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How do failed payment transactions affect recurring payments and billing in a contract?

Recurring Payments

Payment transactions in existing contracts in billwerk are always triggered when new receivables from customers arise. This behavior is controlled in billwerk via the process of "recurring payments". In normal operation, this process is active.

It happens that individual payment transactions fail. The reasons for failed payment transactions are transmitted by the payment provider and can be for example:

  • Insufficient credit on a means of payment

  • Expired credit card

  • Credit card limit exceeded

  • suspicion of manipulation

  • Means of payment not allowed in this country

  • Means of payment is on a blacklist

  • Payment amount too high

  • Payment amount too low

If individual payment transactions fail, this is not necessarily a permanent problem. If the errors occur several times in a row, a successful payment becomes increasingly unlikely. In some cases it is immediately clear that there is no chance of a successful payment.

For example, there is usually only a short-term shortfall in the availability of a means of payment, while a successful payment transaction via an expired credit card can never again be carried out via this card.

Therefore, billwerk interprets the error messages of the payment providers and applies different repetition strategies according to the seriousness of the error.

The following repetition strategies exist:

Fast repetition at intervals of 2, 4 and finally 18 hours

This repetition strategy is used for minor errors. After three unsuccessful attempts (24 hours), no further payment attempt is made and the "Recurring Payments" in the contract are deactivated.

This strategy is used if, for example, there is a temporary technical malfunction at the payment provider.

Slow repetition at intervals of 2 times a day

This repeat strategy is used for medium errors. After two unsuccessful attempts (48 hours), no further payment attempt is made and the "Recurring Payments" in the contract are deactivated.

This strategy is used if, for example, the means of payment is not sufficiently covered.

No repetition

This repeat strategy is used for serious errors. The "Recurring Payments" in the contract are deactivated immediately.

This strategy is used if, for example, a credit card has expired or if the customer has triggered a chargeback after a successful payment and this has been posted to billwerk.


Note: The "No repetition" strategy is also used for technical timeouts for payment transactions, as in these cases it is unclear whether the payment was successful or not. You will be informed about timeouts on the dashboard in your billwerk account. Here, a manual check in your merchant account with the payment provider is necessary.

All repetition strategies have in common that in the worst case the process of "recurring payments" is deactivated in the contract. If this happens, you as the merchant must intervene in the process to restore the regular status of the active recurring payments.

Recurring billing

If there are serious errors or return debits (section "No repetition"), the system can also optionally stop the "Automatic billing" in this contract. Whether the system should stop automatic billing can be configured in "Settings > Payment > Billing". Check the box "Suspend billing on fatal payment error and charge back" to avoid creating new bills for contracts with these problems.