If your business takes credit cards, you are processing payments numerous times a day. It goes without saying that, sooner rather than later, a customer’s card will be declined. Because this can happen for a number of reasons, it makes sense to understand these codes in order to know how to proceed.

01: Refer to the Issuing Bank

The credit card issuer (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) stopped the transaction from going through for some reason. Ask your customer to use a different card, suggesting that they contact the issuer to get to the bottom of the problem.

02: Refer to Issuer (Special Condition)

Similar to code 01, this stems from the issuer. Therefore, recommend the use of another card for the moment, and direct your customer to contact their issuer to learn the reason for the code.

04: Pick Up Card (No Fraud)

You will get this code if the card is either expired or has been stolen. As the merchant in a retail environment, you are required to confiscate the card and return it to the issuer.

05: Do Not Honor

As the name implies, you should not accept this card. The customer must pay for their purchases using different means.

07: Pick Up Card, Special Condition (Fraud Account)

In this case, the issuing bank has found this account to be fraudulent. Don’t accept payments with this card, and strongly consider not selling anything to this customer in the future. At the very least, only accept cash.

12: Invalid Transaction

The transaction you are attempting to run is incorrect. For example, you might be processing a refund. Check carefully to be sure that your configurations on all payment batches are correct.

13: Invalid Amount

Usually resulting from a data entry error, this happens if you put an invalid number in the number field. Perhaps you input an incorrect symbol or a negative dollar amount, for example.

14: Invalid Card Number

This is another entry error that happens if you transpose numbers or otherwise fail to correctly type in the right string of digits when manually inputting a customer’s credit card number.

15: No Such Issuer

American Express (AMEX), Visa, Mastercard, and Discover have numbers that start with three, four, five, and six digits respectively. You get this error if you fail to enter the correct initial numbers that match the card type.

19: Re-Enter, An Unknown Error Occurred

In this case, all you can do is to try again. If you keep getting the same error, contact the issuer.

28: File is Temporarily Unavailable

This code comes up if there is a glitch during authorization. Your best bet is to enter the numbers again, contacting the issuer if the error continues.

41 and 43: Lost Card, Pick Up (Fraud Account)

In these cases, the card owner has reported the card as lost or stolen. Don’t run the card again, and don’t provide goods or services to the customer. If this is a recurring payment and you have not had problems with the card in the past, contact the customer to obtain alternate payment information.

51: Insufficient Funds or 65: Activity Limit Exceeded

Your customer’s issuing bank is denying the transaction because the customer either is already over their credit limit or this transaction will bring them to that point. Request another form of payment, or ask your customer to contact the issuer to have their limit raised.

54: Expired Card

Make sure you entered the date correctly. The customer should confirm their expiration date, obtaining a new card if necessary. In the meantime, ask for a different means of payment.

57: Transaction Not Permitted - Card

This occurs if the card is not configured for the specific type of transaction you are attempting. Request that your customer call the issuer to have the transaction approved. Once it is, try again.

58: Transaction Not Permitted - Terminal

This happens if your merchant processing account is not properly configured to accept the transaction. Ask your account provider if your POS can be re-configured accordingly.

62: Invalid Service Code – Restricted

This can happen if your system is not configured to accept AMEX or Discover, or if your customer is trying to pay online with a card that is not authorized for internet payments. In these cases, contact your merchant account provider or have your customer pay with a different method respectively.

63: Security Violation

This happens when the CVV or CID code on the back of the card was not read correctly. In most cases, running the transaction without including the code will work just fine. Just be sure to let your customer know that you have done so in case the transaction is flagged as fraudulent.

85 OR 00: Issuer System Unavailable

This is usually a temporary communication error. Wait a minute, and try running the transaction again. If the error continues, contact the issuer.

85: No Reason to Decline

This category covers errors that are otherwise unexplainable and usually resolve on their own. Try again, contacting the issuer if the problem continues.

91: Issuer or Switch is Unavailable

Again, there is no specific reason for the failure. Try again, and contact the issuer or your payment processor if the situation continues.

93: Violation, Cannot Complete

Because of some problem with the customer’s account, the transaction has been denied. Ask the customer to pay with a different card and to contact the issuer to get to the bottom of the problem.

96: System Error

A problem arose during the transaction, so wait a minute or two and try again. Call the issuer if the problem persists.

RO or R1: Customer Requested Stop of Specific Recurring Payment

The customer has asked their bank to stop the recurring payments that have been coming into your account. Follow up to make sure this was not a mistake.

Getting a handle on these denial codes benefits both you and your customers. Having these numbers on hand can help you to run your business more smoothly. Furthermore, you will be able to clearly explain what your customer needs to do to resolve any issues that arise.

Contact NAB today and see how easy it is to get the merchant services you deserve.

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