How to Avoid Failed Payments on Your E-Commerce Site

Declined payments can have a negative impact on your e-commerce site, even if they’re not your fault. They can cause delays in your income, and lead to both canceled memberships and lost customers. In fact, any situation that poses a threat to your income can become stressful fast. However, staying calm when you encounter a failed transaction can help you quickly resolve the issue.

In order to avoid these issues, it’s important to put preventative measures in place and to have a reliable line of communication with your customers. It’s also vital to know how to recover payments when failures occur.

Why Online Payments Fail ?

Your online store site probably accepts credit card payments. Of course, using them is easy and popular.

Let’s take one example, your customer may use a card with a spending limit. If the customer has already reached this limit by the time they shop with you, the payment is, of course, going to fail.

It’s also possible that your customer’s card has been canceled due to possible fraudulent activity or date expiry. While there are lots of reasons for a credit card to be put on hold, card expiry is very common. It’s easy for the customer to simply to forget to update their information.

Another possibility is that your payment gateway has failed to process the payment. There are a number of points along the path between your user’s computer and the card server, and it’s due to communication break down. In this case, re-running the transaction usually solves the issue, but not all payment gateways do this automatically.

Finally, the majority of cases involve simple human error as a reason for the failed payment. For example, seemingly minor issues such as the customer mistyping their information or failing to update it will see the payment fail out of the gate.


When it comes to dealing with failed payments, one of the best things you can do is prevent them from happening in the first place. There are several measures you can put in place to avoid failed payments and to deal with them quickly if they do occur.

Let’s look at three of the best steps you can take.

“Prevention is better than cure “ in the same way, prevention is your first defense against failed payments.

Put Preventative Measures in Place

One of the easiest ways to deal with payments failing on your site is to enable your customers to edit their payment method information. This will help avoid declined payments due to expired cards.

There are several plugins for WordPress that include this feature. WooCommerce Subscriptions enables customers to modify their credit card information, as do MemberPress and Paid Memberships Pro.

You can also set up email notifications, to let your customers know when their preferred card is about to expire. This will prompt them to take care of the problem without having to involve you at all.

If you are using a third-party payment platform, or even a dedicated checkout app such as ThriveCart or SamCart, there should already be some measures in place in case of a failed payment. If so, it’s important to make sure they are fully setup.

If the payment fails again, most platforms will retry again a few times before canceling the membership. Again, it is important to check your settings to make sure everything is working the way you want it to.

How to Recover Failed Payments When They Do Occur

When a payment fails, the first thing you will need is a way to contact your customer. Most issues can be resolved with your customers through communication. In many cases, the automated notification system you employ may be all you need to recover a failed payment.

If retrying the transaction does not work though, you’ll need a further way to communicate with your customer.  As such, regardless of the nature of the failed payment, avoid accusatory language – instead, be polite and diplomatic. In most cases, a simple and direct message is all you need to recover payments.


There’s no doubt that failed payments can cause stress for website owners. it’s not good for business. Failed payments can cause delays in your income, and can hurt your relationship with customers if not handled correctly.

But, by putting preventative measures in place, you can avoid most issues involved with failed payments. 

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Andrew Lewis

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