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How to resolve payment failure errors

How to resolve payment failure errors

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Any successful bid to resolve payment failures caused by invalid bank account data hinges on the ability to accurately understand the causes, error types, their frequency and specific category. Without this understanding, the error will never be fixed and simply continue.

According to, there are four types of bank account data errors that may be causing payment failure and all demand different strategies to prevent them affecting cash flow.

Error in reference number: When an account number is almost correct, but related reference information, such as the invoice or account number are wrong and cannot be reconciled with a supplier or customer account. Payments may be suspended while they get investigated – often with the payer believing they have met their obligations, while the recipient is unable to reconcile the outstanding transaction.

Account number error: This occurs when the payment instruction reaches a bank but the account does not exist. But crucially how this type of error is dealt with varies from one bank to another. In most banks in Nigeria, it is normal practice to immediately reject the transaction. In some other countries, banks will attempt to resolve the transaction, generally without informing the payment originator – a helpful short-term fix, but often creates a larger long-term issue with more serious consequences as long-standing legacy errors get exposed.

Invalid or missing bank codes: this is generally as a result of the incorrect account details or changes made following bank mergers, acquisitions or restructuring. This occurred when bank merger occurred in Nigeria, resulting in change of certain things regarding account number. This is often prompted by the need to do mass update of payments data in business systems.

Badly-formatted data: This is most likely to occur when data gets mis-heard and mis-keyed. If measures are not taken to validate or verify bank account data at this point, then a proportion is likely to be rendered completely invalid.

Why does payment failure bother us?

If online payments are convenient, why do we get anxious each time? There could be several reasons. Firstly, it is money! Your real money is involved.

According to, anything that has to do with money is important and cannot be dismissed as a light matter. Hence, your natural response to any activity that shows loss of money is, worry!

No instant gratification

Secondly, there is no instant gratification. Buying at shops is an easier experience. You know you can hold the shopkeeper responsible if something goes wrong. For whatever amount you give him you receive an item immediately. We carry this particular behaviour while making a transaction online. Hence, if for any reason you do not receive the email notification that you were supposed to receive then you certainly worry.

We tend to have this notion even while making a transaction online and when we do not receive a confirmation, we flip!

Trust factor

Thirdly, there is trust factor. This plays a major role. In this age of the Internet where good and bad content co-exists, trusting a platform for transactions has become increasingly difficult.

Because of above reasons, we panic if there are certain errors or failures in payments. If your payment is successful, you will receive a notification from the payment platform and from your bank.

When a payment fails, there could be two cases:

  • Your amount is not debited: You might receive a message from your bank that the payment could not be processed. You will also see the payment failure screen.
  • Your amount is debited: In this case, you will be left wondering why you did not see any kind of notification. You can send an email to the payments platform and check the status of that payment.

Nevertheless, below are a few reasons for a payment failure and why you should not worry about your money.

Some reasons for payment failure

  • Bad Internet connection: A stable Internet connection is absolutely necessary for a transaction to go through successfully. If the Internet speed fluctuates heavily then it could affect the transaction. Also, closing the tab or window will result in failed payment or incomplete payment.
  • Authorisation failure: This is the case where payments platform could not connect with the bank. Such cases do happen frequently. Banks, at times, do not authorise these payments and hence you will see a failure. This goes beyond the control of payments platform. If your money is deducted then you can check with the bank and the platform.
  • Authentication failure: Authentication failure results when wrong card details are entered. Or sometimes the OTP cannot be verified or 3D secure password was not entered correctly. In such cases, you receive messages from the bank that the payment could not be processed. Usually, money is not debited and you can try another transaction after few minutes.
  • Delayed notification: Whenever a person makes the transaction, he/she receives notifications from bank and the payments platform. A buyer should receive email about the success of payment. But there could be times when emails are not delivered and SMSs don’t reach buyers. There could be several reasons why these notifications are delayed. You can wait for few hours and if you do not receive any acknowledgment then contact the seller or the payment platform.
  • Payment gateway failure: This happens occasionally with all the payment gateways. Payment gateway failure is purely an infrastructural issue. And when there are issues at the gateway level, such fixes are done by the payment platforms quickly. Your money is either debited or not debited, but it is safe.

In all the above cases it is only but natural to worry. You may contact the company or send them an email about the issue. One thing you need to know is that your money is not going anywhere and is safe.

Other points to note about payment failure

While the vast majority of payments occur smoothly, there are a small number of situations in which you’ll see a change in the status of the payment.

During the payment process, there are a number of redirects (or “hops” as they are referred to in the industry) between various entities.

We have a reconciliation process for everyday settlement, which we receive from our banking partners. Depending on the point in the redirection process, the funds are either credited back into the buyer’s account automatically by their bank or settled to us. If the funds for a given transaction are settled to us- and the status of the transaction per our records is hitherto incomplete or unsuccessful, we update the status to reflect it as successful.

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