As a merchant, dealing with declined transactions can be awkward at the best of times, so it’s important to know exactly why a particular message has appeared.
Whether it’s taking place in-person or online, there are a number of reasons why a transaction might not have been authorized: the customer might have insufficient funds, they’re over their daily spending limit, or the processing system could be malfunctioning.
What does pick up card mean?
The error message “Pick up card” means that the customer’s bank has declined the transaction as the issuer wants to retrieve the card. If you can do it safely, you are advised to keep the card.
After the cardholder has left, you should call your voice authorization center to find out how to submit the card to the appropriate brand. However, if the cardholder wants the card back, by all means, return it to them.
There are a few instances when you might get the “Pick up card” message. Let’s take a look at four scenarios and what you should do if they occur.
Scenario 1: No fraud
The failure code for this declined transaction is 04, and means that the customer’s bank has prevented the authorization of the transaction. If this happens, the customer should call their issuing bank (the number is usually on the back of the credit card) and enquire as to why the transaction was declined.
If the bank is unable to authorize the transaction so that the error message doesn’t appear, you should ask the customer if they could use a different payment method to pay for the goods.
Scenario 2: Fraudulent activity detected
Failure code 07 indicates that fraudulent activity has been detected on the customer’s account, causing the transaction to be declined by their bank. If this is a one-time transaction, it’s best not to try it again, nor to provide any goods or services to the customer who is attempting the transaction.
If it’s a recurring or scheduled transaction, the card may have been flagged after the last successfully processed payment or after the authorization for the scheduled payment. If this is the case, you should ask the customer for a new credit card number or an alternative form of payment.
Scenario 3: Lost card
If a transaction is declined and you receive failure code 41, this means that the customer’s bank is preventing authorization of the transaction as the owner of the card has reported it as lost.
If this is a one-time transaction, it’s best not to attempt it again, nor to provide any goods or services to the customer who is attempting the transaction. If it’s a recurring or scheduled transaction, the card may have been lost after the last successfully processed payment or after the authorization for the scheduled payment. If this is the case, you should ask the customer for a new credit card number or an alternative form of payment.
Scenario 4: Stolen card
Failure code 43 means the card’s rightful owner has reported it as stolen, causing the issuing bank to prevent the transaction from being authorized. If it’s a one-time transaction, do not attempt it again and do not provide any goods or services to the person attempting to use the card.
If the transaction is recurring or scheduled, the card may have been stolen after the last successfully processed payment or after the authorization for the scheduled payment. If this is the case, you should ask the customer for a new credit card number or an alternative form of payment.
If you are handling remote payments, and you are in scenarios 2, 3, or 4, make sure to replace the old/lost/stolen account number with the new one.
Stay vigilant for scams
It’s also possible that the person trying to use the credit card is attempting a scam. If the transaction is taking place in person, and the in-store staff member is not trained properly, the cardholder might convince the employee that they should call their bank using the cardholder’s phone. However, what they’re actually doing is calling a friend who is impersonating the bank.
The fake bank clerk then guides the store employee through the process to force the transaction and gives them a fake authorization code. Of course, the transaction is later flagged and returned as unauthorized, long after the scam artist and the goods they “bought” are out of the store.
As a general rule, in-store employees faced with a “Pick up card” error shouldn’t trust that they are speaking to the cardholder’s “bank” on the phone. This is what your voice authorization center is for - the only way to make sure you’re speaking to a legitimate source for information.
The bottom line
There are a number of reasons why a transaction could prompt the “Pick up card” error message, but hopefully, it is now clearer as to what the codes mean, why the transaction could be unauthorized, and what you should do in each case.
For future reference, here’s a complete list of credit card decline codes.