Rejected Payments

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Britkid
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Rejected Payments

Post by Britkid » Fri May 05, 2017 9:40 am

This is about paying by card for transactions in shops, petrol stations etc. NOT about ATM transactions/cash withdrawal. NOT about online payments but in person.

When I lived in UK, my card was almost always accepted. Say 99% of the time.

For my first three years in Chile (2014-2016) my cards were occassionally rejected. Say 95% of transactions being a success and 5% failed. By carrying at least two cards I could get the success rate up to 99% that at least one of the two cards would work. That is the success rate for in person payments in a physical establishment - online it's always been lower here in Chile.

I've found a similar success rate in other foreign countries. I think there is some glitches in the system on communication that make payments less reliable with foreign cards.

In about the last 2 months, it's been different. The success rate is now about 50% or around 75% with two cards. That means 25% of all transactions I am now having two cards rejected, and then paying by cash.

This has happened many times now. I'd say that of the last 100 transactions I attempted to pay for by card (counting as 2 if I tried to pay with 2 cards), about 50 were failures. This is just a very very rough guess.

This is happening in many different places, including COPEC petrol stations and other petrol stations, various shops in the Plaza Oeste mall, and various shops in other locations. It's across a wide range of different establishments; I have had failures in at least 10 different places.

Most of the failures are with my UK Halifax Clarity credit card or my UK Aqua credit card, and some also with my UK metrobank card. The number of failures is evenly spread across all three cards. It's not been more towards any one of them.

The failures usually just say "rechazada" although it varies. Occassionally with Metrobank they claim the PIN is wrong when I don't think it is.

I've called all the three banks and none of them report any blocks or issues seen at their end. No fraud suspicions, no calls from the bank to me, nothing.

All three cards are Mastercard.

How often do you get failures when paying by foreign (e.g. US/UK) card in Chile?
Has it got any worse the last 2 months?
Any idea why I'm seeing a change?


Thanks.

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admin
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Re: Rejected Payments

Post by admin » Fri May 05, 2017 10:17 am

I rarely buy anything in Chile with my foreign cards, and typically just use the ATM. Mostly because it almost always sets off the visa fraud alerts, which is kind of a slow hassle to clear even though my foreign bank calls my cell phone in Chile. I found that by mostly sticking to the same use patterns, the fraud prevention system does not block my cards. Same atm, for the same amount, keeps the computers happy overseas.

I did notice that twice this week, at an ATM, on two different cards, that I was declined after having already withdrawn money those cards. Normally I can make 3 withdrawals of 200,000 pesos each, on each card, before hitting my daily limit. So, on two different cards, on two different days, I was only able to withdraw 400,000 pesos.

I also noticed that I often will get relatively fast withdrawals, then all of sudden the machines will take a really long time to think about one or two of the withdrawals. Like there is an error in the the red compra system connecting.

This might be the key. The networks are timing out, and unable to connect to your bank and get a response before the connection drops. I have several friends with restaurants that have been complaining a lot about this recently, even with Chilean cards. I have heard this has been especially bad with Santander bank, but have not had that problem myself.

Have you tried running the same card again?
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thisisreallycomplicated
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Re: Rejected Payments

Post by thisisreallycomplicated » Fri May 05, 2017 11:42 am

My internet connection has always been really good here. But I've been noticing it getting slower recently. And my connection got dropped for about 15 minutes a couple days ago, during a conference call with people in the US. So like admin is saying, it could be some network problems in Chile. I'm guessing if the credit card software detects anything unusual, it'll reject your payment. And if it can't figure out exactly what it is, it'll give you a very general error message. Or even if it can figure it out, it might not tell you what the problem is, for security reasons.
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tiagoabner
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Re: Rejected Payments

Post by tiagoabner » Fri May 05, 2017 3:27 pm

So, this happens to be part of what I work with, so I can drop my two cents regarding this.

It has been verified by a recent private study done by Eseye that the South American ISPs are not investing in improving the capacity of their networks. This leads to the information packets being list in transit, which is technically referred as packet loss.

The issue when processing credit card transactions is not the speed in which the data is transferred, but the loss of data between the POS and the bank network. The bank doesn't authorize transactions in which it doesn't receive the correct "confirmation" that the card and the transaction we're good and legit.

This affects different banks in a different way simply because it's the bank tech team that determines the data loss margin that can be accepted for a transaction to be considered valid. Asking your bank officers about this will result on "everything is ok, it is not an issue on our side" answer, as this is a behind the scenes procedure that they usually don't even know how it works.

