What are the payment errors on the Canada eTA application?

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Canada eTA Payment Errors

The following scenario is much more common than you may think: you filled out the Canadian eTA application form, hit the ‘Submit’ button, and then proceeded to the payment section. When you entered your payment details, however, the system warned you that there was a ‘payment error’. You know there are sufficient funds in your bank account to make the payment, and you have your card right in front of you, so you know it’s still valid.

What is happening? Continue reading to find out why you might be having payment issues and what you are able to do about the situation.

Invalid form of payment

If you are experiencing issues while trying to pay for an eTA, your first course of action should be to make 100 percent sure that you’re not using an incorrect form of payment. The unfortunate reality is that you can only use certain electronic payment options when applying for an eTA. Trying to use a credit or debit card that might be perfectly valid in your own country but which isn’t on the list of approved payment options will, therefore, cause the system to generate an error message.

You have to use one of the payment forms on the following list to pay the eTA fee: American Express, Mastercard, or Visa credit card, a pre-paid Mastercard, Visa or American Express, a JBC Card, a Visa debit card, or Interac.

You entered the wrong payment information

If you are certain that you’re using a valid form of payment, your next step should be to double-check that you entered your bank and card information correctly. This probably sounds obvious, but making a typo in your bank account number or card number is very easy to do and not immediately obvious. So check again.

There is something wrong on your bank’s side

If you are sure you entered all your information correctly, your next step should be to talk to your bank to find out if there isn’t perhaps an issue on their side. Try to ascertain whether they are having trouble with their computer system. Also, have them check whether your transaction wasn’t perhaps blocked or flagged for some or other reason. It doesn’t take much for a bank to flag an international transaction for a government service transaction.

You don’t have sufficient funds

If you are trying to make a payment with your debit card, the problem could simply be that there are insufficient funds in your account.

Declined transactions or payment errors are also common when people are trying to pay with a prepaid Visa card. It’s sometimes quite difficult to check the balance on prepaid cards, and it’s therefore quite easy to overestimate the amount of money available on such a card. If you suspect that this might be the cause of your problem, check the balance. You might have to use another card or a different form of payment.

The Canadian eTA processing website is experiencing technical problems

Finally, the Canadian website that has to process your eTA payment might be experiencing some technical issues. If you are sure that you have entered the right payment information, and that you are using a valid form of payment, and you have contacted your bank and they can’t find any issues on their side, you can safely assume that the problem lies with the eTA website. It doesn’t happy every day, but if all other causes can be eliminated, this is the only possible reason left.

If you have eliminated all the other possible reasons for your payment issues and you’ve come to the conclusion that the eTA website must have issues, your best option is to simply wait for a few hours and then try to pay again. This is unfortunately a major inconvenience because you might have to fill out the whole application form again, but there is no circumventing the requirement to obtaining an approved eTA.


The vast majority of eTA payment problems have been covered in this article. We hope that, by working through the list and eliminating the possible causes of your payment issue one by one by one, you will quickly find the reason for your troubles and be able to successfully complete your eTA payment.