If you’re an e-commerce business, two of the most dreaded words you’ll hear are “card declined.” When a credit (or debit) card is declined, the sale can’t go through and you don’t earn that revenue. If you’re a subscription business processing a recurring payment, a declined card can also result in involuntary subscriber churn.

Fortunately, many types of credit card declines are actually avoidable and can be rectified before the transaction fails. For example, sometimes it’s as simple as updating the expiration date.

A straightforward way to accomplish these updates and repair other potential issues is through one of the Account Updater services provided by your payment gateway or major credit card brands. But, you’ll gain greater efficiencies and see significantly improved results if you use an account updater service that is integrated with your subscription management platform. Recurly offers such a service to our customers, free of charge.

If you’re a Recurly customer, one of the  most important thing you can do to decrease credit card declines is to enable our free Account Updater service!

This service is a critical component of our decline management technology, effectively minimizing revenue losses due to avoidable failed payments. This service monitors your subscribers’ MasterCard, Visa, and Discover credit cards for changes and makes necessary updates to help ensure the payment will go through. Account Updater will also check a card’s status a few days before a subscription is set to renew. If changes are necessary and can be made automatically, the Recurly Account Updater makes them.

If the update can’t be made automatically, the service will alert you to the issue so you can address it with your subscriber directly.

To enable Account Updater for your site, simply go to your Payment Gateways page and click the "Enable" button under the Account Updater section shown on the right-hand side. Please note that your site must be in production mode in order to use Account Updater.

Account Updater enabling on Recurly software

In addition to employing sophisticated, effective decline management strategies, it’s also important to understand why payments are being declined. Benchmark data can be an invaluable tool, providing actionable insights into trends in your industry and amongst your peers. It can also guide you in improving the effectiveness of your decline management strategy—and boost your MRR.

Recurly Research recently compiled comprehensive benchmark data on the top reasons for payment declines, how long it should take to recover these payments, and what rates of recovery can be expected. View the research here. For additional benchmark data, visit Recurly Research.