Whether it be insufficient funds in the account, details entered incorrectly, or technical issues, most of us have seen a credit card decline code. Although nobody wants to see their credit card declined, credit card error codes offer useful clues to help merchants and customers make sense of what went wrong with the transaction.
Every shopper’s nightmare is having their card declined at checkout. It’s embarrassing and frustrating — especially if you don’t know why it happened. In reality, there are dozens of reasons why a transaction can be declined — and credit card decline codes that appear on the payment processor can give us the answers.
In this article, we’ll explain what these card decline codes mean so you can better understand what went wrong at checkout and resolve the issue.
What is a credit card decline code?
A credit card decline code is an industry-recognized two-digit code assigned to each declined credit card transaction. This code helps merchants and customers alike determine the reason behind the declined transaction, such as lack of funds or suspicious activity on the account.
You’ll generally see this two-digit code appear on the merchant’s payment processor or your screen if you’re online shopping.
List of credit card decline codes
Credit card decline codes can be confusing. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all credit card decline codes so you can quickly understand what each of them means.
|Code||What it means||Description|
|01||Refer to issuer||Your issuing bank (Visa, Discovery, Mastercard, American Express) declined the transaction without a specific reason.|
|02||Refer to issuer (special condition)||Similar to 01, 02 also means that your card’s issuing bank or institution prevented the transaction. This could often happen when you’ve been traveling or you made a larger-than-usual purchase.|
|04||Hold-call or pick up card||Your issuing institution blocked the transaction and tells the merchant to seize the card. This situation typically occurs when the card was reported as lost or stolen.|
|05||Do not honor||The financial institution blocked the transaction and is asking the merchant not to accept the credit card as a valid form of payment. In this case, you’d have to use an alternate payment method to complete the transaction.|
|06||Other error||There was an unidentified error with the issuing institution that caused the transaction not to go through.|
|07||Pick up the card, special condition (fraudulent)||The institution blocked the transaction because the credit card or the bank account has been flagged as fraudulent.|
|10||Partial approval||The financial institution only accepted part of the payment and declined the rest. Partial approvals typically happen when you’ve exceeded your credit limit.|
|12||Invalid transaction||Invalid transactions are usually due to issues on the merchant’s side. For example, the merchant may have attempted to refund a refund or entered non-numerical symbols instead of dollar amounts in the payment system.|
|13||Invalid amount||The amount entered for the transaction was invalid. For example, you can’t enter a negative amount or non-numerical symbols.|
|14||Invalid card number||The payment processor couldn’t find the related account because the credit card number is invalid.|
|15||No such issuer||This credit card decline code is similar to 14 but more specific. It means that the first digit (which identifies the card’s issuing bank) was entered incorrectly. Here’s the first number of the four major credit card networks in the United States:|
• American Express: 3
• Discover: 6
• Mastercard: 5
• Visa: 4
|19||Re-enter||An unknown error occurred, and you should restart the transaction.|
|28||File is temporarily unavailable||There was an issue during the authorization process of the transaction.|
|41||Lost card, pick up||The card issuer declined the transaction because the card’s original owner has reported the card as lost.|
|43||Stolen card, pick up (fraud account)||The card issuer declined the transaction because the card’s original owner has reported the card as stolen.|
|51||Insufficient funds||You’ve exceeded your credit limit or the pending transaction could put your card over the limit.|
|54||Expired card||The expiration date has already passed, which means the credit card is no longer valid.|
|57||Transaction not permitted – Card||The credit card isn’t properly configured for the transaction you’re attempting to make. This code can show up when you try to transfer funds to a foreign merchant account.|
|58||Transaction not permitted – Terminal||The merchant processing account is not properly configured to process the transaction.|
|62||Invalid service code, restricted||Some merchants don’t support certain card issuers like American Express or Discover cards due to high chargeback rates. If you attempt to purchase an item using an unaccepted card, you may see this decline code.|
|63||Security violation||The three- or four-digit CVV was entered incorrectly or wasn’t read properly by the credit card reader.|
|65||Activity limit exceeded||You’ve exceeded your credit card limit or hit the maximum number of transactions for a specific period of time.|
|85 or 00||Issuer system unavailable||There’s a temporary communication error between the merchant and the issuing bank.|
|91||The issuer or switch is unavailable||The payment processor was unable to complete the payment authorization due to a temporary communication error.|
|92||Unable to route transaction||The payment terminal failed to reach the issuing bank to process the transaction.|
|93||Violation, cannot complete||The issuing bank has declined the transaction because there has been a legal violation on your part.|
|96||System error||The payment processor is experiencing a temporary system malfunction.|
|R0 or R1||The customer requested a stop of specific recurring payment||These codes pop up when the merchant tries to process a recurring payment that you’ve already asked to cancel.|
|CV||Card type verification error||The card reader had problems verifying the credit card, typically because of issues with the microchip or magnet strip.|
|W1, W2, W9||Error connecting to bank||This error code generally occurs due to a power or service outage.|
What to do if your credit card is declined
If your credit card transaction was declined when you’re online shopping or at the mall, don’t worry. Here’s what you should do.
