Credit Card Processing Issues and How to Fix Them: 2023 Edition
If you’ve ever had a credit card declined, then you know how exasperating it can be. Credit cards may be your primary payment option, whether you’re a merchant or a customer. Credit card processing issues can be a catastrophe for your business if you’re a merchant. And while credit card machine troubleshooting can help, it may only be a temporary bandage if these issues worsen.
Payment gateway issues happen to everyone, and even a problem processing payment can be expected from time to time. But for some merchant accounts, credit card processing issues can be chronic and even result in loss of customers and revenue.
According to Chargebee, of all declined transactions in 2021, around 14% of consumers abandon the purchase, while a further 10% take their business to a different merchant—that’s nearly 25% of all failed transactions you could be missing out on. When you factor in that 52% of these declined transactions are due to suspicion and turn out to be genuine orders, you’re missing out on an incredible revenue supply needlessly for a rectifiable problem processing payment.
When it comes to credit card machine troubleshooting, Zenti can help. As a leading merchant services provider for high-risk credit card processing, Zenti works with you to provide solutions for any problem processing payments in your business. Whether the problem involves VISA, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express, Zenti can help you mitigate payment gateway issues, no matter the cause.
Table of Contents
- What is a Credit Card Processing Issue?
- Reasons for Credit Card Processing Issues
- Three Problems That Cause Credit Card Processing Issues
- Three Types of Credit Card Processing
- Credit Card Chargebacks vs. Credit Card Disputes
- Credit Card Transaction Messages
- Types of Credit Card Declines
- How Declined Transactions Affect Your Business
- Fixing Credit Card Processing Issues
What is a Credit Card Processing Issue?
A credit card processing issue happens when the payment card is declined at the point of sale (POS). For merchants, this can cause the loss of a deal and customer dissatisfaction, even though this type of payment gateway issue is rarely a merchant’s fault. Whether it affects you or your customers, these credit card processing issues can wreak havoc on your business.
Reasons for Credit Card Processing Issues
Credit card processing problems happen for several reasons. Typically, the most common reasons for a problem processing payment include:
- Technical problems
- The account has been terminated or suspended.
- The merchant account is new.
- Overseas travel
- Card has expired
- Fraudulent activity has been detected on the account.
- Insufficient funds in the account
- Monthly credit or volume limit exceeded
- The card has been reported as stolen or lost.
- The account has been flagged because of unusual spending behavior.
- Inaccurate card number or payment information
- There’s a hold on the card.
Three Problems That Cause Credit Card Processing Issues
Credit card processing issues are primarily caused by three problems: insufficient funds, technical issues such as outages, or suspected credit card fraud. For example, suppose you’re traveling overseas using your debit or credit card. In that case, changes made in a different country can raise a red flag and cause payment gateway issues with your credit card processing company. Likewise, if you’ve made a substantial purchase or bought a lot of things recently, your card issuer may suspect that your card was stolen and might put a hold on your account until they can contact you. Also, if your consumer or merchant account is new, the settings may need to be readjusted before the payment processor recognizes the version.
If the problem of processing payment is due to these issues, the card issuer can perform a quick credit card machine troubleshooting check that should fix everything in just a few minutes.
Insufficient funds can be caused by a variety of things over which you have no control. For example, certain businesses, such as hotels and rental car companies, routinely put holds on credit card accounts to mitigate risk. These hold drop-off in a day or two, but while they’re still on your card, they’re liable to take up much of your available credit. This can cause payment gateway issues if the hold exceeds your credit limit.
A problem in processing payments may also be due to criminal activity by fraudsters. When it comes to suspected fraud, if the issuer detects any potentially fraudulent activity on the account, they’ll reject the transaction automatically. If the threat looks severe enough, your bank might even launch protective measures to ensure that your account is protected.
As an expert in payment gateway issues and services for high-risk merchant accounts, Zenti goes beyond credit card machine troubleshooting to pinpoint the exact problem with your account, then provides you with streamlined, affordable solutions that can boost your business and revenue.
Three Types of Credit Card Processing
As a merchant, there are three common ways to accept credit cards from your customers:
Standard POS Systems
A traditional POS system enables you to accept multiple payment forms, including credit and debit cards. This is the type of system generally used in brick-and-mortar stores.
Mobile POS Systems
As the name implies, mobile POS systems are installed on tablets, smartphones, and other portable devices. Mobile POS systems are just as fully connected as standard POS systems, so your payment processor will be able to help you with any credit card machine troubleshooting questions you might have.
Online Payment Processors
Online payment processors such as PayPal, Venmo, and Stripe enable businesses to send invoices and receive payments online. One drawback of this system is that it involves a third party in the transaction, which means that the funds can sometimes be delayed, especially if there are lots of trades. Another problem is that an online payment processor may hold the credit card account to cover the risk of chargebacks or fraudulent activity. Despite these issues, online payment processors provide a convenient, user-friendly option for many e-commerce merchants, from owners of significant retailers to casual merchandise sellers on social media sites.
