There are a few reasons why a debit card transaction can be declined on the Mastercard and/or Visa network.
Insufficient Funds on the Card
This is the most common error your users will encounter. For better security and lower fees, there are no overdrafts allowed on the debit cards issued through our platform. Because of this, there are few ways a transaction could be declined:
- Purchase Amount Exceeds Balance: in this scenario, the purchase amount exceeds the current available balance on the card. The transaction will be declined by the merchant. e.g. The user tries to buy a $100 item on Amazon, but only has a $90 balance on the card.
- Pre-Authorization: in this scenario, there is enough money on the card to cover the transaction, but the merchant puts a pre-authorization amount on the card, which causes it to be declined. If you have ever checked into a hotel, this will sound familiar. Many merchants in the hospitality industry, along with gas stations, will pre-authorize cards for anywhere between $50-$500. The user must have enough money on the card for the transaction AND the pre-authorization amount. e.g. The user checks-in to a hotel that costs $100 per night, and the hotel wants to pre-authorize $250 for incidental charges. The user only has a $300 balance on the card, $50 short of what is needed to stay for one night.
Insufficient Reserve Balance
Please make sure you have enough money in your Reserve Account at all times. If your reserve drops too low, there won't be enough money to sustain your users' ACH deposits and purchases.
One-Time, Daily, Weekly or Monthly Transaction Limit Breached
There are limits applied by the sponsor bank on every card issued. Please see our article here with up to date information, or check your Cardholder Agreement (if applicable).
Physical Card Error
A physical card can be declined for a few reasons:
- The physical card has not been activated by the user
- The physical card has been frozen by the user and/or the admin
- The physical card has been closed by the user and/or the admin
- There is a chip malfunction. If this occurs, ask the user to rub the chip with a dry cloth, to see if it fixes the error. If this doesn't work, please have the user order another card.
There will be rare circumstances when a merchant may decline a transaction. This is technically against the terms of service of Mastercard or Visa. The user may receive an error such as "card type not supported," or "card is not valid." If this happens, and you are sure it's none of the other errors listed above, please bring it to our attention. We will address it with the card networks.