 01, 04, 05, 57, or 93

If you see any of these decline codes appear, something is wrong with the customer’s account and the transaction is being blocked by the cardholder’s issuing bank. Instruct the customer to step to the side and call the bank to determine the issue. Once the bank has resolved the problem, the customer can again present the card for payment and the transaction should proceed without issue. If the customer can’t or doesn’t want to call their bank, they will need to provide an alternative method of payment to complete the transaction.

Code 07, 41, 63, or CV

These are classic fraud alerts. Fraudulent activity has already been detected with the customer’s account, the customer has reported the card as lost or stolen, or the CVV2/CID code is incorrect. If you know and trust the customer, ask them to provide an alternative method of payment so you can complete the transaction, then encourage them to call their bank to figure out what’s going on. If you’ve never seen the customer before, don’t complete the purchase. Assume it’s fraudulent. If you see a CV code, there is a chance it could be your account configuration that’s causing the problem. Call your credit card processor just to be sure.

Code 12

An decline code 12 means that the type of transaction you are trying to make is invalid or not supported. This frequently occurs when attempting to refund a credit card payment. Double check the payment type and payment information to make sure it’s all correct. When you’re satisfied, try the transaction again. It should process without issue.

Code 13, 14, or 15

These decline codes mean that there is some sort of mistake with the card number or transaction details. This is usually the result of a typo. Check to make sure the credit card number is correct (codes 14 and 15) and that the transaction amount is not negative and contains no errant numbers or symbols (code 13), then try the transaction again.

Code 19, 28, 85, 91, 96, or 00

A temporary or unknown problem occurred while authorizing the transaction. Try the transaction again. If repeated attempts still fail, contact your credit card processor for troubleshooting steps.

Code 51, 54, or 65

The customer has exceeded their credit limit (code 51 or 65) or the card is expired (code 54). The customer should contact their issuing bank to request an increase in their credit limit or request the new expiration date. If they cannot provide this information, they will need to provide an alternative method of payment to complete the transaction. Be alert – if this is a first-time customer it’s possible the transaction is fraudulent.

Code 58 or 62

Your account is not set up to process the type of transaction you are attempting. Perhaps, for instance, you are trying to process an international card for which your terminal is not configured. Contact your payment processor to have your account updated. The customer may need to present an alternative method of payment in the meantime. If you see decline code 62, it is possible that the issue is actually with the customer’s card. While you call your credit card processor, have them call their bank to ensure that their card is set up to process the type of transaction you’re attempting.

Code R0 or R1

These decline codes appear when a customer has instructed their card issuer to not process any further installments of a recurring transaction. To protect yourself from chargebacks, stop attempting to process right away and contact the customer to figure out how they want to move forward. To use the original card, they will need to contact their issuer to restart recurring payments. They can also, of course, provide you with a different card.

Your Payments Partner

You may notice that a lot of these courses of action suggest that you call your credit card processing provider. This is by design – your payments processor should be able to provide you with the education and tools needed to handle transaction decline codes quickly and confidently. If they can’t or won’t, it’s time to start shopping around. Give 360 Payments a try – you can always reach us by phone at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website.

PS – You should never lease a credit card machine. Here’s why.

PPS – Is it time to fire that toxic customer? Here’s how to tell.

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