Is online payment safe?

Yes. Our online transactions are handled by Barclaycard through a secure gateway which encrypts your card details. These are not released to Wild Places Publishing and we do not at any time hold your sensitive card information. Barclaycard is an established service provider and handles a third of all UK credit and debit card transactions. You will see a Powered by Barclaycard symbol when you pay using a credit or debit card. Your payment will go through a 3D-Secure authorisation stage before it is accepted.

Powered by Barclaycard

Which cards are accepted?

Our payment system is Powered by Barclaycard and this authorises Visa, MasterCard and Maestro cards. Selecting the Visa or MasterCard option at checkout permits use of either a credit or debit card on the next screen; Maestro is a debit card. We do not accept payment by American Express. Whichever card you use, you will be required to pass a 3D-Secure check before the transaction is completed.
Payment cards

What is 3D-Secure?

3D-Secure is an additional layer of security provided by credit and debit card companies when paying for goods online. On our website the final stage before the transaction can be completed is a Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode stage (or other security measure), as appropriate for your card. Please note that you must also use the address registered to your card for your Invoice Address, or else the transaction will fail.

How does the system work?

Our software works just like any other site. Here's what happens when you make a payment:

  • You register your address in My Account; this is used later for a Barclaycard check against your credit or debit card registered address and postcode
  • You go through checkout and reach a Barclaycard check (you are on their software now) where you input your security number and check the details on that screen, picked up from My Account, are correct
  • Barclaycard sends these details to your bank, which checks the address and postcode against all the other details, then returns a report saying all is okay or, just occasionally, something does not match
  • Barclaycard accepts or rejects the payment based on what that report from your bank said
  • If you do see a failure, read the next FAQs for possible causes ... the most likely reason is a mistake in your postcode, so do please double check this!

How do I know I paid?

The final page of the checkout process asks you to choose a payment card or that you are sending a cheque. If you pay using a card, you will receive an e-mail with an invoice attached: this confirms you successfully paid (and when your subscription details are entered or your order is despatched, you will receive another e-mail). If you choose to send a cheque, when this is received by us you will also be e-mailed with an invoice and confirmation of your order.

I clicked on the payment button but it said 'error'!

We hear of a very few instances where, when you click on the payment method (the 'Visa' button, or one of the other buttons), an error occurs. This appears to be a glitch with your browser or computer memory or somesuch and, hopefully, logging off and closing your browser then going back in again will clear it. This is not likely to be a problem with the shop software (but nothing is perfect!).

Barclaycard rejected my payment ... what should I do?

Transactions can fail due to a glitch or, far more likely, falling foul of settings intended to keep your details and payment safe from fraud. There are several possible reasons so please run through these checks before trying again:

  • Your Invoice Address (that is, your personal details) must exactly match the address your card is registered to, in particular your postcode (this has nothing to do with where the goods will be delivered to, which might be a different addresss). If the details do not match, your card issuing bank will reject the payment. This is nothing to do with our shop software, but everything to do with Barclaycard's checks with your bank to keep your details safe. Virtually every payment problem we are aware of has been solved by checking that the address details are as registered (for some examples of how this has gone wrong, see the next FAQ).
  • Is your Invoice Address correctly selected? If you entered a different address for delivery, check that you have them the right way round (or else the security check will match your card details against the wrong address).
  • If you fail to correctly answer the security question correctly (the one where you type in a number from the back of your card) for 3D-Secure, your transaction will always fail.
  • Please check your name is entered correctly in this final stage. If you registered your name as Joseph Bloggs, this will automatically be picked up by Barclaycard and filled in for you. But, if the name on your credit card is J. Bloggs ... You get the idea. Please check the details in this final screen for 3D-Secure and ensure they match your card.
  • And if all else fails, we can try to help if you give us a call, but please bear with us: what we can see or do about anything in the Barclaycard section of software is very limited as it is not controlled by us.

Can I see some examples of why payments fail?

