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Credit Cards not Being Authorized Online

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When a patron calls and says that their credit card was not accepted on line, you will need to:

Theatre Manager only tells the patron that the card did not work - it does not tell them why their credit card was declined. Their card could have been declined for a number of reasons. The bank does pass back the messages, such as:

  • Do not honor - a general message that tells you the bank wont authorize the card
  • Decline - another general message that the card is not accepted
  • Hold Card - may mean that the card was stolen and the merchant is being asked to keep it
  • Insufficient Funds - mean what it says
  • Address Verification (AVS) Error - means that zip/postal code verification was incorrect. You may have overly strict AVS settings on your merchant account - so refer to your merchant account online setup or call your merchant provider directly
  • Card Verification Value (CVV) Error - means that the CVV2 number was either not entered at all or not correct - TM is not allowed display what was entered for PCI reasons.
  • etc.
On the off-hand possibility that the card was being used by an unauthorized person, PCI recommendations for online sales are to simply state the card cant be used and not give away any further information to the bad guys.


How to help the Patron?

If a patron calls in and tells you their card was declined, you need to look at their shopping cart, on the web logs page. The picture below shows the typical messages you would see if a card was successfully authorized. There are 6 main messages in process.

Anybody who is declined will not see the full 6 steps. -- it wlll probably stop on step 3 or 4 and have an error that you should read indicating why the card was declined.

Instead, some time after step 1, there will be a message indicating WHY the card was declined. In such as case, you can help the patron check out their shopping cart manually (see Checkout button).


If there are many declines in a day

If you received a rash of reports that cards are being declined, you can search for them en masse in the web listener logs to see if there is a trend.