How to recognise and respond to an SCA soft decline

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is already effective across Europe and the UK is undertaking a rapid ramp-up leading to an enforcement deadline of 14 March 2022.

What is a SCA soft decline?

A soft decline response code indicates that the card issuer is not willing to authorise a non SCA transaction and wants you to step up that transaction with SCA which can be achieved with 3D Secure authentication.

You must be able to recognise a soft decline response and respond accordingly or you will risk an increase in failed transactions.

How do soft declines work?

What is a SCA soft decline and what should you do?

If an issuer soft declines a transaction and requires it to be re-attempted with SCA applied, you will see a Response Code of 65 in the authorisation message.

If your transaction is soft declined, then you should retry with 3D Secure v1 as a minimum but preferably EMV 3-D Secure (3D Secure v2). If your transaction is then successfully authenticated through 3-D Secure, please proceed to authorisation.

Merchants using the Hosted Forms will benefit from soft declines being handled automatically. Merchants using the Direct API will need to handle this scenario within their application.

Please consult the latest Integration Guide for further information.

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