What Do the Declined Transaction Result Codes Mean?

IN THIS ARTICLE:
Learn about various Result Codes/Error Messages that are returned when a credit card transaction is declined and what they mean.

Hard Declines

A hard decline is when the issuing bank does not approve the payment and are permanent authorization failures that should not be retried. These failures may be caused by:

  • Stolen Card
  • Invalid Card
  • Closed Account

When a hard decline occurs, the problem originates with the issuing bank or the processor.

The problem with hard declines is that retrying the card number doesn’t work, even if the decline happens on a renewal. With hard declines, the only guaranteed way to prevent losing the payment is to have the customer fix the problem. Which most likely means they’ll have to give you a new credit card.

Soft Declines

A soft decline occurs when the issuing bank approves the payment, but the transaction fails at some other point in the process. Some typical reasons for a soft decline are:

  • Insufficient Funds
  • Processor Declined
  • Card Activity Limit Exceeded
  • Expired Card
  • The Purchase is Unusual
  • The Billing Address and the IP Address Do Not Match
  • The Card is Being Used Abroad

The good news about soft declines is that the transaction failure is temporary. So, you can retry the card in one or two days after the decline occurs and hope for valid authorization.

Table of common Result Codes

Result Code  Result Message Response Type Description
100 Transaction was approved Info An authorized transaction is a debit or credit card purchase for which the merchant has received approval from the bank that issued the customer’s payment card.
200 Transaction was declined by processor Decline A processor decline indicates that the customer's bank has refused the transaction request. Sometimes you can tell why it was declined by reading the response code, but only the customer's bank can confirm the specific reason. The most common reasons for declines are: Incorrect credit card number or expiration date.
201 Do not honor Hard Decline The DO NOT HONOR or Invalid Service Code messages indicate that the customer card's issuing bank will not validate the transaction and provide an authorization code. Essentially, it mans that the credit card being used for the transaction has been completely rejected by the issuing bank.
202 Insufficient funds Soft Decline Insufficient funds is a situation when your account does not have enough money available to cover a payment. For example, you might write a check or sign up for automatic electronic payments to your electric company.
203 Over limit Soft Decline Over-limit. Being over-limit, or overlimit, refers to a cardholder account that has surpassed its credit limit with a transaction. When cardholders attempt to make purchases that will put them over their credit limit, the card issuer may decline the transactions or may charge consumers hefty over-limit fees.
204 Tranaction not allowed Hard Decline The message Transaction Not Allowed indicates a rejection on the side of the credit card provider for unspecified reasons. It doesn't necessarily mean that there is an issue with the card, but it does indicate that the bank will not approve this transaction. You will need to contact your bank for more information.
220 Incorrect payment information Hard Decline The information provided is either expired or invalid
221 No such card user Hard Decline The card number entered is incorrect
222 No card number on file with issuer Hard Decline Whichever issuers the client is using(visa,ms,disc,amex) does not have this number on file
223 Expired card Hard Decline The expiration date on the card has passed
224 Invalid expiration date Soft Decline The expiration date entered does not 
225 Invalid security code Soft Decline 3 digit code provided does not match the code of the card provided
226 Invalid PIN Soft Decline The PIN provided does not match the PIN associated with the card provided
240 Hard DeclineCall Issuer for further information Hard Decline the card issuer whether that is Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or AMEX should be contacted for further assistance
250 Pick up card Hard Decline This message means the card issuer is alerting you that a transaction is being attempted on a card the issuer would like back. In this case the card holder may have lost the card, it has been stolen or the issuing bank has closed the account.
251 Lost card Hard Decline A lost card should be reported and cancelled
252 Stolen card  Hard Decline A stolen card should be reported and cancelled 
253 Fraudulent card Info Credit card fraud is a wide-ranging term for theft and fraud committed using or involving a payment card, such as a credit card or debit card, as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction. The purpose may be to obtain goods without paying, or to obtain unauthorized funds from an account.
260 Declined with further instructions available (See response text) Decline A notice that the transaction has been declined along with a further instructions will be provided upon notice
261 Declined-Stop all recurring payments Soft Decline The transaction was declined. To process a transaction, you must stop all recurring payments.
262 Declined-Stop this recurring program Soft Decline The transaction was declined. To process a transaction, you must stop this recurring program.
263 Declined-Update cardholder data available Hard Decline The transaction was declined. To process a transaction, you must update cardholder data.
264 Declined-Retry in a few days Soft Decline The transaction was declined. To process a transaction, you must retry in a few days.
300 Transaction was rejected by gateway Hard Decline Gateway rejections are blocked by your gateway settings, while declined transactions are blocked by the customer's bank. ... A gateway rejection indicates that the transaction did not pass the duplicate transaction checking settings, AVS/CVV rules, or risk threshold rules in your Braintree Control Panel.
400 Transaction error returned by processor Hard Decline A processor decline indicates that the customer's bank has refused the transaction request. Sometimes you can tell why it was declined by reading the response code, but only the customer's bank can confirm the specific reason. The most common reasons for declines are: Incorrect credit card number or expiration date.
410 Invalid merchant configuration Info The merchant information that was inputted is incorrect in some type of capacity
411 Merchant account is inactive Info The merchant login ID or password is invalid or the account is inactive. If you are using Authorize.net as a gateway then usually this means the account set up is not finalized or the merchant account is not set up completely. Usually a call to authorize.net or signing in to your Authorize.net account will fix it.
420 Communication error Info Communication errors can result from poor line conditions such as static or noise, call waiting on the recipient line, lack of available memory on the remote machine, power interruption on either end of the transmission, a busy signal on the recipient line, or incompatibility between the two machines.
421 Communication error with issuer Info There was an issue contacting the issuer of the card and another attempt to contact this issuer is recommended
430 Duplicate transaction at processor Info a charge was ran twice and may need to be voided, refunded depending on the curcumstances.  Duplicate transaction times can be shortened if requested.
440 Processor format error Info The processor encountered a processor format error.
441 Invalid transaction information Hard Decline Invalid transaction. This code is often returned from the issuer when they do not accept the transaction. This can possibly be when a transaction for the same amount and merchant is attempted multiple times quickly for the same card. The card holder should contact their issuing bank.
460 Processor feature not available Info The feature requested is not currently available, but may be requested, and may have steps taken to make available
461 Unsupported card type Hard Decline An invalid card number means that the card is likely closed at the card issuing bank and is effectively an invalid card. If the cardholder says that the card is not closed, then the cardholder should contact the card issuing bank to resolve the issue.

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