Do Not Honor Error – What Does It Mean, Causes and What to Do Next

October 5, 2021 / Posted in Payment Processing

Seeing a do not honor error on your terminal is certainly not pleasant, neither for you nor the cardholder. However, this is the most common code that you’ve probably encountered at some point in your life while paying with or accepting plastic. What does do not honor mean on the credit card, why it happens, and what can you do about it? Let’s find out.

If the issuer (issuing bank or entity) refused to validate the transaction, then the chances are that the not-so-favorite do not honor decline code appeared on the screen of the terminal. There can be many factors for that, but this transaction reply message doesn’t specify the exact reason. We’ll help you see what’s behind this vague code and what you can do when it happens.

What Does the Do Not Honor Error Mean?

There are many different types of businesses out there. If you wanted to start one, you had to research what are the most successful small businesses and take advantage of some of the business ideas. But when running a business, it is inevitable that you should also learn all the things you can encounter and find out what does do not honor mean.

If you ever Googled what do the declined transaction result codes mean, you probably saw that it is a hard decline that indicates complete rejection of the card, but the do not honor meaning isn’t very clear when it turns up. It can happen that a buyer comes to your store, tries to pay for something, and asks you Why does my card say do not honor? For that situation, we prepared this article.

Why does it say 2000 do not honor, and what are the do not honor reasons? Seeing a credit card response code 05 (or error code 2000) on your terminal screen means an error with the issuing bank. This code can appear for a number of reasons, but it leaves merchants without much information. Only one thing is for sure – no funds can be transferred at that moment, and the transaction cannot be completed.

Why Is it Important for Enterprises and Small Businesses to Know What Do Not Honor Error Means?

With all the merchant services rates, being in a situation where a buyer can’t pay for something because of an error on the terminal can be very awkward. Since it’s hard to realize the reason behind the do not honor decline, it would be best to be educated. This can be very frustrating for the business owners, and they can lose money if the customer decides not to shop there and to go somewhere else to purchase. For that reason, learning what card declined do not honor means helps you not to act clumsy and lose your revenue. Even though the issue is probably on the buyer’s side, stick to good customer service and act professionally.

It Doesn’t Have to Be a Suspicious or Fraudulent Activity

Don’t jump to conclusions – if you see a do not honor debit card or do not honor credit card reply message on the screen, there might not be any need for a credit card fraud prevention tutorial. The more common case is that there is something else that stops the issuer from allowing the customer to pay with their plastic money. As Visa stated on this issue:

What Can Be the Cause of Do Not Honor Card Payment Failure?

In general, the answer to that question can be any of the following situations:

  • Suspicious activity – If one of the bank’s factors was triggered when the payment happens, and they think it could be something suspicious or unusual, the bank will decline the payment. This can be, for example, that the issuer is located in a country different from the one the business owner is in.
  • Not sufficient funds – Even though there is a separate code for payments with insufficient funds, issuing banks sometimes mark the transaction as do not honor.
  • Temporary hold on the card – When the cardholder tries to pay for something with a card that’s put on temporary hold, the bank will respond with a do not honor error.
  • Multiple denied payments – In case the customer had multiple denied payments in a row, the issuer can respond by locking the purchase session.
  • Expired card – It can happen that the customer forgot that their card is expired and uses it to make transactions. If that’s the case, the payment will be rejected with an do not honor error. This is mostly the case with online shopping.
  • CVC or CVV number mismatch – If the customer made a typo when entering credential numbers, the issuer could decline the transactions.
  • Recent large purchase – It could be that the customer spent a lot of money before coming to you, whether on some suspicious website, or it just was an unusually large sum of money. For that reason, the issuer can block the payment as well.
  • If any other rule is imposed by the card issuer, it can cause a decline (for example, if the daily limit is exceeded, or there’s a suspected duplicate transaction).

What Can You Do If This Happens During Credit Card Processing?

When the issuer blocks the payment process because of an unspecified reason, one of the most common mistakes business owners make is not to contact live support from a merchant service provider. You can find out the reason why the card was declined when looking at transaction details, but it would be best not to focus on “why” but on “what can you do now”. First of all, make sure that the customer entered all of the information correctly. Check CVV and AVS fields for an accidental typo.

In case all the credentials were entered right, the first option would be to ask your buyer to use a different card, debit, or credit. If they don’t have an alternative card, ask them if they can pay some other way, depending on what payment methods you accept.

The second option is to try again – in a few minutes or even after an hour. It could just be that the bank had placed a temporary hold on the account.

If both of these options fail, suggest to your customer to contact their issuing bank to explain that they’re trying to process a charge. That way, they can get a verbal authorization code, and you’ll be able to capture the transaction manually. This is especially important if the transaction is happening in a different country than the one the issuer is in.

If You Don’t Have In-Store Payments, Come up With an Online Strategy

Even if you own a sole proprietorship or a high-risk business, there are options available to you. In case you have one of the e-commerce business models, and you’ve learned about the best e-commerce payment options, there are some things you can do to be ready for response codes like these.

One of the best ways to stop losing revenue because of do not honor errors is to have a good retry strategy. What does it mean, and how to do that? An efficient retry strategy means that you build things into the system you use to address every failed transaction.

Here is a couple of things you can do that can help you with losing revenue because of failed transactions:

  • Create automated emails that will be sent after a failed transaction. That way, you can notify the buyer that their purchase didn’t get through, and you can inform them of the ways to fix that.
  • You can also send a coupon to all the customers with failed purchases one or two days after the error.
A hand holding a smartphone and applying for credit card processing

There Are Much More Response Codes to Learn

Card declined codes are signals from the payment processor that the transaction didn’t go through. Do not honor is only one of the many response codes that appear when transactions aren’t successful.

The card could be rejected for a number of reasons, but not all codes are as vague as do not honor. Although they are a bit more specific, some response codes still require further explanation. Here are a few examples:

  • 41 Hold call, Pick up card – The cardholder has reported that their card is lost, and the issuer is blocking the payments,
  • 25 POS condition code invalid value – There is an issue with the billing information,
  • 02 Refer to issuer – The issuing bank is blocking the transactions,
  • 93 Violation, cannot complete – There’s an issue with the customer’s credit account.

How Can a Good Merchant Service Company Help?

If you don’t have a provider already, keep in mind that applying for a merchant account is simple, and it won’t take you long to learn what is merchant services. A good provider will save you from overpaying credit card processing fees while offering you the best merchant services rates.

With the right guidance, you’ll get to learn how credit card processing works and understand credit card transaction fees. Getting merchant services for credit card processing will make business-running a smooth experience by providing you with solutions for every situation.

Having a Professional Merchant Services Provider Can Save You When Facing Error Code 2000 and 05

When this error happens, it’s sometimes necessary to wait for 24 to 48 hours for it to be removed. That means that the client’s card will be blocked for that time, causing an unpleasant experience for both the merchant and the client. In case you don’t wait for 24 hours and decide to repeat the payment once the buyer receives verification from the issuer, it might happen that you forfeit reversal rights for the future chargeback.

Luckily, you can always find a good merchant processing company that will provide you with the best credit card processing for small businesses and save you from these predicaments. With professional agents available 24/7, the business owner doesn’t have to wait longer than a few minutes for the error to be removed. Contact us and forget about the problem called card declined – do not honor.


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