As a merchant, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll have a customer whose credit card transaction gets declined. And while it’s not your fault that their card gets denied, it’s important that you and your cashiers handle the delicate task of telling the customer his card is declined properly.
What should you do to make this situation as painless as possible for everyone involved?
- Keep it quiet—Having a credit card denied can be embarrassing for the customer. It’s your job to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Don’t shout the news from the rooftops. The whole line doesn’t need to know that the customer’s credit card got declined. Say it quietly enough so that just you and the customer hear it, preventing further embarrassment.
- Don’t go into detail—When you inform a customer that his or her card has been declined, they will probably ask why. They may get defiant and want you to know they have enough funds to pay for the transaction. You don’t need to go into detail. In fact, you won’t even know why the card was declined, so let the customer know that. Tell them they should call their bank or credit card company to sort everything out.
- Ask the customer which other method of payment they’d like to use—Ask the customer “What other form of payment would you like to use?” This shows them that you still have confidence in them, and it can be helpful in saving the transaction for your business. If they don’t have another way to pay, don’t make a big deal out of it. Ask them if they’d like for you to hold their purchase. If not, just put it away quietly.
How do you handle it when a customer’s card is declined?