Why is a payment refused?

Why is my payment refused?

A refused payment happens when the transaction violates a specific rule set by a party of the transaction. As the payment is declined, it will not reach the authorisation stage and the cardholder will not have to pay the goods’ amount.

Specific messages are shared between the issuer and the acquirer to provide more information on the decline reason. Most of the time, the cardholder will receive information through the payment interface on how to proceed with the transaction. The cardholder might

  • Retry the payment
  • Do some specific action (top-up his bank account, unlock his card)
  • Use another payment instrument or payment method


Who can refuse this payment?

The acquirers and issuers are usually the two entities who are able to decline a transaction. However, thanks to Adyen Relayed Transaction Rules, we allow our card partners to manage their own transaction rules and do live monitoring.


The issuers can also delegate their rules to the scheme (i.e. Mastercard, Visa). Although Adyen is not using these services. 

What can be the reason for this refusal?

There are dozens of reasons why a payment could be declined. Here are the most common decline codes:

  • Lack of funds: the cardholder is missing funds and should top-up it's account
  • Transaction rules: shop type (MCC), amount limit
  • Card Partner transaction rules: payment time range, transaction type
  • Feature not supported by Adyen issuing
  • Risk engine: the transaction has been detected as "fraudulent".
  • Payment Instrument information: card status, card loss / stolen

For more information on refusal reasons please refers to the scheme documentation:

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