If you try to “gift” an iPhone app, or other iTunes online purchase to a friend or relative, chances are you’ll receive the dreaded “credit card declined” message, regardless of the payment method you use or whether that payment method is perfectly valid! It’s a widespread issue that is affecting a number of Apple customers, and has been voiced in the forums over the last month or so.
Apple hasn’t taken any widespread action other than to fix the odd account here and there so that payments once again work for certain customers, however some of those people report that the problem returns a few days later. The worst part is, you can add a new payment method, and it will be instantly declined without so much as even attempting to truly authorize or collect payment from your bank (or PayPal). What gives Apple? How hard are you going to make it for us to give you money???
The running rumor is that the declines are related to IP addresses. Apple supposedly doesn’t allow gift purchases when the computer’s IP address doesn’t match the bill-to country of origin. Makes sense from a fraud perspective (especially for those scammers who launder money through gift cards), however my IP is from the good ole USA, just like my payment accounts!
I’ve opened a support ticket with Apple, so we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, my iTunes gifts are on hold. What a shame.
Edit – 9/22/2010: Over a week later and I finally get a response from Apple. They’ve “fixed” my problem with no other explanation, and yes, gift purchases do work again for me… for now.