Payment Online by Credit Card

June 12th, 2009
Rubric: Buying online:suggestions

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Payment Online by Credit Card (Part 3) – what to do if your payment is declined.

<<< Introduction

<<< Part 1

<<< Part 2


You have finally decided to make your purchase. You have already taken your credit card out of your wallet decisively, filled in all the necessary blanks on the payment page and…. at last the message “transaction in progress” appears and then…. suddenly another sentence appears, which is a bit of a shock because it’s unexpected: “We are sorry! Your payment was unsuccessful” or “Transaction declined” or “Payment has not been authorized by the bank”.

However, it doesn’t matter which sentence appears on the screen, the meaning is always the same: something has gone wrong with the payment for your item!!!!

But there are funds available on your credit card, more than enough to let you complete your purchase!!!! You have carefully followed all the given instructions step by step and now, what’s going on? Why has your payment been declined? What should you do? How can you resolve this “annoying” and “embarrassing” situation????

transaction-declined2

What problems could arise when you decide to pay with your credit card?

Why might the transaction not have been authorized  or the payment not accepted or refunded just some minutes later by the seller?

It often happens, both to you and to us (when, as buyers, we want to confirm our online purchase by paying via credit card) that we find our own credit card refused by the system and have no way of proceeding with the payment, even though we can’t understand the reason behind that refusal.

What are the main reasons why a credit card might be refused by the payment system? Let’s look together at the main causes which could result in a credit card not being accepted by the system (even though all these rules are not necessarily requested by the online shop that you are buying from):


  • There are insufficient funds to make the payment for the purchased goods by credit card. This is the simplest cause and, for this reason, it is often overlooked. If you are buying in an online shop with a different currency from yours, it is possible that, with the exchange rate, the sum payable is higher than the amount available on your credit card.
  • The monthly transaction limit of your credit card has been exceeded. Some credit cards (such as prepaid credit cards) have a monthly transaction limit and sometimes also a daily limit. Just check if you have exceeded this limit or not.
  • The expiry date of your credit card hasn’t been entered correctly. Sometimes we are concentrating so hard on typing in the card number and the code of our credit card correctly, that we forget to fill in some of the other fields, like the one for the expiry date of our credit card (these fields are not usually empty, there is often default data given by the system; you have just to correct it by typing the right date)
  • The name of the credit card holder doesn’t correspond to the name of the person who has registered with the online shop. Some shops, in fact, for security reasons, only allow credit card payment using your own credit card; in other words, the name on the credit card must correspond to the name of the person who registered with the e-shop and also to the name of the person that the goods will be shipped and delivered to.
  • The system might also require that the shipping address correspond to the address given when registering on the site; if they are different, when they are verified by the system, the payment could be suspended.
  • Some countries may be considered “high risk“; for this reason, in some online shops, if you are trying to pay for goods and the system sees you are connecting from one of these countries, it won’t allow you to conclude your transaction automatically and the manual intervention of the seller will be required.
  • If the credit card holder is resident in a given country but the IP of the computer used for the purchase indicates a different country, payment could be blocked.
  • In some cases, it’s directly the bank or the platform administering online payment within a given e-shop which suspends the payment in order to make further and more detailed checks on the credit card used for the transaction. In this case the payment won’t go through immediately and it could take several days for the check to be completed and for the payment to be accepted or, on the contrary, refused.
  • On some credit cards (such as the prepaid ones) the name of the holder is not printed. In this case, if a photocopy of the credit card is requested, not having a printed name on it, this type of credit card wouldn’t be accepted.
  • Each kind of system accepts many different credit cards, but not necessarily every card! So it may happen that payment is refused simply because the system operating in the e-shop where you are making your online purchase, just doesn’t accept the type of credit card you’ve used (as two of the most widely accepted credit cards, we suggest Visa and Mastercard). Quite often, the icons of the credit cards displayed in the e-shop don’t correspond to the credit cards really accepted by the system itself. So we have to pay attention to this factor too and make absolutely sure that the credit card is really accepted by the system of payment operating in the online shop, never mind if its icon is listed or not as one of the acceptable credit cards.
  • It could just be due to a simple error of the system (for example, some countries have different ways of writing the decimal numbers, using a comma rather than a decimal point). In this case we suggest you to contact the vendor directly and to explain in as much detail as possible: at which step of the payment process you encountered problems and the exact wording of the error message. In this way they’ll be more able to understand the problem and help you resolve it.


