What happens when a recurring credit card is declined

Greeting S2 Team,

Can someone tell me what actually happens when a credit card that is supporting a recurring subscription over time finally declines or expires. Specifically the card is no longer good and it dies.

What happens on the s2member side?
I would want s2member to downgrade the account but i am not sure what it really does.
Funny I can’t find that statement specifically.

In this case I am using Stripe but I would assume the answer would apply to all/most gateways.


I believe Stripe has a setting which determines how many times a card is tried before a transaction is considered “dead”. Once that limit is reached there should be an IPN event telling s2Member that the subscription was not renewed successfully. (There may be an IPN event about the card failing, but I’m not sure about that.)

If the subscription is not renewed by the EOT time the Member will be demoted by default. You can change that behavior and delete them instead here WP Dashboard → s2Member (Pro) → Stripe Options → Auto EOT Behavior.

Hello JediShark,

If a credit card is charging a fee every month, and one month it fully fails, what is the EOT of that recurring monthly subscription. Is the EOT the failing of that card?


The termination time is the current EOT plus whatever grace period you’ve allowed (default is 24 hours). Assuming the card is charged on the EOT date and you have the default grace period then the account will be terminated (demoted or deleted per your settings) 24 hours after the current EOT.

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I believe I’m having a problem in this area. Members are complaining that they didn’t see a renewal email notice. Members that have fixed 1year subscriptions I believe are fine as the have a EOT date and s2member has it so it sends a message to them 30days, 7days and 1 day out. However, recurring subscriptions do not have an (EOT) and s2member does not message to this group. But what happens with the recurring member’s credit card expired or declines? Is there no way to get a message out to that member when this happens so they know to update or change their billing? I thought in the admin for the EOT email reminder I could add a +2 to customize email in hopes to catch that member based on what JediShark wrote that the EOT is the termination time plus the grace period. However Im not sure if that will work.

For those looking for this I was going to apply this hack to notify recurring members that they have a new bill coming up. https://s2member.com/kb-article/eot-renewalreminder-emails-for-next-payment-time/
But it doesn’t solve how to reach them if their cc is declined.