Tesla Supercharger Payment Failed – Quick Fix!

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to charge your Tesla, and you see an error message. Payment problems are usually simple fixes. I’ve been a mechanic for 25+ years; we’ll have you Supercharging shortly.

Common reasons for Tesla Supercharge fail messages include:

  • Unpaid charges
  • New payment card
  • Free Supercharging requires a card on file
  • Too many Supercharges

In this article, we’ll look at why the payment has failed, how to fix it, and things to avoid in the future.


Unpaid Charges

The most common reason for your Supercharger to fail is that there is an unpaid amount on your account. How could I have an unpaid amount? When you Supercharge, the final amount can only be calculated when you are finished charging.

The amount you owe can differ if you are being charged per minute and not per kWh.

The price per minute can vary depending on your tier, as shown in the sample below.

Tier 1Tier 2Tier 3Tier 4
Lowest price cost per minuteSecond lowest price cost per minuteSecond highest price cost per minuteHighest price cost per minute
Below 60kWhBetween 60 and 100 kWhBetween 100 and 180 kWhAbove 180 kWh

Payment is automatically processed when you are done. However, the payment might not be fully complete, or additional idle fees might appear after you are finished charging.

These charges then appear on your account as an ‘Unpaid Balance.’

You might not even realize it until you go to Supercharge the next time, and it won’t allow payment to be complete, or you see an unpaid balance on your Tesla account.

I know I rarely check my account balance (which is not a good solution), but it’s probably a good habit to start.

Idle fees will be waived if you disconnect and move within five minutes of a full charge, but if your Tesla remains for any longer, you will be penalized.

I do understand this, as it is frustrating if you arrive at a Supercharger and the owner ahead of you is nowhere to be seen.

If an Unpaid Balance prevents further Supercharging, it’s easily solved.

  • Go to your Tesla App
  • Account
  • Charging
  • Supercharging balance
  • Pay Now

It’s generally idle fees that are the Unpaid Balance or a New Card that needs to be activated, which is what we’ll look at now.

New Card to Be Added to Tesla Account

Have you recently changed your Debit or Credit Card? Has your card recently expired? I wrote a post recently covering common Supercharging fails, which you may find helpful – Tesla Supercharger won’t start.

I know I’m not great with Debit Cards and regularly lose them. I think that I have updated my details on all bills and then realized that a payment failed to go through on a particular account.

Tesla payment methods will accept all of the following:

  • American Express
  • Visa
  • Diners
  • Mastercard
  • JCB
  • Discover

You can have multiple payment methods attached to your card, but the Primary card must always be up to date. If it has been canceled or expired, the payment will fail.

It is easily adjusted through your Tesla App

  • Open Tesla App
  • Select ‘Add Card
  • Make adjustments as needed
  • Save

You can always change it in the Charging section by choosing Manage Payment.

Free Supercharging

Many Tesla owners have free Supercharging. You can check this in your Tesla App.

  • Manage
  • View Details
  • Supercharge Status
    • Free Unlimited
    • Pay per Use
    • Timebound Supercharge
ModelYearFree Supercharging
S2012 – 2020Possibly FREE
X2016 – 2020FREE
32018 – 2019First Owner Only
Y~No FREE Supercharging

A code might be assigned to your car, which is especially useful if you are not the first owner of it. This will tell you whether the free supercharging has been transferred to you.

SC 00No Supercharging
SC 01Unlimited Free Supercharging  (no restrictions)
SC 04Paid Supercharging
SC 05Unlimited Free Supercharging (first owner only)
SC 06Unlimited Free Supercharging (time-bound)

Most newer models only have free supercharging for the first owner, but you might have been lucky enough to pick up a used model with free supercharging for life – which is fantastic.

I know what you’re thinking. I have free supercharging, so how could I get a notification saying that Payment has failed?

This is one of two things.

  • You must have a registered card linked to your account
  • You have idle fees

The registered card must be active and must be able to take charges. If you already have a card attached to your account, you should check that everything is correct.

Idle fees are not included in free supercharging; if you incur them, your account will be charged accordingly. Idle fees are not something you want; they are expensive and can rack up quite quickly.

Idle Fee CostPer MinutePer minute if Station is 100% Occupied

Idle fees can be paid similarly to any other ‘Unpaid Balance’ through your Tesla App.

Too Many Supercharges

Tesla maintains that Supercharging does not affect your high-voltage battery. But in the same breadth, they also recommend that you charge your Tesla every day, at home, using a Tesla Wall Connector. And only to Supercharge if you have a long journey ahead.

I recently wrote a post about this subject, which you may find helpful – Is it better to charge a Tesla slowly?

But many Tesla owners don’t have a TWC at home. So choosing a Supercharger or a Destination Charger is the only option available, and you’re going to select the one that is closest to you and most convenient.

Supercharging uses DC (Direct Current) power. This generates much higher temperature levels in your high-voltage battery. Your Tesla computers monitor the battery’s temperature, and if there has been a lot of recent supercharging, your access to the station can be limited.

Usually, the limit is reduced from 100% to 80% charge, but if supercharging has been frequent, access might be denied, and you’ll be notified that payment has been denied.

Then you start thinking that your card has been compromised somehow, but the reality is that your Supercharge account has been temporarily put on hold.

That doesn’t obviously solve your problem if your range is very low. However, only Supercharging is limited; you can charge at a Destination Charger or at home with no issues at all.

I’ve written a ton on common Tesla issues, which hopefully you won’t ever experience, but if you do, we have you covered with these posts:

Check out the Tesla troubleshooting page for problem Teslas.

Check out the Tesla charging page for common Tesla charging problems.

Check out the Tesla category page for a list of popular Tesla posts.

If you are curious about other EV models, check out the EV FAQ category.

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is a technical writer here at EVjuicedup.com. He's a Red Seal qualified Auto Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience working on Classic and Modern Cars. He's worked for GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers.

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