Soft Decline

With the DSP2 application, issuers can refuse the transaction if 3D Secure authentication has not been performed. This behavior is called “Soft Decline”.

Since October 2020, transactions without 3DS authentication are progressively refused according to the following calendar:

This mechanism directly impacts merchants using selective 3D Secure to disable 3DS authentication.

Indeed, with 3DS2, a fallback to 3DS1 is expected, until its definitive termination, in the following cases:
  • The card is not enrolled for 3DS2.
  • A technical error prevents the 3DS2 enrollment verification.
  • The merchant is not enrolled for 3DS2.

If the merchant requests an authentication without cardholder interaction (frictionless), but the holder’s card is not enrolled for 3DS2, the gateway performs a fallback to 3DS1.

If the store has the “3DS1 Selective” feature, the exemption request is interpreted as a 3DS1 deactivation request.

To reduce the number of rejected payments, when the issuer refuses a “Soft Decline” transaction, the payment gateway automatically makes a new payment attempt, but this time with 3D Secure authentication, and without the buyer having to re-enter their card data. It is therefore transparent for the buyer.

There will not be a new attempt with 3DS authentication following a "Soft Decline” refusal if the payment is a payment in installments.

Which networks are involved?

By definition, all acquirers who make acquisitions in euros within the area of application of DPS2 are concerned.

Currently, the payment gateway only handles the “Soft Decline” with the following networks:
  • CB
  • AMEXGLOBAL (American Express)
  • GATECONEX (Elavon Europe)
  • GICC (Concardis acquirers, Six payments, VR Pay)

Corresponding authorization return codes:
Network Authorization return code
CB 81

How to test the “Soft Decline”?

To simulate a “Soft Decline” refusal in TEST mode, you can use the card numbers below:
Card number Label
4970119000005005 CB
4970100000000659 VISA
378283000001301 AMEX