Someone tried to contribute to my campaign and got a “general decline” error

When a donor is using a credit card to donate to your campaign, we use a “processor” system (We use Stripe that you can read about here).

At the time of payment (donation), the processor contacts the bank that issued the credit card and asks for the funds (just like any purchase that is done online with a credit card). In most cases, the bank approves this and the transaction goes through, however, in some cases, the bank comes back with a “decline”. This means the bank is declining this request for funds.

The decline can mean many different things but typically means that the bank is not certain that this is a legitimate request and rather err on the side of caution. We do not get any more information (except for the “decline”) for obvious privacy reasons (for example, it could also mean the bank returns with a “decline” because the credit limit has been reached by the person using it).

What you can do:

  1. The simplest is to ask the donor to try a different credit card (it could also get declined of course).
  2. You could also contact the donor and ask them to speak to their bank (that issued the credit card) and pre-approve that transaction. The bank should be able to see the “decline”. The donor would have to go through the donation process again.

If the donor is still having issues, please email us to and we would be happy to discuss other options. Please provide the email of the donor (it is provided to you in the notification of an incomplete donation) and the approximate time/date of the last attempt.