As a leading provider of high-risk merchant account processing services, Zenti can help you choose the best payment processing service for your industry, whether you decide on a standard or a mobile POS system. In addition, Zenti can help ensure that your transactions follow all safety protocols so that you won’t experience any problem processing payments due to security issues. Plus, Zenti’s credit card machine troubleshooting services can help you identify any potential credit card processing issues, plus other problems such as high chargeback rates, and provide solutions so you can fix them.
And speaking of chargebacks…
Credit Card Chargebacks vs. Credit Card Disputes
When it comes to a problem processing payment, it’s essential to clarify the difference between credit card chargebacks and credit card disputes:
- Credit card dispute: A credit card dispute occurs when a cardholder contacts the card issuer or bank and demands a refund, claiming that the charge isn’t legitimate.
- Credit card chargeback: A chargeback is a resulting refund from the card issuer in response to the customer’s dispute. In a chargeback, the card issuer examines the charge, determines it isn’t legitimate and sends the customer a refund.
Unfortunately, fraudsters can demand chargebacks for a variety of dishonest reasons. Likewise, some industries may be labeled “high-risk” by payment processors because they tend to have a higher-than-average number of chargebacks. If your business has a high chargeback rate, Zenti can help you implement prevention protocols so you won’t lose valuable sales.
Credit Card Transaction Messages
For merchants, card decline messages tend to be vague to protect the customer’s privacy and security. That said, here are some common transaction messages that a customer might see:
- Payment processing: If payment continues to show “processing” in an online sale, your customer might contact you to find out why it hasn’t been posted yet. Your best response is to explain that it can take several business days for a credit card company to clear a transaction with the bank and process the payment. Since each credit card issuer operates on a different timeline, these times for processing and posting payments can vary.
- Do not honor: Fraud or unusual purchasing activity on the card is suspected.
- Insufficient funds: There aren’t enough funds in the customer’s account to cover the purchase.
- Invalid card number: The card number is invalid.
- Invalid address: The billing address doesn’t match the customer’s address, according to the card issuer’s records.
Types of Credit Card Declines
These are the two common types of credit card declines:
This is a temporary decline often caused by a technical glitch or temporarily insufficient funds in a customer’s account. It might go through if you retry the transaction once or twice more. Even if it doesn’t, a quick phone call will often fix things right away.
This occurs when the bank or card issuer refuses to authorize the transaction because of suspected fraud, a lost or stolen card report, an expired card, or incorrect account information. For a hard decline, the customer must immediately contact their card issuer or bank.
How Declined Transactions Affect Your Business
As a merchant, one of the most frustrating things you can see on your credit card machine is the phrase “transaction declined.” This indicates a payment gateway issue with accepting the customer’s payment. It’s frustrating for the customer as well. And if the credit card processing issue isn’t resolved, you can lose a valuable sale and a valuable customer.
Fixing Credit Card Processing Issues
As a merchant, can you fix credit card processing issues, or do you need to call a credit card machine troubleshooting expert?
If you have a problem processing payment, the good news is, yes, if it involves minor credit card processing issues, you and your customer may be able to work it out with a quick phone call, or you may be able to call the processor’s credit card machine troubleshooting hotline. However, for a more severe or chronic problem processing payment, you may have to get some help. Here’s a rundown of what you can do:
If the payment processor has put a soft decline on the card, you can feel safe asking the customer to try and put the card through again. These payment gateway issues are often due to technical glitches and system outages.
If the payment processor has put a hard decline on the card, this may indicate suspected fraud. In this case, you shouldn’t try to put the card through a second time. Instead, you’ll need to tell the customer that they should contact their credit card issuer immediately. “Suspected fraud” covers many situations that may be as innocent as a billing address that doesn’t match the one on file or a card number entered incorrectly.
Payment Gateway Issues due to Outages
Call the payment processor’s credit card machine troubleshooting hotline in case of outages. Also, you can visit the website Down Detector to check for any reported outages. You or your customer can make a report in seconds with just a mouse click.
If a phone call doesn’t fix things and the payment is still declined, you may still be able to put the sale through by suggesting that the customer pay by another method, such as an alternative credit card or cash. Also, if your business offers a store credit card, consider asking the customer if they might be interested in opening a new account.
If you have a problem processing payments, Zenti can help. As one of the nation’s primary merchant account service providers, Zenti can help your high-risk merchant account get approved for the payment processing services your business needs. In addition, Zenti can offer valuable credit card machine troubleshooting assistance and support to help you handle any credit card processing issues.
Zenti’s high-risk merchant services include a full roster of solutions for payment processing, including services that enable your business to take credit cards and debit cards, as well as a mobile app and e-check payments, all at processing rates that your business can afford.
If you’re tired of having payment gateway issues, contact Zenti and find out how our full roster of high-risk merchant payment services can boost your revenues and take your business to the next level.