How to Handle a Declined Card During a Transaction: A Guide for Business Owners

handling declined card transactions

It can be frustrating and uncomfortable to deal with a declined card during a transaction.

However, it's important to handle the situation calmly and professionally to avoid losing the sale and potentially damaging your relationship with the customer.

Here's what you can do:

Remain calm and courteous

Even if the customer is frustrated or embarrassed, it's important to remain calm and professional throughout the interaction. This will help to diffuse any tension and maintain a positive relationship with the customer.

Double-check the card information

Sometimes a declined card is simply the result of a typo or incorrect information entered into the system. Make sure to double-check the card number, expiration date, and security code to ensure that everything was entered correctly.

Offer alternative payment options

If the card is declined due to insufficient funds or a hold placed by the bank, you can offer the customer alternative payment options such as cash, another card, or a mobile payment app like Venmo or PayPal.

Consider a manual transaction

If the card machine continues to decline the card despite double-checking the information and attempting alternative payment options, you can consider processing the payment manually. This involves taking a paper imprint of the card and having the customer sign for the transaction, although this method should be used as a last resort.

Be prepared for future declined cards

It's important to have a plan in place for handling declined cards in the future. This could involve training staff on how to handle declined cards, having alternative payment options readily available, and regularly checking the card machine to ensure it's functioning properly.

By remaining calm and professional, offering alternative payment options, and being prepared for future declined cards, you can handle the situation with confidence and ensure a positive experience for both you and your customer.

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