Business Tips

Your List of Credit Card Declined Codes Explained

Read Time: 5 min

As a business owner, the last thing you want to see is a list of credit card declined codes when processing a transaction. If your business uses a card terminal for payment processing, it’s critical to understand the various codes that may appear on your payment terminal if a card is declined. Additionally, these codes can help you determine the reason a customer’s card is not processing. And considering over 90% of Americans own a credit card, it’s worth learning a thing or two about.

This all-in-one guide will help you understand credit card codes and how they impact your business. We’ve also collected a list of some of the standard credit card codes that will appear on your payment terminal. So, fear not, all of your questions regarding issuer meaning will be answered before you know it!

First Off, What Are Credit Card Codes?

At ground level, a credit card code appears on a business’s credit card terminal when a customer goes to pay with a card. If the card is declined because of fraud, insufficient funds, or any other errors, most payment terminals will provide you with a credit card code. This credit card code tells you (the merchant) why the card was declined.

issuer meaning

For example, if the card has reached its expiry date, a specific credit card code will display on your terminal. This code helps you and your customer determine the reason the card did not go through.

In the case that a card is reported stolen or lost, a credit card code will tell you to hold the card and return it to its issuer. This type of code helps you protect your business and card owners from fraudulent activity.

Credit card codes are a quick and easy way to immediately identify the reason behind any card payment problems in your business.

Does this apply to my terminal?

If you’re a business that accepts credit or debit cards, the answer is more than likely yes. In fact, payment terminals will follow the same credit card codes, which makes it easy to spot the reason a transaction is not processing. Still, the exact reason a card is declined will depend on the credit card issuer–the code simply provides a basic context for the error.

You may be wondering, what is the issuer meaning? The issuer is the bank, credit union, or any other financial organization issuing the credit card or debit card to its customers. In most cases, the card issuer will be determining if a card is eligible for transactions. Because the issuer is the most common point of contact for credit card issues, the issuer meaning is the definition assigned to each code.

Credit Card Decline Codes

While there are numerous credit card codes such as error and hold codes, it’s declined codes that most commonly indicate a transaction will not go through. There are numerous declined codes that refer to anything from an expired card to insufficient funds.

For example, if you see “65” appear on your payment terminal, the issuer is telling you the activity limit on the card has been exceeded. Make sure to let the customer know why their card did not go through. In addition, when the code indicates fraud, you must keep the card and contact the issuer.

Why recognizing credit card codes is important

Recognizing codes and understanding issuer meaning is extremely important because this allows you to protect your business and customers.

Additionally, if individuals are using your business to perform fraudulent transactions, it can associate your company with illegal activity and low standards. Just like card owners can request a chargeback on any fraudulent charges, a stolen credit card can create serious issues for your company. Let alone the potential for attacks on your online reputation.

Not only could this leave you out of money, but your provider might also discontinue your merchant account. It’s essential to think of some credit card codes as a form of chargeback protection for your business.

List of Common Credit Card Declined Codes

credit card decline codes

Now that you understand the importance of declined codes and how they impact your business, it’s time to explore the various codes you might encounter when a credit card is declined. We’ve divided the codes into three subcategories: error codes, decline codes, and hold codes. 

Error Codes

While annoying to see on your terminal, error codes don’t always mean the card is declined. In many cases, error codes indicate you have entered payment details, purchase amounts, or other inputs wrong. Check what the error code is displaying and try the payment again without making the same error.

00 – Issuer system unavailable
12 – Invalid transaction
13 – Invalid amount
14 – Invalid card number
15 – No such issuer
19 – Re-enter
28 – File is temporarily unavailable
58 – Transaction not permitted, terminal
62 – Invalid service code, restricted
63 – Security violation
85 – No reason to decline
91 – Issuer or switch inoperative
93 – Violation, cannot complete
96 – System error
CV – Card type verification error
R0 or R1 – Customer requested stop of specific recurring payment

Decline Codes

Unlike error codes, decline codes typically indicate that you can’t process a payment. This might be due to insufficient funds, blocked transactions, expired card details, or many other reasons. Typically, decline codes refer to an issue on the cardholder’s end rather than the merchant’s.

01 – Refer to issuer
02 – Refer to the issuer, special condition
04 – Pick up card (no fraud)
05 – Do not honor
51 – Insufficient funds
54 – Expired card
57 – Transaction not permitted
65 – Activity limit exceeded
93 – Violation, cannot complete

Hold Codes

Generally, hold codes depart from the other two decline code types quite drastically. They typically mean some type of fraud has occurred with the credit card. If your payment terminal reveals a hold code, it’s essential to keep the card and contact the issuer–don’t return the card to the person who is making the payment.

07 – Hold card, special condition (fraud account)
41 – Lost Card – Hold Card
43 – Stolen Card – Hold Card

Using a Complete List of Credit Card Declined Codes

As you can see, there are a large number of credit card decline codes, so it’s important for your staff members to understand what each code means. This is especially important considering many of the decline codes can indicate a card is being used fraudulently. Fortunately, these codes help to protect your business from chargebacks and other illegal activities that might impact your merchant account.

For this reason, it’s essential to keep a complete list of declined codes by your payment terminals. This will ensure your staff has immediate access to what each declined code means, which can reduce errors and relieve the burden of memorizing so many codes.

Feel free to check with your payment terminal provider to double-check that their codes correspond with our list. In some cases, you might need to source a credit card code list directly from your terminal supplier. Nevertheless, being aware of issuer meaning will help your business in the long run.