How to Minimize Card Declines from Incorrect Card Information

Many merchants can find themselves battling one of the biggest hurdles to maximizing their revenue and cash flow: card declines. In fact, according to a report from Ethoca, declines cost almost $146 billion in sales globally every single year. That’s a significant impact, as it translates to roughly 1.9 billion purchases in the eCommerce channel alone.

While declines can happen for many reasons, including insufficient funds, many cards can be declined simply because the information on file for recurring payments is not up-to-date. In fact, according to Payments Source, there are three main reasons that cards are declined: expired accounts aren’t updated, authorization timing is off and there are errors from billing logic. That first issue is a big one, as it is very difficult for merchants to keep up with rapidly changing accounts and cards simply on their own.

Card information can be inaccurate for several reasons, not just because the card is expired. It could also have been lost or stolen and, therefore, reissued. It could have been incorrectly entered, or the issuer might simply have had to send out a new card for other reasons, such as a larger fraud issue or a change in the account.

For merchants that utilize subscription billing, such as gyms or utility companies, if card information is not accurate at the time of billing, the card will be declined. It can interrupt the entire payment schedule, leaving merchants to struggle as they try to track down new information from their customers. These declines are usually hard declines that can’t be resolved simply by the merchant attempting the sale again; they require action from the issuer or cardholder.

Luckily, merchants can opt for products like Forte’s new Account Updater to help them manage their recurring payments. Instead of manually updating card information after each hard decline, Account Updater will check your tokens each month for any updates to the accounts on file. You get to select the date it runs, which we suggest is 4-5 before the day with your highest transaction volume. If anything has changed, Forte will automatically update the card information for you. This helps prevent any interruptions to your payment schedules and reduces declines while maximizing cash flow.

Account Updater is $25 each month and 25¢ per transaction. Keep in mind you’ll want to clean up any tokens you aren’t currently using before implementing Account Updater. For more information on how to do this, visit the FAQs at the bottom of our Account Updater page.

You need to be using tokenization with Forte and have a Vantiv merchant account based in the U.S. to start using Account Updater. If you aren’t sure you have these things, feel free to give us a call at 866.290.5400 to find out. We’d be happy to help.

For more tips on how to handle issues that impact payments and your business, visit our merchant blog section.

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