Terminal Decline Codes


Credit card declined codes aren’t what you hope to see with your payment processor. 

When this happens, your customer might be unable to walk away with a product — and you won’t receive any money for a sale. Numerous credit card declined codes can occur, and while some are easily fixable, others require extra steps to resolve. Declined cards can also take place both in-store and via e-commerce.

What are credit card declined codes?
Credit card declined codes are signals from your payment processor indicating that a credit card transaction has failed. You can think of them as response codes sent back to you by your processors. You can receive declined credit card codes for several reasons: 

Declined code Explanation
97 Invalid CVV
96 System malfunction/system error
93 Violation, Cannot Complete
92  Unable to route the transaction
91 Issuer or Switch is Unavailable
85 Issuer System Unavailable
78 No Such Account Exists
65 The customer Has Exceeded Activity Limit
63 Card Is Restricted
62 Restricted SIC Code
61 The customer Has Exceeded the Withdrawal Limit
58 Transaction Not Permitted – Terminal
57 Service Not Allowed
54 Card Has Expired
51 There Are Insufficient Funds

Lost/Stolen Card, Pick Up

41 Hold Call, Pick Up Card (Fraud Account)
28 The file is Temporarily Unavailable
25 POS Condition Code Invalid Value
19 Re-Enter Information
15 No Such Issuer
14 The card Number Is Invalid
13 The card Amount Is Invalid
12 Invalid Transaction
10 Partial Approval
07 Hold-call or Pick up card (special condition)
05 Do Not Honor

Merchant Should Keep Card


Refer to issuer (special condition)


Refer to Issuer

01 Refer to issuer

This is when the cardholder’s issuing bank (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, etc.) blocks the transaction. 

What to do: First and foremost, always apologize. Even if it isn’t your fault, you can demonstrate empathy and compassion to customers. 

For an 01 error code, ask for a different card. If the customer doesn’t have one, have them call their credit card company to investigate and resolve the issue. There’s usually a toll-free number somewhere on the card. 

02 Refer to issuer (special condition)

This is similar to 01 Refer to issuer in that the cardholder’s issuing bank blocks the transaction. 

What to do: The same guidelines apply to 02 as they do for 01 — ask for a different payment method or have them call their card issuer. If the latter happens in a retail setting, direct them to a comfortable area of your store while they address the problem. Never say anything about their declined card loudly enough for other customers to hear. 

04 Hold-call or Pick up card

Again, this credit card declined code is when the issuing bank blocks the transaction, typically because of a suspected issue. Issues could include a lost/misplaced card, expiration, or fraud, among other red flags. 

What to do: Though uncomfortable, this code indicates that the merchant must seize the credit card. There’s typically a toll-free number somewhere on the card that you or an associate can call to get directions on the next steps. 

05 Do not honor

Credit card declined code 05 indicates that the issuing bank has once again blocked the transaction—telling you to literally “not honor” the card as a form of payment

What to do: Ensure you have updated customer information, as sometimes it’s a case of a mistaken billing address. If the incorrect billing information isn’t the culprit, ask for an alternative form of payment or have the customer call the toll-free number. 

06 Other error

This code pertains to an unidentified error with the issuing bank. 

What to do: Since there’s no specific reason for the error code, it’s best to try again and see if the issue resolves. If not, ask the customer for an alternative payment method. 

07 Hold-call or Pick up card (special condition)

Again, the cardholder’s issuing bank is stopping the transaction. However, this time it’s because of suspected fraud. 

What to do: Don’t accept any form of payment from this customer. You might also take the card and discreetly call the toll-free number somewhere out of sight and earshot of the customer in question and throughout the store. 

10 Partial approval

You’ll encounter this error code when the issuing bank accepts just a portion of the transaction. This usually occurs when the transaction amount exceeds the card’s credit limit or the amount of funds in the customer’s bank account doesn’t cover the rest of the sale. 

What to do: Notify the customer and have them present another mode of payment that can supplement or replace the declined card.

12 Invalid transaction

This time, the error might happen on the merchant side of things. A 12 credit card decline code indicates that the transaction is invalid. You might have entered information or dollar amounts incorrectly or even pressed the wrong button.

What to do: Check and/or reenter all the billing and purchase information you entered. If there are no issues, start from the beginning. 

13 Invalid amount

Here, the error is definitely on the merchant's end, and it’s because the dollar amount was invalid. It might be negative for a purchase or positive for a refund. Or you could have accidentally included a letter or symbol. 

What to do: Fix the dollar amount and try again. 

14 Invalid card number

Similar to error 13, 14 pins down where the problem lies. You likely mistyped the credit card number. 

What to do: Carefully re-enter the credit card number. 

15 No such issuer 

Credit card declined code 15 gets even more specific, alerting the merchant that the entered credit card number doesn’t start with an appropriate number: 

  • American Express: 3
  • Discover: 6
  • Mastercard: 5
  • Visa: 4

What to do: Check the first number entered in the credit card information and adjust as needed. 

19 Re-enter

Now we venture into unknown territory. Your payment processor is telling you it doesn’t know what happened and why it didn’t work. 

What to do: Attempt the transaction again. The merchant or customer may have to call the issuing bank if it still doesn't work. Give the customer the option in this scenario. 

