How to Fix ‘Error Initializing or Updating Your Transaction’ in Steam?

Some Steam users are encountering the ‘There seems to have been an error initializing or updating your transaction’ error when trying to purchase a game on Steam. Affected users are reporting that the same error code occurs regardless of the payment method that’s being used – Credit Card, Debit Cards, PayPal, and every other available payment option all trigger this error code.

‘There seems to have been an error initializing or updating your transaction’ in Steam

As it turns it, there are several different causes that are confirmed to cause this particular error. Here’s a list of all the potential culprits that we managed to identify:

  • The Steam account is part of the Beta program – As it turns out, the majority of users that ended up encountering this problem were active members of the Beta program. If this scenario is applicable, you should be able to fix the problem by opting out of the Steam Beta program.
  • Corrupted Steam installation – Another scenario that is proven to cause this problem is some kind of corrupted files present in your Steam installation that is inhibiting the validation of your purchases. In this case, you might be able to fix the problem by forcing Steam to regenerate itself (by deleting every unnecessary file).
  • Corrupted data inside the Download cache – It’s also possible to encounter this error due to some type of corruption located in the Download cache that your Steam installation maintains. In this case, you can fix the problem by cleaning the Download cache.
  • A temporary issue with the desktop app – As it has happened in the past, this issue can also occur due to an issue with the desktop version of the Steam store. If the web infrastructure is not affected, you might be able to complete the process by using the web browser version of the store instead.
  • The account is locked – If you re-tried the failing purchase multiple times, there’s a big chance that your account is now blocked due to security reasons. In this case, you can either way for the lock to expire or you can expedite the process by opening a support ticket with Steam.

Now that you know every potential instance that might cause this error code, here’s how to fix every potential scenario:

Method 1: Opt-out of Steam Beta (if applicable)

As it turns out, the majority of users that have faced this problem where Steam Beta insiders. Fortunately, this issue can be easily addressed by opting out of being an active participant in Steam Beta.

We have managed to find a lot of user reports that managed to get around the ‘There seems to have been an error initializing or updating your transaction’ error immediately after opting out of the beta program.

If this scenario is applicable and you’re currently enrolled in the Beta program of Steam, follow the instructions below to opt-out from it:

  1. Start by opening up the Steam client. Next, access the ribbon bar at the top and click on Steam, then click on Settings from the context menu.
  2. Once you’re inside the Settings menu, click on the Account tab, then move over to the left-hand side and click the Change button associated with Beta Participation. 
  3. Next, used the drop-down menu of Beta Participation to change the current status to None – Opt out of all beta programs. 
  4. Finally, go ahead and restart Steam and clear your cart before retying to re-purchase the item that was failing with the ‘There seems to have been an error initializing or updating your transaction’.
Opting out of Beta participations

If this scenario is not applicable or you’re still encountering the same error code even after opting out of the Beta program, move down to the next potential fix below.

Method 2: ‘Cleaning’ your Steam installation

If the first method didn’t work for you, you can also test to see if the issue is not actually rooted in your Steam installation. Fortunately, there is one solution that’s frequently recommended by Steam’s support in this particular case.

As it turns out, a lot of affected users have managed to fix the problem by navigating to Steam’s install directory and deleting every file and folder except for Steam.exe, \Steamapps\, and \Userdata\ folders. This will not break the installation since the Steam client has regenerative properties, but will successfully clear any corruption instances that might cause this problem.

Here’s a quick step by step guide on cleaning your Steam installation in order to resolve the problem:

  1. Open File Explorer (My Computer) and navigate to the default location of your Steam installation. Unless you installed in a custom location, you’ll find at the end of the following path:
    C:\Program Files\Steam
  2. Once you arrive at the correct location, go ahead and select every file and folder except for the following:
    Steam.exe
    \Steamapps\
    \Userdata\
  3. Once every necessary file is selected, right-click on a selected item and click on Delete from the newly appeared context menu.
    Deleting any every non-relevant file inside the Steam installation
  4. Once every necessary file has been resolved, restart your computer and open Steam once the next startup is complete to allow the app to reinitiate.
  5. Repeat the purchase after clearing your cart and see if the issue is now fixed.

