Declines and failed payments

Learn why some payments fail and what you can do to decrease your decline rate.

Payments can fail for a variety of reasons and it’s frustrating when they result in the loss of legitimate business. Many payments fail for good reason and do so to minimize the possibility of fraudulent payment.

There are three possible reasons why a credit card payment might fail:

  • Payments declined by card issuers
  • Blocked payments
  • Payment Gateway declines
  • Payment method declines

Each type of failure is handled differently. The reason for a payment’s failure is provided within the payment’s details in the Dashboard and through the API as part of the Diagnose Interface.

Payment declined by card issuers

When a charge is submitted to the issuer of your customer’s card, they have automated systems and models that determine whether or not to authorize it.
If your customer’s card issuer declines a payment, payabl. shares with you as much information explaining the decline as we receive, both within the Dashboard and through the API. In some cases, card issuers also provide helpful explanations, such as the card number or expiration date being incorrect, or that the customer does not have enough funds available to make the payment. The card issuer may provide one of these more specific reasons to us through the use of a decline code.

Unfortunately, most declines are categorized by the card issuer as “generic” so it’s not always possible to know exactly why a payment was declined. If all of the card information seems correct, it is best to have your customer contact their card issuer and ask for more information. For privacy and security, card issuers can only discuss the specifics of a declined payment with their cardholders–they cannot discuss this with the merchant, or even with payabl.

Blocked payments

payabl’s automated fraud prevention tool, blocks any payments that we identify as being high-risk. Anti fraud helps combat fraud more effectively, with features such as rules that block payments. The outcome of a blocked payment reflects the type of payment failure and the reason for it.

A blocked payment is initially authorized by the card issuer and could be processed successfully. Instead, we do not charge the card as it’s likely the payment is fraudulent and could result in a dispute.

Depending on the type of card being used, some customers may see the card issuer’s authorization for the payment amount on their statement. This amount has not been charged and no funds have been taken. The authorization is removed from their statement by the card issuer within a few days.

Payment Gateway declines

As you develop your integration with payabl., good testing should identify any potential bugs that would lead to declines on the Payment Gateway. Consequently these failures should be rare in production.

Payment Methods declines

You will receive error codes in requests from local payment methods if you use them through payabal.. Each payment method has its own error code and messages which you can receive if payment was aborted by the customer or had any technical issues.


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