Bank Response Codes

Bank response codes also known as Credit card authorization codes, are two-digit numeric codes that show whether a transaction was accepted or refused. The response code gives some basic details regarding the reason for the transaction’s rejection if it happens.

4 Common types of banks responses:

  1. Transaction approved: Your customer’s transaction was processed successfully.
  2. Insufficient funds: The customer’s bank noted that there was not enough money available on the card.
  3. Card expired: The card used is expired. Has the card been replaced?
  4. Refer to issuer: This can mean many different things, ultimately you will need to tell your customer to contact their card issuing bank. Do they have another card they can use?

Please find below a more complete list of the Response Codes you may receive from your merchant bank, plus a description of what those responses mean.

Bank Response codes – Merchants Must Read

While you don’t have to memorize what every number means, it’s good to be familiar with some of the response codes that require specific actions on the merchant’s part. Here’s the one merchants are always hoping to see:

  • 0 – Approved

Some codes indicate problems that may be fixable right away, and if you can clear them up with the customer, it should be safe to retry the transaction. For example:

  • 1 – Refer to Card Issuer

This one is telling you to call the issuer to receive guidance.

  • 13 – Invalid Amount

This code may indicate that you keyed on the wrong transaction amount. You can double-check the amount and try again.

  • 55 – Incorrect PIN

The customer has entered the wrong PIN, which is easy enough to do by mistake. It’s fine to let them try again, but if they keep getting it wrong, you might get response code 38 or 75, both of which indicate that the allowable PIN attempts have been exceeded. Of course, even if you don’t receive one of those codes, it’s probably not a good idea to let someone keep trying to guess at a PIN indefinitely.

  • 80 – Invalid Date
  • 82 – Incorrect CVV

These codes may also indicate that you keyed in some data incorrectly. Review your information, and if you see that you made an error, you can try again.

  • CR – Chip Card Removed

This just means that the customer removed their EMV card prematurely. Tell them to try again and this time leave the card inserted until the terminal instructs them to remove it.

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Other issues are not likely to be cleared up right away. When you get one of these response codes, you’re going to have to ask the customer to provide a different payment method:

  • 5 – Do Not Honor
  • 14 – Invalid Card Number
  • 51 – Insufficient Funds
  • 54 – Expired Card
  • 57 – Transaction Not Permitted to Cardholder
  • 65 – Exceeds Withdrawal Frequency Limit

Some reason codes indicate a high likelihood of fraud, and instruct you to hold on to the card and contact the bank:

  • 4 – Pick Up Card
  • 7 – Pick Up Card, Special Conditions
  • 33 – Expired Card – Pick Up
  • 34 – Suspected Fraud – Pick Up
  • 35 – Contact Acquirer – Pick Up
  • 36 – Restricted Card – Pick Up
  • 37 – Call Acquirer Security – Pick Up
  • 41 – Lost Card – Pick Up
  • 43 – Stolen Card – Pick Up

This list is far from exhaustive, and some responses may require a call to the issuer to figure out what’s going on. Your payment processor and acquiring bank can provide a more detailed list of response codes and the specific actions they advise you to take when confronted with them.

Important notes:

  1. The text “CUST CONTACT THEIR BANK”/”CONTACT BANK” means that you need to advise your customer to contact their bank to enquire if there is a problem with their card. If repeated attempts to collect money from this customer using a credit card fail, you should request an alternate credit card for payment.
  2. The actual response text displayed with a response code may vary between banks and is subject to change at any time. The response text may also vary between test and live systems.
  3. The majority of response codes in the range 00-99 are returned by the card holder’s bank- eWAY and your merchant bank do not have any control over them.


Response codes and chargebacks

You can always request a different payment option if you encounter a response code that you are unsure how to handle. Most consumers will have at least two payment options on hand, such as a credit card and a debit card, and will be pleased to give it if only to save time trying to get the first one to work.


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