Failed POS Transaction? See How to Get a Failed POS Payment Reversed to Your Account; Common POS Errors Meanings

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Paying for goods bought with your card is probably one of the easiest things to do these days. I mean – choose account type, enter PIN, and off you go! For most Nigerian banks, you can do transactions up to 1 million naira worth daily via the Point of Sales machine. You can also ask your bank to increase that for you as well.

It, however, becomes an issue if the device keeps coming up with “FAILED” responses while also debiting your bank account. Everyone becomes confused, some argue when the merchant refuses to release the goods – where do we go from here?

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This article will assist with information on why transactions fail, give us a step-by-step guide on what to do in situations like this and how to get our money reversed after a failed POS transaction.

Reasons for Failed POS Transactions

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POS transactions fail for different reasons. These reasons are usually printed on the “failed” advice printed after the ill-fated transaction. Here is a list of POS transaction error codes and what they mean:

Code   Code TextExplanation
00Transaction ApprovedSuccessful transaction
01Refer to Card IssuerThe customer should contact their bank.
02Refer to Issuer, specialThe customer should contact their bank.
03Invalid MerchantThe merchant should contact the bank/device issuer
04Pick Up CardThe card has been reported as stolen or lost. The merchant should also retain the card with them and not give it back.
05Do Not HonourThe card has failed a security check, or the funds have been frozen due to account irregularities/fraud. The customer should contact their bank.
08Honour With IdentificationSuccessful transaction
09Request In ProgressThe customer should contact their bank.
11Approved, VIPSuccessful transaction
12Invalid TransactionAn invalid character has been entered. The transaction should be retried with correct entries.
13Invalid AmountAn invalid character has been entered. The transaction should be retried with correct entries.
14Invalid Card NumberThe customer should contact their bank.
15No IssuerThe customer should contact their bank, if it exists.
29File Update not SuccessfulThe customer should contact their bank.
30Format ErrorThe customer should contact their bank
33, 54Expired CardCard is expired. The customer should get a new card.
34Suspected Fraud, Retain CardThe card has been reported as stolen or lost. The merchant should also retain the card with them and not give it back.
38, 75PIN Tries ExceededThe customer has entered wrong PIN thrice, should contact their bank.
41Lost CardThe card has been reported as lost. The customer should contact their bank.
43Stolen CardThe card has been reported as stolen. The customer should contact their bank.
51Insufficient FundsThe balance in the account is not enough for the transaction being attempted. The customer should fund the account or try alternative means to pay.
55Incorrect PINThe customer has entered wrong PIN. The card will be blocked on the third wrong attempt.
57Function Not Permitted to CardholderThe customer should contact their bank.
58Function Not Permitted to TerminalThe customer should contact their bank.
62Restricted CardThe card is restricted due to irregularities on the account. The customer should contact their bank.
65Exceeds Withdrawal Frequency LimitBanks have default transaction frequency limit (the number of transactions permitted in one day). This means the customer has exceeded that limit. Has to wait till next day. Try alternative means of payment.
82CVV Validation ErrorThe customer should contact their bank.
89Administration ErrorThe customer should contact their bank.
91Card Issuer UnavailableThe customer's bank is currently not available. The ustomer can wait a bit and retry the transaction.
96System ErrorThe customer's bank is currently not available. The ustomer can wait a bit and retry the transaction.

What Should the Merchant (Seller) Do After a Failed POS Transaction?

  • First of all, a merchant should NEVER release his/her goods without confirming a successful payment. Some would say, the buyer was debited – yes, but you have not received a successful notification/advice.
  • Merchants should always have POS paper rolls available and in place for every transaction – the customer’s bank would ask for the slip as evidence of the failed transaction.

What To Do When Your Account is Debited for a Failed Transaction

First and foremost, this is not unusual and you don’t have to over-calculate if someone is trying to defraud you, especially if you saw the slip roll out of the POS machine. Sometimes, transactions fail and the customer is not debited, or is debited and credited immediately – fine, move on.

This is a step-by-step guide on exactly what to do if you have a failed transaction AND your account is debited and not credited immediately:

  1. Make sure you collect the “failed” slip from the merchant
  2. If you have a smartphone, take a clear picture of the slip immediately. This is because the print of the slip fades off easily.
  3. Contact your bank to lodge a complaint via mail/phone call/in-person with the “failed” slip.
  4. Wait for a resolution.

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This is what happens at the backend after your complaint is lodged:

  • Your bank contacts the merchant’s bank to confirm if the merchant got value for the transaction.
  • If the merchant did get value, your claim is declined as a successful transaction.
  • If the merchant did not get value, a reversal process is initiated and your money will be credited back to your account within the agreed time.

What is the Timeline for Reversal of a Failed POS Transaction?

2 – 10 working days.

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