Denied Credit Card Transaction when Booking A Flight?

Yesterday, I tried to book a ticket on Philippine Airlines (PAL). I used my HSBC MasterCard as usual but an unexpected thing happened. I reached the payment part where I was redirected to HSBC SecurePay page. Then, I entered my personal information. When I pressed confirm, I received an error message saying that the transaction is denied because I failed to identify myself correctly.

At first, I thought maybe, I committed an error like misspelling when I was filling the web form. So I did it again from the very start. And guess what? The transaction is denied again for the same reason. I tried once more but with no success. I started suspecting that there’s something wrong in the system. I already booked several tickets in the past but I have never encountered this error before. I reasoned that if it is a problem in my card, then I couldn’t have used it in the past.

The Reason and Solution

I immediately contacted HSBC’s customer service through phone. A polite agent helped me to solve my problem and she explained to me the reason why my transaction was denied. Here is the reason:
MasterCard and Visa will not allow its card holders to transact online without activating the SecureCode (for MasterCard) or Verified by Visa service (for Visa Cards).

My immediate question is: Why I was allowed several online transactions in the past? The agent’s answer is that the system gives provisions for initial transactions. It allows just a limited number of transactions before it will require the activation.

How to Activate Visa’s Verified by Visa and MasterCard's SecureCode Service?

Before you can activate your SecureCode/Verfied by Visa service, you have to enroll first your credit card on internet banking. This service is free to HSBC cardholders. It usually takes two or three banking days before the enrollment will be activated. Once you have an online account, just log in and navigate to the “Services” category in the Menu. From there, you can see the Visa’s Verified by Visa and/or MasterCard SecureCode service. Click on it and fill out the pop-up form with your personal information. You will create a password which will serve as your identity authentication.

After the activation, I tried to book again. When I reached the HSBC SecurePay page, I was asked for the password I gave during the activation (before, I was required to enter some personal information). I entered it and presto! The ticket was successfully booked.


  1. The banks only give limited transactions because they have to protect you from going beyond your limit and also fro security purpose.

  2. have you tried using IE? it works for me..

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  4. well, thanks so much. I've already solved my trouble.

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