In case you’re still stuck with the ‘There seems to have been an error initializing or updating your transaction’ error, move down to the next potential fix below.

Method 3: Cleaning the Download cache

If none of the potential fixes above have worked for you, another thing you can try is cleaning the Download cache of Steam. Several affected users have reported that the problem was finally resolved after they’ve successfully cleared the download cache – this method will clear most inconsistencies related to a glitched download.

If you haven’t tried to fix the ‘There seems to have been an error initializing or updating your transaction’ error by clearing the Download cache yet, follow the instructions below to do this:

  1. Open your Steam client and clear every item that is currently present in the cart.
  2. Next, go ahead and use the ribbon bar at the top to access the Steam menu.
  3. Once you see the context menu popping up, click on Settings.
  4. From the Settings menu, go ahead and click on the Downloads tab using the vertical menu on the left.
  5. After you do this, move over to the right-hand pane and click on Clear Download Cache (located at the bottom of the screen)
  6. Once you see the confirmation prompt, click on Yes to clear the locally stored cache.
  7. Wait until the operation is finally completed, then log into your Steam account once again and re-attempt to make the purchase.
Clearing Steam’s Download Cache

If the same error code is still occurring, move down to the next potential fix below.

Method 4: Using the Web Browser instead

If none of the potential fixes above have worked in your case, you might be able to bypass the ‘There seems to have been an error initializing or updating your transaction’ error entirely by using the web version of the Steam store instead of the one included inside the application.

We have managed to find a lot of users confirming that this workaround successfully allowed them to complete a purchase that was otherwise failing inside the Steam application.

Follow the instructions below to use the web browser version of the Steam store to complete the process:

  1. Open your default browser and visit the web version of the Steam store.
  2. Once you’re inside the correct web page, click on the Login button (top-right section of the screen) and sign in with the same Steam credentials that you’re using for the desktop app.
    Login with the correct credentials on the Web browser of Steam
  3. Once you are successfully signed in with your account, use the search function to find the game that you previously failed to purchase on the desktop version, then add to the card and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the purchase.
    Purchasing the game via the web browser of Steam
  4. Once the purchase has been successfully completed, click on Remotely Install and the download should automatically start on your PC.
    Downloading the game remotely
  5. Return to the desktop application of Steam and play the game after the download is finally complete.

If this workaround didn’t help you to avoid the apparition of the ‘There seems to have been an error initializing or updating your transaction’ error, move down to the final potential fix below.

Method 5: Contacting Steam Support

Keep in mind that if you received the error multiple times after trying to purchase an item unsuccessfully, Steam bots likely need up locking your account for security reasons – This has been reported to occur by a lot of affected users.

If you retrying the failing purchase a couple of times, your account is likely on alert status due to excessive failed purchase attempts. Depending on the number of tries, your account will either be automatically removed from the alert list after some time or you will stay like this until you get in contact with a support agent.

In case you don’t want to wait for the lock cooldown to expire, you can expedite the process by opening a support ticket with Steam. To do so, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open your default browser and access the official Steam support page.
  2. Once you’re inside the correct page, go ahead and click on Help me with My issue from the right-hand side section of the screen.
    Opening a support ticket with Steam
  3. Next, click on Sign in to Steam and insert your account credentials to complete the sign-up process.
    Signing into Steam
  4. At the next login screen, insert your Steam account name and Password and press Sign-in to initiate sign in with your account.
  5. Once you are successfully signed in, follow the on-screen instructions to open a support ticket.
  6. When a support agent becomes available, explain the issue and ask them to lift the temporary lock enforced after the failed purchases.

Other Guides: Steam Disk Write Error

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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How to Fix ‘Error Initializing or Updating Your Transaction’ in Steam?

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