Handling failed payment attempts

Sometimes a customer's payment will fail, for one of a variety of possible reasons.  We call this a "failed payment attempt" -- the customer tried to pay, but their payment was not accepted.

Common payment failure reasons include:

  • Standard declines (insufficient available credit/balance to process the order)
  • Incorrect card information, such as a mistyped card number
  • Address verification failures, if configured, such as a mismatched zip code
  • Security code (CVV) failures, such as a mistyped CVV number

Customer Says They Were Double-Charged

For most gateways/processors, Paytronix Online Ordering first attempts an authorization on the customer's card.  (This is also called a hold.)  An authorization simply holds funds on the card until it's captured (settled) or voided (canceled).  Once the authorization succeeds, we then capture the authorization to finalize the transaction and process the order successfully.

When a payment fails, though, this can leave the authorization stuck on the customer's card.  Paytronix Online Ordering tries to send a Void, which attempts to cancel the authorization, but some banks still leave the authorization on the card for 5-7 business days.  In most cases, the customer has not actually been double-charged, but the authorization from the first failed attempt is stuck on their card and will fall off automatically.

AVS Example

  1. Attempt #1: Customer tries their card, but enters an invalid zip code
  2. Paytronix Online Ordering tries an authorization on the card, which succeeds, but the zip code doesn't match
  3. Paytronix Online Ordering sends a void for the authorization and tells the customer that their payment didn't work
  4. Attempt #2: Customer retries their card, this time with the correct zip code
  5. Paytronix Online Ordering tries a new authorization, which succeeds, and shows a zip code match
  6. Paytronix Online Ordering captures (settles) the authorization, and tells the customer that their payment worked and order is processed
In this case, the authorization for attempt #1 may still show on the customer's online banking until the void is processed, or the authorization expires.  This can take up to 5-7 business days.

Error: Unable to communicate with the payment system.

Very rarely, a temporary communication error occurs between Paytronix Online Ordering and the payment processor.  In these cases, we try to submit the authorization, but do not get a response from the processor's system.  We are unable to determine if the authorization succeeded or failed, which may result in an authorization left on the customer's card until it expires.  

The customer has not been fully charged, as the authorization will not be captured.  The authorization will eventually expire and the pending transaction will drop off their account.

To inquire about the status of an authorization with this error, you will need to log into your merchant processor's system or contact them directly for support.