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Ecommerce Forum

Reasons for a declined credit card transaction
How much info to give away to the customer?

 5:13 pm on Aug 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

If an online credit card transaction is declined, the merchant could advise the customer the reason for the decline. For example, "billing address does not match your cardholder address" OR "wrong 3 digit security code" OR "wrong Verified by VISA password"

But if it is a fraud attempt, these messages may give away too many clues, and help those who are making fraudulent transactions.

However, in majority of the cases, the customer is trying a legitimate transaction and is simply confused as to why the credit card was declined.

Where is the balance between the desire to inform the customer to increase sales vs working to prevent fraud and chargebacks?



 5:32 pm on Aug 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

True, many customers make honest mistakes entering numbers, addresses, emails etc. Often they are using a recently expired card.

We ask for a full repeat. But we don't prompt them. Maybe 80% of the time we can get it to go thru the second time.


 5:42 pm on Aug 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

We ask the customer to call their bank and then call us back. If it is a valid order, the customer will call the bank and the bank will tell them. If it's fraud, you'll never hear from them again..


 5:52 pm on Aug 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dogza, let's say the cardholder address was "1 Test Street # 4" but the customer entered "Apt 4, 1 Test Rd". Maybe the transaction is declined because of AVS. If you tell the customer, look, you got the address a little wrong, try again... he's very likely to try again.

If you just tell him to call the bank, he's likely to give up and forget about it. Getting on the phone and waiting x minutes to speak with a bank representative isn't that enticing... especially if it was one of those spontaneous impulsive buys. I bring this up because I'm certain alot of sales are lost because of non-specific "your credit card has been declined, call the bank" messages.


 6:24 pm on Aug 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

We ask the customer to call their bank and then call us back

Yeah, like I, as a consumer, would call the BankAmerica voicemail system about a $30 online purchase! I might try another site. In most cases I'd just lose interest in buying the stuff. Not many ecommerce products are necessities.


 6:40 pm on Aug 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's true, for smaller impulse buys that probably wouldn't work. We're a B2B site and our customers make larger purchases, so having the customer call the bank has never been a problem.


 3:24 pm on Sep 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

[Bump] Can anybody advise? Does VISA / Mastercard / American Express or your 3rd party processor have guidelines or "best practices" advice for this specific scenario? Experiences with increased chargebacks? Is there a danger that your website will become a one-stop-shop for fraudsters looking for clues about stolen credit cards?


 8:24 pm on Sep 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Check out the PCI compliancy standards.


 6:17 pm on Sep 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just tell your client that the cc card has been declined. Then, inquire do they have another mehtod of paying for the product/service.?

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