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Creating User-Friendly Credit Card Errors on Your Website

In the complex world of online credit card processing, it’s crucial to simplify any potential problems for the end user. If their credit card is declined due to an address mismatch, give them a list of possible solutions. For example, maybe they have moved recently and the processor or bank still has the old address on file? Or maybe they don’t know where to find the 3 digit security code on the back of the card.

Typically, there are 4 reasons why a credit card may be declined:

1.   Address Mismatch (AVS): This occurs when the billing address provided does not match the address on file with the bank. If this error occurs, suggest that the customer try a previous address. In some cases, I’ve found the bank or credit card processor can be up to 6 months behind in updating their records.

2.   Card Code Mismatch: This error occurs when the user enter an incorrect 3 digit security code (4 digit with American Express), or does not enter one at all. If this occurs, politely explain where the card code can be found, and why it is necessary for online ordering.

3.   General Decline: In this case, the customer is likely over the limit on their credit line. However, DO NOT tell the customer it was declined due to lack of funds. Politely explain the bank has declined the transaction, so they should contact them directly for a resolution.

4.   Security Reasons: In certain cases, a transaction may appear suspicious to the credit card processor. Again, be careful how you convey this information to your customer. Display your 1-800 number if this occurs and suggest the customer call in to complete the order.

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Palmer Web Marketing is an eCommerce and SEO consulting firm based out of Orange County, California.  To learn more about us, please view our success stories or contact us.


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