I think we’ve all experienced an attempt at purchasing online that didn’t go through. Sometimes we get an error that explains the issue, sometimes not. I thought it might be handy to run down the main reasons for failed transactions.
1. Let’s lead with the obvious. Insufficient funds in a bank account or not enough room on a credit card. Is it possible that an automatic payment has knocked your balance down? Could you have made an accounting error? Is there a hold on your account for something like a hotel room or rental car? Or worse, maybe your ID has been stolen and hackers have hit your bank account or used your credit card. It never hurts to check.
2. You didn’t select the right payment method. Some sites ask you to select a particular type of credit or debit card. If you don’t make the selection, it won’t properly process the rest of the information.
3. A typo in the credit card number. You may think you’re putting it in correctly, but double-check. That’s a long string of numbers to get right. Also, don’t forget there could be an extra space or an invisible character. Or a simple error like typing a letter o for the numeral 0. If you have auto-fill enabled, it might actually be putting in the wrong numbers for you. Maybe the digits for an old card. Try reading it backward to check the numbers. Sometimes our brain tricks our eyes into believing that what we expect to see is there.
4. Security code or CVV error. The security code is found on the back of most credit cards, but it’s located on the front of an American Express card. The printing is super-tiny, so it’s easy to confuse. Look at it carefully, under a magnifying glass if necessary.
5. Address mismatch. If the billing address of your credit card doesn’t match the billing address of your order, you may get an address order. For example, if you have your credit card bill sent to a P.O. box and the billing address for your order is your home, you might get a mismatch. Also, something as simple as putting a street in all caps or abbreviating apartment as apt. can sometimes cause a mismatch.
6. Check the expiration date. Did you enter it correctly? Has your card expired?
7. Is it a new card? Did you remember to activate it?
8. What your credit card company views as an unusual purchase. If you’re shopping at an unfamiliar site, buying something out of the ordinary, or making a large purchase, your credit card company or bank may block the purchase because it seems suspicious to them.
9. Technical issues with your banks or with the credit card processor. Everyone has computer or Internet problems now and again. That holds true for banks and companies that process credit card purchases for online retailers. Although, if that’s the case, the bank or shopping site probably has had multiple reports of the problem.
10. Over-clicking or tapping. If you’re one of those people who just keep clicking or tapping on something when it doesn’t process fast enough for you, you could be causing your own problem. Every time you click or tap, you’re telling the processor to process the transaction again. When the credit card processor or bank sees five processing attempts in 10 seconds, that might activate a security alert and shut down your account temporarily.