First, look for the decline code. This will offer more information about why the card was declined and give cues as to how you can fix the problem quickly. If necessary, contact your bank or credit card company directly. They can help you fix the issue, whether it’s because your account is overdrawn or there has been suspected fraudulent activity.
And if your credit card was declined due to an error with the merchant’s system, try switching payment methods or attempt the transaction later when things have been sorted out.
What are the red flags for credit cards?
Before choosing a credit card, watch out for these red flags that could cause you major headaches down the road:
- Sky-high interest rates. Interest rates that are unreasonably high compared to other cards in the market can become a major source of financial strain and cause you to struggle with debt repayments.
- Excessive fees. Credit cards that have high excessive fees could quickly become expensive. With this in mind, make sure to read the fine print and understand all charges involved.
- Limited credit reporting. Make sure your card issuer reports to at least one of the major credit bureaus so that responsible use can boost your credit score.
- Low credit limits. Low credit limits may affect your credit utilization ratio, which could put a damper on any positive progress you’ve made building your score.
Are credit card decline codes universal?
Yes, credit card declined codes are universal and will not differ between point of sale (POS) systems. This way, both store clerks and customers alike can easily determine what went wrong if a payment is declined.
What are credit card response codes?
“Credit card response codes” is another phrase for credit card decline codes.
Why does my card keep declining even though I have money on it?
Here are some reasons why your debit card was declined even though you have enough money in your account:
- You’ve exceeded your daily limit.
- You entered the incorrect PIN.
- Your card has expired.
- There have been suspicious activities on your account.
Though your credit card won’t be declined due to insufficient funds, here are some of the most common reasons why a payment might not be going through:
- You’ve reached your credit limit.
- The purchase was flagged as fraudulent.
- You’ve inputted the incorrect card number.
- You’re using an expired card.
- Your credit card was closed due to inactivity.
What is credit card redlining?
Credit card redlining is an illegal and discriminatory practice where financial institutions set credit limits on revolving accounts based in part on the racial composition of the borrower. Rather than assessing creditworthiness on an individual basis, unethical institutions use financial redlining to deny people of certain races and communities access to credit cards and other types of financial products.
- A credit card decline code is assigned to a declined credit card transaction and helps merchants and customers alike recognize and fix the issue.
- Declined credit card transactions can happen due to insufficient funds, technical errors with the payment processor, or entering the wrong card information.
- If your credit card transaction was declined, use the decline code to figure out what the issue was. If necessary, contact the issuing institution to resolve the problem.
Monitor your spending with the right credit card
Always pay attention to your current credit card balance so you won’t accidentally exceed your credit limit and get declined at checkout. Remember, credit utilization is a key factor that affects your credit score. Ideally, you’d want to keep it under 30%.
If you’re looking to apply for a new credit card to build your credit, take the time to compare and contrast a few options. There are plenty of excellent personal credit cards on the market that offer features like rewards points, cash back, no annual fee charges, and more.
View Article Sources
- Credit Card Redlining Revisited — Federal Reserve Board
- When a Company Declines Your Credit or Debit Card — Federal Trade Commission
- Why Is My Debit Card Declined When I Have Money? — SuperMoney
- My Debit Card Chip Is Not Working — What To Do? — SuperMoney
- How to Get an Apple Card Credit Limit Increase (2022 Update) — SuperMoney
- How to Get Money Off a Debit Card Without a PIN — SuperMoney
- Can You Track a Debit Card? — SuperMoney
- Where Is the Zip Code on a Debit Card? — SuperMoney
- I Got A Double Charge On A Debit Card – What Do I Do? — SuperMoney
- Do Credit Cards Have Pins? — SuperMoney
- Best Egg Credit Card — SuperMoney
- Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® — SuperMoney
- Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Card — SuperMoney