An ‘unfinished’ transaction is when an order ‘has incomplete/delayed/invalid payment details’. For example a payment not completed after being flagged (correctly or incorrectly) as fradulent will be marked ‘unfinished’. Recently I have been getting a lot more ‘unfinished’ transactions than usual through my main payment processor, Verifone. This seemed to be particularly for people ordering from the UK.
I dug down into my table planning software sales data using my own data munging software. Here is what I found looking through data since 2017:
The brown bars show the ‘unfinished’ transaction rate for all countries. The blue bars show the ‘unfinished’ transaction rate for the UK. So my suspicions were correct – there has been a huge jump in ‘unfinished’ UK transactions. In March and April the number of unfinished transaction is about 10x what I would expect historically.
Some of these lost sales I am able to recover by emailing them and sending a Stripe payment link. But it isn’t ideal, as it is a hassle for me, and the customer and Stripe doesn’t handle the tax. But many of these sales are just lost for good.
I emailed some of the prospective customers with unfinished transactions. Here are a couple of responses I got:
“Hi my bank tell me that you are not set up with the new security banking system. That is why my payment is not going through.”
“I was told to ring my bank to ask why the payment was denied. I spent ages waiting for [my bank] to answer the phone and had to answer goodness knows how many security questions before they were able to tell me that the payment company had not updated their software to be on Visa’s list of acceptable people to pay. Something to do with preventing fraud.”
What is going on Verifone? Why has my ‘unfinished’ rate for UK customers sky rocketed? Is it going to be fixed soon? This is costing me time and money. Quite a lot of money. Is anyone else seeing the same thing?
I emailed Verifone on the 11th of March to ask what is going on. I am still awaiting a substantive reponse from Verifone, over a month later. It isn’t the first time I’ve had to send several follow-up emails and wait weeks for a response. Verifone support response times are glacial. Unfortunately great little payment processing companies frequently get bought and become not-so great large payment processing companies. Back when they were Avangate, you would often get a reponse on the same day. I miss those days.
** Update 10-Jun-2022 **
Things got even worse in May, with some 30% of UK customer transactions failings. I kept on at Verifone and I finally got an email on 23-May-2022:
“Thank you for the patience you have shown us during the investigation. Our development team has resolved the described issue and released the fix into the production environment. We have tested it and confirm that the fix is working as intended.”
The rejection rate then went very quickly back to normal. When I asked what the problem had been I was told:
“There was a setup issue with the GBP payment terminal. Our engineers identified and fixed it.”
So I am glad it is fixed. But it took from 11-Mar, when I first reported it, to 23-May, when it was reported fixed. It cost me a lot of time and and money. It must have cost Verifone a *lot* more, Possibly millions in commission for an operation of their scale. You would think they would have spotted and fixed something like this very quickly. But apparently not.
 I was originally with Avangate, who merged with 2Checkout and then were bought by Verifone.
Seeing something similar with FastSpring: Orders from the UK are failing with the error “CREDIT CARD RESTRICTED”. Support so far hasn’t been helpful. Thanks for the post! At least I know it’s not just me/them.
This may be caused by the new PSD2 ‘Strong Customer Authentication’ regulations, which I believe have recently come into force in UK.
Basically people paying via cards online sometimes have to respond to an SMS challenge or equivalent via their bank.
The system is an enhanced version of the previous ‘3D Secure’, and even more of a complicated mess.
Maybe Verifone don’t support it yet, or they may support it but have bugs, or they may support it fully but the extra hoops the customer has to jump through mean some fail to complete.
All processors have to implement it, as it’s centrally mandated, so switching provider may not help in the last case.