Payment Error 101 is a new content series where we write about common payment errors and try to provide solutions to them. Watch out for more.

If you run a business that receives online payments, you may have encountered a few customers call in or send an email about having their credit/debit card rejected on your platform. The reason? An error message that says:  “Do not honour: We’re sorry. We cannot charge your card due to bank restrictions. Please contact your bank or financial institution”.

Commonly known as the “05: Do Not Honour” error, customers are left uncertain and confused about what it means whenever they encounter it. Of course, this translates to drops in revenue for the business and customer dissatisfaction – which isn’t healthy for both sides. This begs the question: What does the “Do Not Honour” error mean and how can one avoid it?

Oddly enough, one cause of this error could be simply that the user doesn’t have enough funds in their card. Some card issuers and payment processors do a poor job of swapping “Do Not Honour”  with “Insufficient Funds” when assigning error messages. For merchants, one way to detect this is to inspect transaction data. Often, a high number of the “Do Not Honour”  messages coupled with little or no traces of “Insufficient Funds”  could mean errors due to insufficient funds are disguising in the form of “Do Not Honour” messages.

Another thing to check when you encounter the “Do Not Honour” error, is input data such as CVV/CVC numbers or the card’s expiry date. Sometimes, card issuers default to wrapping CVV number or expiry date errors with the  “Do Not Honour”  error message. 

The most appropriate situation for a card issuer to return a “Do Not Honour”  error message is when there’s questionable activity on the card. Let’s say a card is used to make a series of transactions that are different from its usual transaction flow. One example is making a transaction involving an unusual amount – usually larger than what the card is used to – in a different timezone. This could trigger a “Do Not Honour”  response. Although your card issuer may be able to explain this if you give them a call, they have to select a response from the available response code defined in the ISO 8583 standard.

Solving Do Not Honour Errors

Getting a “Do Not Honour” error can be frustrating. It doesn’t reveal much so users are not sure how to respond to it the first time. Here are a couple of ways cardholders can get around the “Do Not Honour” error code:

  • Try using a different card.
  • For international transactions, try letting your bank know about the transaction, also let them know that you will be making similar transactions in the future. Banks tend to ease the restrictions on a card if the card owner can show substantial proof that they are the one making the transaction.
  • If you’re making the transaction at an unusual time, say in the early hours of the morning or late at night, wait a few hours and then try again.

The solution for business owners (merchants):

  • Businesses that accept payments online should have automated emails for failed transactions that notify the customer who was trying to make a purchase of the failure and possible ways to remedy it – using the three solutions provided in this post.

There’s a helpful guide on online gaming privacy and safety that will provide even more information to you. Check it out here.

Published by dikachim

Head, Product Marketing