Transaction Post-Authorization Guidelines

Web-based merchants should consider sending a confirmation email before completing an order in an eCommerce transaction that received an approval by the card issuer. If the transaction was declined, however, merchants must have procedures in place for handling such situations with the customer. Merchants must also look for ways to avoid declines of this type in the future, where possible. The following best practices should be incorporated into your post-authorization procedures:

For approved transactions merchants should issue an email order confirmation. This will enable you to verify the validity of the cardholder’s email address. If the email address turns out to be invalid, you should research the situation and determine whether or not the order is legitimate. To reduce customer disputes you should include in the email order confirmation details about the approved purchase.
For declined transactions merchants should review the situation and take appropriate actions. You should obtain corrected information or an alternative payment that may allow you to complete the sale. Consider implementing the following procedures:
Sort out transaction authorization declines for review and contact customers to correct problems with their cards (e. g. wrong expiration date or card security code) or ask them for an alternative payment method.
If the card information is corrected, make sure to obtain authorization approval from the card issuer before completing the sale.
Regularly evaluate the success of your authorization decline review strategy and modify it, as needed.

Monitor your transaction decline rates. This will help you increase your approval rates and sales volumes, as well as enable you to uncover potential problems related to changes in the authorization process.

Track your order declines by reason on a daily basis.
Separate transactions declined by the card issuer from those declined by you for suspected fraud or other reasons.