Error FAQ

Why credit card charges fail

There are a number of causes that can result in your customers’ credit card charges not being successful. Some of these causes start with your customer, or with their bank, or with your payment gateway/merchant account, or with your payment gateway settings in Chargify.

Here’s a brief summary of areas where a failure can occur:

Customer-Specific Problems

Your customer’s credit card may be expired or over its limit, or your customer may have given the wrong billing address or zip code, or there may be a fraud alert on their card for some reason.

Always try more than one credit card (like some of your own) so you can narrow down where the problem is really located.

If only one customer is having problems, then you know the problem lies with their card OR SOMETHING ABOUT THEM. For instance, if you are in the USA and they are in Australia, maybe their credit card bank is blocking because they think it’s strange/unusual, or maybe your payment gateway is blocking (see below).

Blocking by Payment Gateway

Your payment gateway, such as, has many settings that allow or block transactions in different circumstances.

For instance, your gateway account has settings that tell them how to react if there is a billing address mismatch with your customer’s credit card, or if the customer’s card-issuing bank does not support address verification, or if their card bank is outside the USA, or if the card bank is simply in a different country than the merchant (you), etc.

These settings inside your gateway account are meant to protect you from fraudulent charges. You will need to log into your payment gateway website and adjust these settings as you learn your customer profile and behavior.

You may need to “loosen” the settings to let more customers in, but keep in mind that the more you loosen these settings, the easier it will be for someone to do a fraudulent transaction. It’s a balance between making it easy for your customers, yet stopping fraudulent transactions.

Payment Gateway Misconfiguration in Chargify

Your payment gateway may be working fine itself, but the username & password that you configured in Chargify may be incorrect. See the links below for more detailed documents on this.

Blocking by Merchant Account

This is less common, but your merchant account may be denying the transaction or may not be set up to accept the transaction. For example, your merchant account may impose a total monthly charge limit if you are a new business or your merchant account is new. Or if you did not specifically request it, most merchant accounts are not set up to process American Express charges, even if your payment gateway is okay with AmEx.

See this Gateway Troubleshooting Guide for ideas you can test.

I attempted to charge a user a one-time charge, but received no error response from Chargify.

Unfortunately, there isn’t currently any log when it comes to one-time charges as they aren’t logged in the same way that other charges and payments are logged. For this, you will have to wait until the subscription is processed for the period and when/if it fails, you can then examine the gateway logs (specifically the gateway output).

What can I do when a customer’s card is declined?

When a customer’s card is “declined” but you feel it shouldn’t be (they are not over their spending limit, the information they entered is correct, etc) the best course of action to take is to have the customer call the card issuing bank (their number should be on the back of the credit card) and inform them that their card is being declined for a transaction they would like to approve.

The card representative should have a list of declined transactions listed by charge amount and merchant name. This will be your own name (not “Chargify”), and is the identifying name you provided to your merchant processor. This is the name that would show up on the customer’s credit card statement after a charge from your organization.

The representative should then be able to allow charges from your organization for that customer, at which point the customer can attempt to purchase again.

My signups are failing because X

Good news, you should be able to figure out why your signups are not able to complete successfully. To do this, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Log into your account, and select the site for which the issue is occurring.
  2. On your dashboard, you will see the activity log. In the activity log - there will be an entry for “Signup failed”.

What types of Visa transactions will Chargify automatically retry?

Visa introduced new Global Scheme Rules in 2015 to regulate the number of authorization requests permitted for certain types of transactions. These new rules also prohibit re-submitting a declined transaction if particular Decline responses are received.

Chargify will attempt to retry your customer’s credit card every 24 hours for a set number of days (based on your dunning settings) if we receive a response from your payment gateway indicating that the transaction has failed. If the card cannot be successfully charged, the subscription status will change to Canceled or Unpaid, depending on your settings. At this point, Chargify will stop attempting to collect payment on your behalf.

These new rules have left our merchants with a number of questions regarding how this will affect Dunning.

  • How many times am I allowed to retry within a certain number of days?
  • What types of response codes allow me to retry the card?
  • What response codes do not allow me to retry the card?

Visa states that a Preauthorization Transaction that receives one of the following Decline Responses may be resubmitted for Authorization, in an attempt to receive approval, up to 4 times within 16 calendar days from the date of the original Decline Response:

  • Response Code - Authorisation Declined
  • Response Code - Insufficient Funds
  • Response Code - Exceeds approval amount limit
  • Response Code - Exceeds withdrawal frequency limit

Chargify does not currently support ‘Preauthorized Transactions’, so this section would not apply to us or our merchants.

However, Chargify must adhere to the rules governing ‘Resubmitting Transactions’:

According to Visa, a transaction must not be resubmitted for Authorization if the transaction receives a Pickup Response or, one of the following Decline Responses:

  • Response Code - Expired card
  • Response Code - Invalid account number (no such number)
  • Response Code - Transaction not permitted

If your merchant bank contacts you regarding these rules, you can be confident you adhere to the Visa rules

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact