Payment processing

This is an odd topic and doesn’t have much to do with game development, but it is bothering us over at Beamdog.  Once in a long while we get a customer who has their credit card declined.  We’d like to help them out, we’d like to give them a solution to the credit card problem (we currently send them to Paypal), but we can’t.  The information we get back from our payment provider is “card declined”.  After digging into the lack of a useful message, it appears that is the message our payment gateway gets as well.   So:

CREDIT CARD COMPANIES: You need to improve your shit!  “Declined” is about as useful to a vendor as telling us “selly no worky”.  I want/need to see some more data.  Is this a foreign card, has it expired, did they screw up the securecode or whatever other BS you guys put in place to try and make cards useless on the internet?  In the current era there is no reason why you can’t give us some extra information so we can work with our customers to solve the problem.

Somebody do a start-up that re-imagines the credit card process and have these guys buy you, because the current state of the credit card payment pipeline is pretty sad.



7 thoughts on “Payment processing”

  1. Hi Trent, I am new to your website and just started following you and beamdog concerning the Baldur’s gate website. I was surprised at the content on your website and I am currently reading some of your older post :). First of all I must say … I agree 100% as a web developper I am facing that kind of problem every days. When I got my paypal developper certification I was also really surprised how bad the backend was. on the front paypal offer tons of awesome feature (button creation for all kind of product, instant payment notification …) however it looks like it is only a layer of nice goodies on top of some terribly old core. I am glad to see im not the only one who feels that way keep up the awesome posts 🙂 (Sorry for any typos i am one of those damn French canadian doing my best in that english world called internet)

  2. Trent – if you interact directly with a gateway linking you to an account at a merchant bank, you’ll get more info. At the very least, you should get back a direct response on whether the CVV2/CVD was valid, and there are a lot of codes for the AVS responses as well. (zip match, zip-9 match, address+zip match, no match, not available, etc… the latter being common with Visa gift cards.)

    There are also a lot of states where you can get subcodes as well. (ie, common circumstances such as “stolen card” and “over limit” typically return as failure codes that come along with a DECLINE).

  3. Have you heard of Dwolla? It sounds like it might be an option rather than hoping the CC industry changes. I don’t work for them so this is just a nod to something you’ll probably find useful.

    It’s an alternative payment network and does’t run like C.C.’s or by way of ACH. And unlike those, it’s not based on old technology (70s, 80s?) and benefits from it by the speed and stability of the underlying network. One issue is whether all that information (expiration, secure code, etc..) is even necessary. It is interesting because Dwolla does not use it or need it. It has less problems like this (tracking extraneous details) and seems, at this point, more secure. It doesn’t use identifiable information when processing transactions – it’s a clever system of having _some_ anonymity – and so doesn’t require authorization checks. They simply aren’t necessary. This is a surprisingly effective, non-obvious solution.

    And most of important perhaps, it costs $.25 per transaction. For an individual, it’s not a huge benefit. That might change when stores start accepting it, and provide discounts for using it. Too soon to tell right now since they have yet to hit the famed “tipping point.” (wow, i just used that not ironically…) Either way, it’s growing but not quite taking off.

    But businesses might benefit regardless, since the chance to process hundreds/thousands of transactions at $.25 a transaction could add up over the years (as opposed to 3%+. And since you won’t need to process or verify identifiable info, it can relieve some liability, along with any ‘given’ costs that all retailers just assume needs insurance to cover for. I don’t fully know the legal landscape, but what costs must a retailer expect when using credit cards, processing financial information and personal data? Honestly, I don’t have much experience with this. But insurance costs probably reflect some of that liability. Remove it, and it is possible costs could go down somewhere.

    Now I should say I’d like to see more companies use it, and am a bit biased as a result. But it is definitely worth checking out. I’d be curious what a business like yours would think.

  4. *A correction was needed here. It is, in fact, run on ACH – an alternative though, not the existing platform banks use.

  5. After I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are
    added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment.
    Is there a way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

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