My Bank, Mastercard And My Annual Hosting Invoice

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 22, 2011
Updated • May 18, 2014

Have you ever tried to make a payment with your credit card that is a bit on the high side of things but still well within your limit? I do that once a year when I get my hosting invoice from Wiredtree. Well, to be precise, Wiredtree tries to charge the card directly. Still, it never works. This is the second year in a row where I get the information that payment could not be processed and that my hosting bill is overdue.

First thing I did last year was to check in on the site to verify that my credit card information are correct. Which they were, not a huge surprise considering that I have not used or changed the data in one year's time. Next thing I try is to make a manual payment on the Wiredtree Grove website, with the same result.

I get the dreaded authorization failed error on the page. That's bad, considering that delays in payment of the invoice could mean that the server Ghacks is running on could be taken offline by the company until a payment clears.

So what can I do? I call the Mastercard hotline in my country where I have to wait a good ten minutes or so before I have to go through a ridiculous authorization process (card number, name, birthday, address, three digits of the linked bank account number). I then get the following explanation (every year, actually more often as I sometimes buy expensive stuff on the Internet, have to call them all the time).

Mastercard has an automatic fraud detection system in place that blocks payments that break a pattern or look suspicious. My payment to the web hosting company Wiredtree is apparently looking like a fraudulent payment. The only possible explanation that I have for this is that it is a four-digit payment to a foreign country. The service agent offers to disable the fraud protection for the next 24 hours or 3 days so that I can make the payment.

I'm curious and want to know if there is a way to whitelist select companies, but that is apparently not possible. The system is also not capable of learning from past year's payments. I mean, I pay the hoster once a year at the same time. Should not an automatic system be able to come to the conclusion that the payment is legit if it happened in past years as well?

I ask the agent about options. The only option for me to make sure that the automatic payment gets through is to call them a day earlier to remove the automatic fraud checking for three days from the account. That's ridiculous, don't you think? To make things worse, you have to pay for that call.

Have you ever had problems with your credit card and online payments? Let me know in the comments. Oh, and hosting for Ghacks is paid in full for a whole year, so no worries in this regard. Until next year, that is.


Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Siva said on December 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Does Virtual Credit Card(VCC) work with Wiredtree?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      I do not know, sorry.

      1. Siva said on December 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

        Got a reply from WT that they accept VCC and now I am in their Managed VPS. Although Support is good. Having a Live Chat facility would be a great PLUS.

  2. Robert Palmar said on July 22, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    A four-digit payment to a foreign country is probably part of the trigger
    but the once a year may be the real bullet here or a combination.
    I would try setting up quarterly payments, each of which are
    less that four-digits presumably, that may then fall into
    their formula of a safe non-fraudulent pattern.

  3. Zangief said on July 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I had VISA lock my debit card once because of a purchase I made from Hong Kong. Funny part was they swore up and down they tried to call me repeatedly to ask if it was a fraudulent purchase before they locked it yet i had no voicemails (and the phone number on my account was correct.)

    1. DanTe said on July 22, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      Financial institutions never leave voice mails. This is in case they called the wrong number and they don’t want to compromise their client’s info. But you should see their phone number in your missed call log.

  4. DanTe said on July 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I guess I have ridiculous spending patterns because I rarely get called. But if there is something out of the ordinary, my VISA cards calls me on my cell phone immediately to verify the purchase – i.e. $1 purchase on Morocco when I had been spending in LA that same day. But that’s in the U.S. Not sure how VISA works in Europe.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm

      I never get called.

  5. Angelo R. said on July 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Consider yourselves lucky. I used to be in a situation where if I made a purchase in another town WITHIN an hours driving distance of where I live, it would lock down my card. Not just “unauthorized payments” but instead I wouldn’t be able to use my card anywhere until I went IN to the bank to unlock it. Of course, this wasn’t just my Visa, the bank would also lock down my debit card as well.

    Oddly enough, my cross country payments online were never blocked, regardless of size.

  6. TOm said on July 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Citibank once flagged a VISA transaction to pay for a Microsoft conference fee as fraudulent. Kind of funny to hear a bank representative state that Microsoft might be a fraudulent company.

  7. Yoav said on July 22, 2011 at 10:37 am

    VISA has a system here (Israel) that allows you to set an alarm. For instance, i can say that if any payment over a certain sum (say, 300$) is made with my card i get an SMS message. that way, if anything is wrong I can immediately call the company and cancel the payment.

    This means that any big payment can go through, but I also always get notified so I’m protected from fraud.

    Just a month ago I had such a big, unauthorized payment go through (mistake of the car rental company) – I immediately called VISA, and the system worked very quickly and efficiently.

  8. Rarst said on July 22, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Some years ago bank I used back then blocked my PayPal account from accessing my card (the kind without magnetic strip, explicitly for Inetrnet). For PayPal being insecure. Nothing could make them budge, I even offered to come to bank, write down and sign that I am ok with this company accessing MY money. Nope, blocked is blocked.

    Now I no longer use that bank or PayPal either so and think it was for better on all fronts. :)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 22, 2011 at 10:12 am

      Funny. Well, I could switch to Visa but I’d guess they would have the same protection in place.

  9. giedrius said on July 22, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I had some problems in the past with Visa card for internet payments. I pay for 2 servers monthly, and couple years ago I could not pay through automated system (manually through support only). I have even called my bank. however, it fixed itself after a while….

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.