Selling Non-Approved Items Can Cause Credit Card Processing TERM ID ERROR

Release Date: 10/16/2020
Version: 7.5 & Up

A user received the following error when processing a credit card:
    Transaction Declined
    TERM ID ERROR


Since there was no Elliott software update at the time, and the credit card interface was working before this incident, we don't believe the issue is related to Elliott.

We directed the user to speak with Solupay to investigate this issue further. It turns out the issue is related to selling non-approved items on the user's website. When the underwriter bank approves the credit card merchant account, they will assess the risks of approving such application. The merchant has to state the nature of their business and the type of items they are selling. The approval of the application is on that basis. If the user later on expands their business and starts selling items that are outside of the original scope, especially when the new item is considered "risky" and may potentially cause lawsuit and liability, the underwriter may block that merchant account. The underwriter may perform this auditing from time to time by looking at the user's catalog on their public facing website.

Based on our understanding, the underwriter (Worldpay/Fifth Third Bank) did send an email to the primary contact of this user and demanded the non-approved item be removed from the website in 14 days.  But since most of our credit card processing users do not know who their underwriter is, this email was ignored like spam. This caused their merchant account to be frozen. The issue was resolved after the user removed the non-approved item from the website.

The key take away of this incident is that if you should expand your business by selling items that were not in the scope of your original merchant account application, then it may be wise to speak to your original application processing agent (i.e., Solupay) to confirm.

You should be aware that a TERM ID ERROR may be caused by other reasons. This is just one example.


EMK

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