How we handle failed payments

Your members' payments might fail for a variety of reasons: A member's card might not have enough funds for the transaction, the card could have expired, or the transaction might be declined by the bank for some other reason. In this article, you'll learn how we handle failed payments and members with expired credit cards.

In this help doc:

How we handle failed payments

After the first payment failure, we'll send them an email notification letting them know that their subscription is past due. We'll also prompt them to review and update their payment details.

We'll then retry the payment up to 4 times—always with 12 hours between retries. If we are unable to charge the member after 48 hours, we will deactivate their subscription.

Credit card declines are determined by Stripe. For each transaction, Stripe passes back a simple "Yes" or "No" message to Memberful, but they don't provide us with any additional information.

The Stripe declines do show up in your Stripe dashboard, and sometimes they show a reason for the decline. Take a look through Stripe's Declines and Failed Payments documentation for more information.

How we handle expired credit cards

If we detect a credit card expiration date before the member's next renewal date, we'll send them an email reminder. On the renewal date, we'll try to charge the card on file—either the old one or a new one they've added. In most cases, an expired credit card will lead to a failed payment, but some banks do allow charges to be processed on expired cards.

How to reduce failed payments

What are merchant category codes?

Merchant category codes (MCCs) classify the goods and services offered by a business. When a Stripe account is opened, this code is often (arbitrarily) assigned based on info provided during onboarding.

You must be strategic when classifying your business in Stripe. You want to choose a category that’s the least-associated with fraudulent activity while also aligning with your business.

The right thinking in terms of what code to use involves ensuring that the service being provided is “professional and essential” in its nature. Fortunately, most membership products align well with this thinking!


Categories TO USE (these are associated with lower instances of fraud):

Be sure to select the proper subcategory for the categories above.

How do I review and change my MCC?

  1. Log in to your Stripe account, and navigate to Settings → Business Settings → Business Details.
  2. Edit your business details along with the product description. Ensure the product description aligns with your chosen industry and clearly states that the charges are recurring (if applicable).
  3. Save and exit.

You should allow for a minimum of 30 days before seeing a noticeable shift in the rate of failed payments.

Related help docs:

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