Just one last thing: your credit card could be genuine, have more than sufficient funds available to pay for your purchase, but for some unknown reason, your transaction might still not be authorized and the payment not accepted. Situations like this can happen for many different reasons, except one: it is absolutely not your fault!!!

These problems in concluding your payment by credit card could depend on the bank or on the system which offers this service to the e-shop. However, your credit card could also be refused by the seller who tries to protect himself from any possible fraudulent transaction, by not accepting any payment if anything unusual should show up in his verification process.

When the payment doesn’t happen on the secure server of the shop (which means when the vendor relies on a payment service), it’s sometimes very difficult to discover the reason why the payment has not been authorized.  The vendor in fact, doesn’t receive any detail concerning the transaction, but just a simple negative confirmation, given that the bank doesn’t provide him with any detail because of the law on privacy. Sometimes many weeks go by before we can discover the reason for these declined transactions, transactions that, in our opinion look genuine. In the meantime, angry customers contact us, defending the genuineness of their payment, but we, as vendors, have our hands tied.


It sometimes also happens that the bank authorizes the transaction but, the vendor, suspicious because of some inconsistencies  in this transaction, asks for more detailed clarification, in order to prevent awkward misunderstandings; clarifications that, however, according to the law on privacy, are completely denied. Unfortunately the vendor, unlike the buyer, is not protected at all by the law concerning online purchases and he can sometimes lose thousands of Euros because of fraudulent transactions that he then has to refund himself. When these negative events happen in a small company, the situation is not simple and losses are really significant, affecting the budget of the whole company. So, please don’t get angry if you are asked to make your payment in a different way, choosing another method of payment from those proposed, perhaps by paying for your goods through a wire transfer. This payment method, even if not so immediate, is however very secure both for the buyer and for the vendor.


What can we do to resolve the situation without losing any time?

1. First of all, please check if you have filled in every field on the payment page correctly and not missed any sections;

2.     Verify the availability of funds and the transaction limits of your credit card;

3.     Use Live Help, a very useful help desk that you can almost always find available on the payment page (especially if the shop uses the services offered by Extra-Banking Gateways). Clicking on the Live Help button, you will immediately connect with one of the operators of this system (probably not with the vendor himself) who will take you through every step of the payment process, providing you with all the necessary help.

4. Contact the seller, asking him to help you. We suggest that you explain the problem in as much detail as possible. The seller needs at least the minimum of information in order to understand what has happened and to solve the problem. So anticipate his questions, telling him who you are, where you are contacting him from, which item you are interested in buying, which kind of credit card you have used to make the payment, where you have had problems in concluding your payment; in other words, you should give him a the basic information so that he can check it all for you. You obviously should not give the seller your credit card data!!!!

Have you ever been surfing around an online shop and decided to buy something by credit card? The online shop says that you can pay using any kind of credit card. You confidently decide to confirm your purchase but then as you proceed with the payment, you realize that you have been sent to a page outside the website. Here, once you’ve filled in all the necessary fields, an automated message from the system appears asking you to register in the payment system you have been sent to (like for example PayPal) because only once you’ve done so, will you be allowed to pay using your credit card.

What can we do in these cases? How should we react to these situations? Should we register or not? And what should we do to register properly?


We will explain this and much more on this subject in our next articles?

Do you want to add a comment on this discussion or tell us your personal experience or, do you disagree with what we have written above? Don’t hesitate to write to us!!!!!



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One Response to “Payment Online by Credit Card”


  1. VIRTUAL MONEY (Part 1) | Fashion in the Bag - The Gleni Blog Says:

    [...] we said in our previous article, it can often happen that, when we try to pay by credit card online, the card is not accepted by [...]

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