Things to check before Mobile Marketplace registration

A large number of people have reported issues when trying to register with the Windows Mobile Marketplace.  The registration system seems to be flaky as hell.   People, particularly outside of the US, are having no end of problems paying for their Developer Subscriptions.  To make matters worse they don’t seem to be getting an awful lot of help from Microsoft Support on what to do about it.

This problem with Microsoft and credit cards is not unique to the Marketplace.  I’ve had problems with Microsoft and certain credit cards when trying to do things like buy e-learning courses for my team, paying for conferences and even buying XBOX live points.

Things to Check

So before registering with the Windows Phone Marketplace there are a few things you should check:

  • If you are registering outside of the US you may need to notify your bank in advance.  As a fraud prevention measure some banks automatically decline foreign transactions unless you notify them in advance.   Particularly if you’ve had fraudulent activity on your account in the past.  You may need to contact your bank and let them know you will be making foreign purchases.
  • Log on to https://billing.microsoft.com with the Live ID you are intending to register with.  Here you can see what billing information MS has tied against your Live ID.   This will list anything that Microsoft repeatedly bills you for.  So your  XBOX Live or XNA Creators Club subscriptions might show up here.
    • Make sure ALL the information they have here is correct.
    • The credit card information you enter into Mobile Marketplace should match exactly what you see here.
    • If you are going to use a different credit card to the one(s) listed still make sure the “personal information” section is correct and that you use this same information when entering the new credit card information when you register.
  • I would also suggest logging on to http://accounts.live.com and checking all your information there is also correct, and that your email address has been verified. I’m not sure that this has any affect on the process but mine wasn’t, so it is worth checking.
  • If you have more than one Live ID make sure that when you log on to register with Mobile Marketplace you log on with the one that is associated with credit card you are trying to register with.

And if that didn’t work…

Bad news is that even if all of this information is correct could still have problems.  The fact is that there are some credit/debit cards that it seems like Microsoft just will not accept.  It seems to be something to do with the company they use for credit card processing rejecting the cards at the pre-authorization stage.  It’s really poor on Microsoft’s part, credit cards that are perfectly valid and work perfectly well on other online vendors sites simply don’t work with Microsoft.

If you are still having problems your only options are really to try different credit card.   Other than that you should contact your local Microsoft office and ask them what you can do.