Why Was My Client's Credit Card Declined?

When a charge is submitted to a bank or card issuer, automated systems determine whether or not the transaction will be authorized. These systems take various signals into account, including your Client's spending habits, account balance, fraud prevention efforts, and up to date card information. 

If your Client's card issuer declines a payment, Stripe shares with you as much information explaining the decline that they receive (e.g., invalid card number or insufficient funds), and that message sent from the card issuer displays in MassageBook. 

We understand that a declined card is never an ideal situation for you or your client. In fact, it can be quite awkward. But, if a charge is declined, it's because the card issuer is signaling that the card cannot be processed, not Stripe or MassageBook. Unfortunately, most declines are categorized 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 Client 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, not the merchant. 

The following is a list of the most common decline codes issued to Stripe:

card_not_supported The card does not support this type of purchase.
do_not_honor The card has been declined for an unknown reason.
do_not_try_again The card has been declined for an unknown reason.
duplicate_transaction A transaction with identical amount and credit card information was submitted very recently.
expired_card The card has expired.
fraudulent The payment has been declined as Stripe suspects it is fraudulent.
generic_decline The card has been declined for an unknown reason.
incorrect_number The card number is incorrect.
incorrect_cvc The CVC number is incorrect.
incorrect_pin The PIN entered is incorrect. This decline code only applies to payments made with a card reader.
incorrect_zip The ZIP/postal code is incorrect.
insufficient_funds The card has insufficient funds to complete the purchase.
invalid_account The card, or account the card is connected to, is invalid.
invalid_amount The payment amount is invalid, or exceeds the amount that is allowed.
invalid_cvc The CVC number is incorrect.
invalid_expiry_year The expiration year invalid.
invalid_number The card number is incorrect.
invalid_pin The PIN entered is incorrect. This decline code only applies to payments made with a card reader.
issuer_not_available The card issuer could not be reached, so the payment could not be authorized.
lost_card The payment has been declined because the card is reported lost.
new_account_information_available The card, or account the card is connected to, is invalid.
no_action_taken The card has been declined for an unknown reason.
not_permitted The payment is not permitted.
pickup_card The card cannot be used to make this payment (it is possible it has been reported lost or stolen).
processing_error An error occurred while processing the card.
reenter_transaction The payment could not be processed by the issuer for an unknown reason.
restricted_card The card cannot be used to make this payment (it is possible it has been reported lost or stolen).
stolen_card The payment has been declined because the card is reported stolen.
transaction_not_allowed The card has been declined for an unknown reason.
try_again_later The card has been declined for an unknown reason.
withdrawal_count_limit_exceeded The customer has exceeded the balance or credit limit available on their card.

Why would a Client's card not support this type of purchase? 

  • Some debit cards require a PIN to be entered. If the Client is trying to use one of those cards, they'll need to use another card to complete the purchase, or you'll need to attempt to process the card information manually, as restrictions may vary for swiped vs. manually entered cards.
  • Some card issuers prevent a card from being swiped if the card has a chip. Neither the Mobile Card Reader nor the USB Card Reader support chip card technology. 
  • Some cards have restrictions on cross-border usage. This could cause a problem if the card was issued in a state or country other than where your Business is located. Your Client should contact their card issuer to approve credit transactions attempted by your Business. 

What does "invalid swipe data" mean? 

  • This error signals that the card reader did not return all data (card number, expiration date, cardholder name, etc.) necessary for processing the transaction.
  • If you receive this message, ensure that your card reader is fully charged and attempt to swipe it again.
  • If the data still cannot be read due to a faulty magnetic strip on the card, enter the information manually.
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