TL;DR: the networks are losing data packets. This can make your bank think your transaction was not good based on technical parameters set by their tech team. If you are sure your card is good (IE: has enough cash on it), try again. The same card can work on the next try.

thisisreallycomplicated
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Re: Rejected Payments

Post by thisisreallycomplicated » Fri May 05, 2017 4:08 pm

tiagoabner wrote:It has been verified by a recent private study done by Eseye that the South American ISPs are not investing in improving the capacity of their networks.
That's what I figured. Stuff generally doesn't get maintained in Chile, so it only works good when it's new. That became clear to me, when 2 unrelated people thought the best way to fix a car that was idling rough, was to make it idle faster. The first guy was trying to sell me a car, so I didn't buy that one. The 2nd was a mechanic I hired. I eventually convinced the mechanic that I was paying him to actually fix the problem. So he tried, and that didn't go too well. So now I just take the bus.
“Now it’s conspiracy – they’ve made that something that should not even be entertained for a minute, that powerful people might get together and have a plan. Doesn’t happen, you’re a kook, you’re a conspiracy buff!” – George Carlin

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tiagoabner
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Re: Rejected Payments

Post by tiagoabner » Fri May 05, 2017 4:24 pm

thisisreallycomplicated wrote:(...)that didn't go too well. So now I just take the bus.
This pretty much describes chile. :D

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nwdiver
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Re: Rejected Payments

Post by nwdiver » Fri May 05, 2017 11:58 pm

ATMs.........I use 2 regularly sometimes they work sometimes they don't, different card same refusal, I realized a long time ago sometimes the system is not going through, I try later and is NORMALLY works, not down all day just the first time I try to use it.....
It's all about the wine.

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tiagoabner
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Re: Rejected Payments

Post by tiagoabner » Sat May 06, 2017 12:14 am

nwdiver wrote:ATMs.........I use 2 regularly sometimes they work sometimes they don't, different card same refusal, I realized a long time ago sometimes the system is not going through, I try later and is NORMALLY works, not down all day just the first time I try to use it.....
Yep, that is the same issue. Some of the data packets are being lost while in transit to the bank system. Since this is normal and expected, the banks set a threshold and if a large enough amount of packets are lost, the transaction is refused.

¨Mi tarjeta es de extranjero, vamos a intentarlo de nuevo¨ should come as a second nature when paying through card here.

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Re: Rejected Payments

Post by admin » Sat May 06, 2017 9:46 am

well, if you want to get boringly technical about it, I think the problem is lower down the network stack; or, more precisely the upper part of the stack is not tolerant of failures of the lower part of the stack.

red compra a few years ago started switching to hand held cell phone chip card processors across the country. I am sure nothing about them were designed with flaky cell phone networks in mind. Well, then they kept the primary legacy software that was not optimized for flaky cell phone networks, and probably expects a hard line connection. So, now you have crazy TTL for making a connection, then throw in trying to run a verification against a foreign bank's computer on the other side of the World, and your going to have more than a few reliability issues. Which is all really very stupid because you really don't need to push that much data to verify a credit card transaction, other than your pushing bunch of legacy data to make sure all the various card standards in the World are still compatible. So, any time the networks are less than perfect, the card fails (e.g. 6 p.m. rush hour, storms, etc).

Just my guess at it, based on all sorts of other half-baked tech they deploy in Chile without testing (e.g. the civil registry disaster a few years ago, cell phone networks after the 2010 earthquake, just trying to check-out of most grocery store, etc).

If I run a foreign card say at a small restaurant in southern Chile, before that data even leaves Chile, I have probably crossed a dozen different networks. By the time it makes the round-trip to New York or wherever my bank is hosting their server, your looking at possible 100+ different networks. The fact that they work at all is really pretty amazing.

I really find it fascinating when a computer system errors out in Chile. It tells me a lot about what they are running, how they are running it, and more importantly how secure the network is.
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Re: Rejected Payments

Post by jehturner » Sat May 06, 2017 10:14 am

I also hardly ever use my foreign cards here nowadays, but just as a baseline I pay for a lot of things with local redcompra and have not been experiencing problems with that.

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Re: Rejected Payments

Post by Enzo » Sat May 06, 2017 11:22 am

I had this same problem last year when I came for my job interview. I have never had a problem in any country with my foreign cards (from two different countríes) like I did in Santiago. NONE of them worked anywhere. Debit or credit. Luckily, I brought enough cash with me to exchange. I'm not sure how that's going to work out when we move there in July and we cannot use any of our foreign cards and all of our money will not be in Chile.

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Re: Rejected Payments

Post by Britkid » Sat May 06, 2017 12:50 pm

I think communication issue is about right. You can tell that merchants are sometimes used to struggling to get a signal. I do suspect my foreign cards get more rejected than local ones. I have had occassions when I ran the same card twice and it worked the second time. I tend to try a different card the second time because I feel the probability of success ought to be higher overall than repeating the same card.

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