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Credit Card Decline Code Breakdown

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Last editedOct 20212 min read

When a customer’s credit card details are declined, you’ll see a numerical code flash up to explain the reasoning behind it. These vary from region to region, so what are the credit card decline codes in Australia? We’ll break these down below, so that you can ensure smoother credit card processing for all parties involved.

What are credit card declined error codes?

Beyond insufficient funds in a customer’s account, there’s a multitude of reasons why a card might be declined. Transactions must go through several stages on the path to approval, which means they can be declined by the issuing bank, payment gateway, or payment processor. All these various stages make up the payment processing system. Decline codes simply help merchants keep track of what happened to halt the transaction and at which stage of the system this error occurred.

When the payment is declined, a relevant code will pop up for your information, usually along with an error message by way of explanation for the failed payment.

Understanding credit card declined error codes

There are two main categories of credit card decline codes in Australia.

  • Soft declines happen when the issuer has approved the payment. However, there is some technical issue with the transaction. In most cases, you can simply run the card again and the payment will be accepted.

  • Hard declines happen when the issuer doesn’t approve the payment. Trying the card again won’t work in this case; instead, the customer needs to contact their issuing bank directly.

The most common credit card declined error codes relate to issues like insufficient funds, expired dates, or incorrectly typed card numbers. However, as you’ll see from our list of credit card declined codes below, there are many technical issues that can apply as well.

List of credit card declined codes

The most common response code you’ll see as a merchant is 00, which means that the card has been approved. The card number is valid, there are sufficient funds in the account, and the card has not been reported as lost or stolen.

Now let’s move on to the most common credit card processing decline codes.

01 – Refer to issuer

A 01 code means that there’s a problem related to the issuing bank or account. It could indicate suspected fraud, insufficient funds, or expired card details.

03 – Invalid merchant

Rather than an issue with the account itself, this means there’s a problem from the merchant’s end. The issuing bank may not recognise the merchant bank’s details or configuration.

04 – Pickup card

A 04 code often the card has been reported as lost or stolen. In this instance, the cardholder needs to contact their bank to sort out the issue, as it’s a hard decline.

05 – Do not honour

This is another code that refers to a problem with the card issuer or cardholder’s account, whether it’s exceeding the daily limit or expired details. The transaction is unauthorised and should not be honoured by the merchant.

08 – Honour with ID

The transaction has been authorised, with a valid card number and sufficient funds in the account. However, the merchant needs to check identification to be sure that the customer’s details match those on the card.

12 – Invalid transaction

The transaction has been marked as invalid by the issuing bank. For example, the card details may have been used multiple times in quick succession, setting off a red flag.

14 – Invalid card number

The card details are incorrect. Check that they have been typed in correctly and try the card again.

54 – Expired card

The credit card has expired. Double check the card expiration details and try the card again.

61 – Withdrawal limit exceeded

The cardholder has already surpassed their daily limit or has maxed out their credit. Ask for another card to complete the transaction.

The bottom line

The list above includes the most common credit card declined reason codes, but it’s not fully comprehensive. If you see any credit card processing decline codes you don’t recognise, it’s best to contact your payment processor directly for details. This allows you to address the issue with your customers and find a way to move forward with the transaction.

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