25 POS condition code invalid value

25 is typically similar to 14 or 15 — essentially, there’s something wrong with the credit card and billing information. 

What to do: Carefully re-enter the information or retry the transaction. 

28 File is temporarily unavailable

In this scenario, there was a blip during the authorization process, which is the initial part of the transaction

What to do: These errors are typically temporary, so simply waiting and retrying the transaction should work. You’ll want to contact the issuing bank or your merchant account provider if it doesn't. 

41 Hold call, Pick up card (fraud account)

The issuing bank is blocking the transaction because the cardholder has reported it as lost or stolen. Therefore, it’s essentially “frozen” for use. 

What to do: This is a suspected fraud case, so you must call the toll-free number and report the incident to the issuing bank. Prudent merchants may choose to deny serving these shoppers. Or you can request an alternative form of payment — ideally cash. 

43 Lost/stolen card, Pick up (fraud account) 

Again, we have a suspected fraud case because the cardholder reported the card as missing or stolen. 

What to do: Just like with code 41, you’ll need to report the incident and probably opt for cash payment. 

51 Insufficient funds

Transaction errors occur when the cardholder has reached or exceeded their credit limit. In some cases, your purchase would put them over the edge — for example, if they’ve spent $4,995 with a $5,000 limit, they won’t be able to make a $5.01 purchase from your business. 

What to do: Similar to most other cases, you’ll want to apologize for the inconvenience before requesting an alternative form of payment. They can also call their credit card company to try and sort it out or increase their limit. 

54 Expired card

This credit card declined code indicates that the expiration date entered has already passed, meaning the card is expired and no longer valid for issuing payment. 

What to do: First, ensure you entered the expiration date correctly, and if so, you can request an alternative form of payment from the customer. 

57 Transaction not permitted – card

Code 57 means the credit card isn’t properly configured for the transaction you’re trying to process. 

What to do: Provide transaction details to your customer and have them call the bank to request permission for the transaction. 

58 Transaction not permitted – terminal

These errors are with your merchant processing account, indicating that it’s not configured to process this transaction. 

What to do: Reach out to your merchant account provider rep or support team for further assistance reconfiguring your account. 

61 Exceeds issuer withdrawal limit

Again, we have an issue where the cardholder may have overspent or withdrawn too many funds from their associated account. 

What to do: Request alternative payment or a customer call the issuing bank. 

62 Invalid service code, restricted

Some merchants choose not to accept American Express and/or Discover cards because of high fees and chargeback rates. If a customer attempts to pay with an unaccepted card, you might see this credit card declined code. 

Another cause for code 62 is if an online shopper attempts to pay with a card that isn’t compatible with online payments. 

What to do: In the first case, you’ll need to apologize and ask for a different form of payment. Some customers may be unhappy to hear your choice, so it’s important to come up with a prepared response to express your empathy and reasoning. In the latter case, you’ll want to implement an error message that asks customers to use a different card or call their bank, citing the error code.

63 Card is restricted or security violation

If your credit card reader has a hard time reading the three- or four-digit CVV or CID (card identification) code, you’ll see this declined code. The CVV and CID can be found either on the front or the back of the card (depending on Visa, AmEx, etc.) 

What to do: You can usually try the transaction again without including the code. If you do this, give your customer a heads-up because their bank may flag the transaction as fraudulent. 

65 Activity limit exceeded or insufficient funds

Here, your customer might have exceeded their credit limit or hit their maximum number of transactions for a specific period. 

What to do: Like in many other scenarios, ask for an alternative form of payment or recommend that they reach out to their credit card company. 

78 No account, no such account exists, invalid account, or nonexistent account

There could be several reasons why this credit card declined code shows up. It essentially boils down to the bank not recognizing the account — maybe it’s no longer active, for example. 

What to do: Ask for a different payment method. In this scenario, it’s probably better for the customer to call their credit card company after leaving your business. 

85 OR 00 Issuer system unavailable or no reason to decline

This credit card declined code is not as serious as it indicates a temporary communication error. 

What to do: Try the transaction again. If you repeatedly have trouble, reach out to your payment processor. 

91 Issuer or switch is unavailable

This is another communication error, this time concerning the authorization communication. 

What to do: Again, there’s no real reason this happens, so you can typically just try it again. 

92 Unable to route transaction

When you get this error, it means your payment terminal cannot interface with the card issuer. 

What to do:  This is another one of those unknown errors, so simply re-enter the card and see if it goes through. 

93 Violation, cannot complete

This indicates some sort of issue with your customer’s credit card account. The issuing bank blocks these transactions. 

What to do: Ask for a different payment method or recommend that they contact their bank. 

96 System malfunction/system error

When you see this error code, your technology may have failed you — usually only temporarily. 

What to do: Simply administer the transaction again after a few minutes. If it’s still a no-go, contact your payment processor directly. They may have you instruct the customer to call their bank as well. 

97 Invalid CVV

This credit card declined code is also descriptive. It means the CVV is wrong. The CVV is the Card Verification Value and is typically three digits and found on the back of the card, though American Express has four-digit CVV codes on the front of the card. This is an extra security and verification layer to help prevent fraud. 

What to do: Double-check that you’ve entered the CVV correctly. Some cards might have multiple three- and four-digit codes, making it hard to decipher which one to use. If you get an error message again, try one of the other codes.