Topic: Participants’ problems with credit card payment  (Read 46378 times)

Some of our participants have contacted us and complained that they are not able to pay with their credit card. What can we do to solve this problem?

(A German version of this article is available.)

When you have decided to receive payments via credit card (i.e. either PayPal, Stripe or via a national online credit card gateway) we strongly recommend doing a test payment with each supported card type first.

When your test payments were carried out successfully, i.e., they appear both in the ConfTool system and the e-commerce gateway of your payment service provider / PayPal / Stripe, your gateway account and ConfTool Pro have been set up correctly.

You have to configure PayPal / Stripe / Skrill (formerly Moneybookers) yourself in ConfTool Pro, whereas the configuration for other credit card gateways is done by us. Please note that an extra fee applies for this service.

Please bear in mind that it is "normal" that a certain percentage of participants have problems paying by credit card! Experience and feedback from our customers tell us that about 5-20% of the online credit card payments result in a "payment failed", "payment declined" or a "payment exception" error message.

There are several reasons for these problems and they are usually to be found on the side of the participant or the participant's bank, i.e., usually not the payment system declines the payment, but the bank of the participant!

The most common reasons are:
  • For security reasons the credit card is not authorized for online payments to foreign countries or in foreign currencies, or the limit for such payments is lower than for national payments. In that case the client has to contact his bank / credit card operator and ask for explicit approval of a payment to the required country.
  • Participants have forgotten their 3-D Secure / Verified by Visa password (often they even do not remember that they have one).
  • The participant is not in her home city or country when she attempts to pay online. The location of the payer can easily be detected by the issuing bank and usually they decline such payments, even if the 3-D Secure / Verified for Visa Code is correct.
  • The payment amount exceeds the limit of the credit card for online payments.
  • The card has already been used this month and the monthly limit of the card would be exceeded with this payment. (The monthly limit is often only 1000-2000 $ / € and if the month is nearly over this can easily happen).
  • The credit card is not authorized for online payments.
  • The servers of the participant's bank or an intermediary banking system are under maintenance.
  • The card has been blocked by the bank, maybe it was misused elsewhere. (Please be aware that millions of credit cards have been stolen during the last years from payment service providers).
  • PayPal only: The credit card might be registered with another account. In this case the corresponding PayPal account must be used to do a payment with that card. The typical message in this case is the rather confusing text: "The card you entered cannot be used for this payment. Please enter a different credit or debit card number."

Things you can do to help your participants:
  • Please check the log of the e-commerce gateway of your payment service provider to find more information about the reason why a payment was not authorized.
  • Ask the participant to contact his or her bank / credit card operator. In 90% of the cases the problem can be solved when the participant contacts his or her bank to make the necessary changes to be able to pay online or to pay to the country where the event takes place.
  • Ask the participant to try again and to tell you the exact error message he or she has received.
  • Please ask the participant to try with another card.

On the rare occasions that all participants have problems making their payments, it might be a technical problem with the online payment gateway interface. In this case, please contact the payment system service provider. If they cannot help, please contact us, too.