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The card organisations Visa and Mastercard have reviewed their response code logic for declined transactions. Issuers today are quite extensively using a generic response code that does not provide any useful feedback to the merchants on why the payment transaction was declined. There is also no harmonised approach amongst issuers on which response codes to use, and this adds more confusion on how to react. Now Visa and Mastercard introduced detailed reason codes and new categories. The aim is to reduce unsuccessful reattempts after a declined transaction and to decrease fraud rates. These response codes and categories will define a specific action that merchants need to follow. In addition, Visa and Mastercard charge fees for each forbidden reattempt to ensure that merchants comply with the new response code logic. We compiled all relevant information about the new requirements, payment protocols and fees for you below. Please read it carefully.
Worldline has implemented the new necessary fields and response codes in the different payment protocols used by partners and Payment Service Providers. This will help you and your customers to understand the actions expected from Visa and Mastercard and to apply them when needed.
Visa and Mastercard defined different approaches to provide a clear guidance to merchants on what is expected to do after a declined authorisation. The actions can be summarised as follows:
What is expected from issuers Issuers are asked to use the generic 05 code (Do not honor) only up to a maximum of 5% of their transaction volume; fines are expected otherwise. What is expected from merchants Merchants are required to follow the action indicated by the given decline reason and either do not retry or limit the retries to the maximum allowed. If the advice is ignored or not followed, new costs on authorisation reattempts will be charged.
Mastercard introduced an additional information field that, in combination with the response code, provides guidance on how to react accordingly. This field is called Merchant Advice Code (MAC).
Response Code + MAC = Recommended Action The MAC codes that indicate to retry the authorisation or not are:
Visa grouped the existing response codes into 4 different categories. Each category defines a specific action that the merchants need to follow.
Any attempt to authorise a transaction that has previously received a Category 1 decline will incur a fee. An issuer approval after an initial Category 1 decline response will be subject to non-compliance enforcement actions.
The issuer cannot approve with the details provided, such as incorrect CVV2 or incorrect expiration date. Visa is increasingly seeing fraudsters performing enumeration attacks in an attempt to determine valid card, expiration and CVV2 data. This leads to increased costs and generates issuer complaints.
Covers temporary decline decisions made by issuers that may change over time. It occurs when the issuer is prepared to approve a transaction but is unable to do so at the time and would welcome a further authorisation attempt in the future.
While the great majority of declines fall into the above categories, some specialist codes may be used on an ad-hoc basis. However, their usage should remain minimal. This category includes all other decline codes, many of which are of a technical nature or provide little to no value to acquirers.
Here you find an overview of all relevant reason code changes and their implications on the payment protocols. Please find our recommendation below for each protocol as a best practice guidance.
Make sure you have the latest version of the payment protocol specifications. If not, please contact your Worldline representative to send you the latest version.
*When retry is allowed, it is recommended to limit the maximum attempts to 10 on both schemes.
Do you have further questions regarding the requirements, fees, payment protocols or specifications? Then please contact your Worldline representative or your partner manager by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org