Of course. These examples come from real instances, though of course the names are changed:
  • The entered address was 1 Something Street with a postcode of AA1 1AA, but the bank's registered card address (and address shown on the Royal Mail website for this postcode) was for Flat 1
  • The entered postcode was AA11 1AA, which did not match 1 Something street ... Because the postcode was wrongly typed. This appears to be the biggest single failure point that we see when making payment
  • Although the address and postcode were correctly entered, it was a business address and a business name appeared on the first line of the bank's registered details. Yes, the card (a personal one, not a company one) and address matched, but the postcode check failed against that first line. It ought to have worked, but it was the issuing bank that flagged up the mismatch and caused the problem (it was only solved by the customer contacting the issuing bank, which helped explain errors on other websites as well)

I only see prices in pounds – what about my currency?

We are British-based and display prices in our own currency, pounds sterling (£). This does not prevent you from using your credit or debit card from anywhere in the world; your issuing bank will use the current exchange rate to charge you in your local currency and this will show on your statement.

Can I really pay using my Maestro card?

Maestro is a debit card issued by MasterCard International. Its use online has been growing in Europe and Barclaycard (our authorising bank) states that all Maestro cards in the UK and many other European countries, including France, Ireland and Spain, have been activated for internet shopping. In some other countries selected banks only have enabled Maestro cards for online use; contact your issuing bank for further details.

The following notes on using a Maestro card online are based on information issued by Barclaycard (and therefore apply to this site, but in all cases of doubt please refer to your issuing bank):

The card itself, besides the card number, cardholder’s name and expiry date, may also carry the bank account number. Do not use your bank account number when checking out; the card number must be used. The data displayed on the card depends on the issuing bank and the country of origin. The card number can be between 13 and 19 digits and is structured as follows: 1111 3333 5555 7777 0 (in Belgium the number is always 17 digits).

Important: To be able to use Maestro® for online commerce, you need a secure means of authentication, provided by your bank and based on «SecureCode/3-D Secure®» technology (the same as for all MasterCard and Visa cards). If you cannot authenticate yourself during processing a Maestro transaction, the transaction will be refused. For more information on the authentication possibilities or on the activation of your card to pay online with Maestro, please contact your bank.

May I still pay by cheque?

Yes, of course. For many years the only way of subscribing to Descent was by sending a cheque in the post and, despite common preconceptions, a lot of people still prefer to subscribe that way. You will be offered the choice of paying by cheque or making an electronic payment at the end of the checkout process, so you still have that option. All the details you will need to fill in your cheque will be provided (and e-mailed) at that final stage. Please note that cheques must be in pounds sterling (GBP) and drawn on a UK bank.

May I pay by postal order?

Yes, postal orders are perfectly acceptable, if they are issued by a UK post office. We regret we cannot accept postal orders issued in other countries or currencies other than pounds sterling. You will find details of where to post your payment on the contact page. Alternatively, add a note to your order that you will send a postal order when you go through checkout and use the 'Pay by cheque' option. Please make the postal order payable to Wild Places Publishing.

Must I go through checkout?

If you prefer to send a cheque or postal order with your order instead of going through the checkout process, that's fine. Make your cheque payable to Wild Places Publishing and see the contact page for our address to post it to. Other than that, we need your address to post the goods to and details of your order (if this includes a subscription, don't forget to tell us which issue to start with). In essence, just tell us what you want to have happen and post us the details, but please include a phone number and e-mail in case we need to contact you with any queries.

I would like to make a non-standard payment

Occasionally, we are asked if someone can pay a non-standard amount or an invoice via the website. One example is when a subscriber moves from the UK to overseas and needs to pay the pro-rata additional cost to cover the postage of remaining issues of Descent. The bottom line is that occasionally someone needs to send a non-standard payment that does not involve receiving goods in return (so there is no appropriate 'product' that they are buying at a set price).

We have two solutions, depending on whether you are paying in pounds (like £10) or pounds and pennies (like £10.64). Follow the links to read more about how you can make these payments.