Payment Tips

Decline Code 05

Why Does Decline Code 05 Occur? See why some Payments fail with Decline Code 05
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Taylor Stika
July 10, 2023


Decline Code 05

A decline code 05 is a formal way of a bank saying a credit card transaction was denied. As a merchant, you'll see this on your monthly statements, and it can occur for a number of common reasons. So let's dive into the details when it comes to decline code 05 and figure out why your online payments got declined. Overall, it's not very complicated and can even be reduced by implementing a few strategic changes.

Why Do Credit Card Decline Codes Happen?

When a credit card is declined, the merchant is given a two-digit credit card declined code so that they know why the customer's credit card account can't process the transaction. This allows the merchant to know if they should run the card again.

When a credit card is swiped and transaction details sent, the information goes through multiple entities. First, it goes to the payment processor, then to through the payment gateway, and finally to the customer's issuing bank. Any of these institutions can send back decline codes.

Two of the most common declined credit card codes are 05: Do Not Honor and 51: Insufficient Funds.

Why Does Decline Code 05 Occur?

Decline Code 05 is a card issuer's way of saying, “We're not going to honor this transaction.” But here's the thing, they don't explain the exact reason behind it. It's like a general response that can be triggered by various factors. So, let's explore some possible reasons, shall we?

Many of the major card brands have similar terminology when it comes to the glossary of codes, and this one is one of the most common. Nonetheless, let's look into why the swipe or tap got voted off.

Possible Reasons for Decline Code 05

Here are some common reasons why Decline Code 05 might show up:

  1. Playing It Safe: Those card issuers take security seriously. If they sense something unconventional about your transaction or if it sets off their alarms, they might decline it to keep their cardholders safe. It's like their way of saying it could be potential fraud, so it's not worth the risk of approving.
  2. Money Troubles: Ah, yes, the old insufficient funds situation. If a customer is trying to spend more than what's in their account, the card issuer will give the card the cold shoulder. This is because the cardholder's issuing bank is trying to prevent them from going into debt.
  3. Breaking the Spending Patterns: Sometimes, card issuers get suspicious when a transaction seems out of the ordinary. For example, suppose a customer suddenly decides to buy a yacht when they usually stick to buying socks. In that case, the credit card company might raise an eyebrow and decline the transaction until the customer confirms it's really them. Companies that sell high-ticket items like electronics, jewelry, or antiques and collectibles see this all the time.
  4. Inactive or Expired Credit Card: Hey, cards have expiration dates, and accounts can go inactive. If a card is expired or the customer's account hasn't been used in a long time, then it's likely the transaction won't go through. It's like trying to use an expired coupon – no luck.
  5. System Error: A general computer error sounds like a bit of a copout, but a bad internet connection or server issues can cause an issue. If the transaction gets tangled up in some tech troubles, you might end up with Decline Code 05.

List of Common Credit Card Declined Codes

The Decline 05 code (or Decline Code 51, Insufficient Funds) isn't the only issue a payment processor may face when processing credit card transactions. There is a list of standardized credit card declined codes that all networks use. There's a good chance that if a merchant sees a credit card decline code when processing a transaction, it's on this list.

  • 01: Refer to issuer
  • 02: Refer to issuer (special condition)
  • 03: Invalid merchant: This is indicative that you have an issue with your payment processor software.
  • 04: Pick up card (No fraud)
  • 05: Do not honor
  • 06: Other error message
  • 07: Pick up card (Fraud or special condition)
  • 10: Partial approval
  • 12: Invalid transaction: This error might be with your merchant processing account. Check information and dollar amounts to ensure they're correct.
  • 13: Invalid amount: This is another error that is specifically involving the merchant. It means the dollar amount is incorrect.
  • 14: Invalid card number: Again, this credit card declined code is on the merchant side. Check the credit card number and try again.
  • 15: No such issuer: Check the beginning of the credit card number and enter the correct information.
  • 19: Re-enter Transaction
  • 21: No action taken
  • 25: POS condition code invalid value
  • 28: File is temporarily unavailable
  • 41: Lost card, pick up (fraud)
  • 43: Stolen card, pick up (fraud account)
  • 51: Insufficient funds
  • 52: No checking account
  • 54: Expired card
  • 57: Transaction not permitted (card)
  • 58: Transaction not permitted (terminal)
  • 59: Suspected fraud
  • 61: Exceeds issuer withdrawal limit: An easy way to solve this is to request alternative payment.
  • 62: Invalid or restricted service code
  • 63: Security violation
  • 64: Transaction does not fulfill AML requirement
  • 65: Activity limit exceeded (insufficient funds)
  • 78: No such account exists, invalid account, etc.
  • 79: Already reversed
  • 85 OR 00: Issuer system unavailable or no reason to decline.
  • 86: Cannot verify PIN
  • 93: Transaction can't be completed (violation of law)
  • 96: System error
  • 97: Invalid CVV

What Should You Do If a Customer's Credit Card Shows a Decline Code?

First, make sure you talk directly to the customer about the issue and don't broadcast it to other customers. Second, look at the credit card decline code so you know if you should run the card through the credit card reader again. If it's a merchant error, double-check the information and correct it. If the credit card decline code is something on with the customer's issuing bank, such as the credit limit amount or an expired card, ask for a different payment method or have them contact their credit card company. If neither of these is an option, you can avoid working with the customer's bank or credit card completely by accepting a cash payment.

Improving Your Chances of a Successful Payment

Look, we can't guarantee that Credit Card Decline Code 05 will never show up again, but here are a few things you can do to up your chances of successful credit card transactions:

  1. Keep it Clear: When you're guiding your customers through the checkout process, make sure your instructions are crystal clear. Let them know how important it is to provide accurate card info to avoid any potential hiccups.
  2. Mix It Up: Give your customers more options when it comes to payments. Offer alternative methods like digital wallets or bank transfers. That way, if one method doesn't work, they have other ways to make their payment.
  3. Lock It Down: Invest in some top-notch fraud prevention tools and beef up your security measures. By doing so, you're not only protecting your business but also minimizing the risk of running into decline codes.
  4. Analyze and Adapt: Keep an eye on those decline patterns. Regularly monitor and analyze the data to identify any recurring issues. Once you spot the problem areas, you can make informed decisions and tweak your payment processes to smooth things out.

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Taylor Stika is the CEO and Founder of Zen Payments. With a background in the payment processing industry starting in 2015, Taylor has extensive experience in managing and optimizing payment systems. Under his leadership, Zen Payments has grown and developed into a reputable provider of high and low-risk payment.


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