Why does my card keep getting declined?

Why does my card keep getting declined

When most people think about a card being declined, they believe it is due to a lack of funds, however, this is not always the case. There could be a number of reasons as to why a transaction did not go through but rather was declined. 

Even though it could be tied to your balance or credit limit, other reasons for the decline could be at play. Read more to find out why your card may keep getting declined.  

Why has my card declined?

When your card gets declined, it doesn’t always necessarily mean it’s your fault. However, in order to resolve this issue, you need to pinpoint why it declined in the first place. 

Without figuring out why the card declined, you will not be able to use your card for any other transactions. One way to figure out why it got declined is by calling your bank so they can outline what the issue is for you. 

12 reasons your card was declined

Here are 12 possible reasons why your credit card was declined. 

You hit your credit limit

Within credit cards, you are given a maximum limit of credit. Therefore, your card can reject payments that make you go above and beyond your credit limit. 

It is important to note that spending more than 30% of your credit card’s available funds does have a negative impact on your credit score. It is ideal to keep your credit card utilization low and preferably at 10%.

Insufficient funds

If you are using a debit card, one of the main reasons these cards get declined is because of insufficient funds. Unlike a credit card, a debit card is taking these funds out of your checking account. Therefore, if you do not have enough money to cover this expense, it will prevent the transaction from going through.

You hit your transaction limit

Often banks instill transaction limits on debit cards, which can be one of the reasons why your card is declined. These purchase limits usually range from around $2,000 to $7,000 per day. 

However, this amount is dependent on the bank and your account. It is important to diversify your spending if you know you will be making large purchases within one given day to prevent this from happening.

Travel restrictions

If you are traveling outside the country, and you did not alert your bank, sometimes your card will be declined. This is because the bank is not aware of your travels and could flag the transaction as potential fraud or theft. If you are going on vacation anytime soon or relocating, notify your bank to prevent this problem.

Incorrect payment information

Sometimes our card is declined due to us putting in incorrect information. Make sure your card number, expiration date, zip code, PIN, and CVV are all accurate to rule out this possibility. For your protection, transactions will be declined when your card’s input information is incorrect.

Damaged card

Unfortunately, cards are prone to get damaged. If you have coins in your wallet, they can scratch your magnetic strip which will eventually make it unreadable to process. Additionally, if your card is bent or the PIN chip is damaged, it is recommended that you get a replacement card so that machines can pick up your card’s information and be able to finalize your transactions, which can’t be done with a damaged card. 

Missed payments

If you have a history of missed payments on your card, the bank can decline any new transactions until the overdue amount has been paid. It is especially important to pay off any overdue payments because those can negatively impact your credit score. In order to ensure that you are caught up with all of your payments, log into your online bank account and check for any overdue amounts.

Large purchases

When you go to purchase something expensive, your card is at a greater risk of being declined. This could be due to two reasons. First of all, the bank might flag the transaction as suspicious. The other possibility is that you have insufficient funds. 

If you make a very large purchase with a retailer you do not normally purchase goods or services from, this can alert card issuers and cause them to be alarmed. In turn, they might prevent the charge from going through just in case.

Expired or deactivated card

When your card expires, you can no longer use it to make purchases. Your card will usually expire on the last day of its expiration month so it is important to issue a replacement card prior to this date. Additionally, your card may have been deactivated for fraudulent or suspicious activity which may require you to also request a replacement card. 

There is a hold on your card

When a hold is placed on your debit card, it reduces your actual bank balance and therefore your access to funds. This hold may take place over a course of several days, which is typically three or four in total. The hold could explain why your card has been declined. In order to remove a hold, you’ll have to contact your bank and ask them to assist you. 

Suspicious activity 

If your card is making abnormal purchases, your card issuer can flag these transactions as suspicious activity. However, if you are not the one making these purchases, contact your bank immediately since someone may have your card’s information. If this is the case, you will need to request a replacement card to protect yourself and your bank account.

Card type is not accepted

Some stores only accept certain types of credit cards and card types. If you tried purchasing an item through a store that does not accept your card type, this can result in your card being declined. Try using another card or cash to prevent this from happening.

What do I do if my card is declined? 

Regardless of why your card declined, there are various ways to counteract this. To resolve this issue as quickly as possible, here are some tips on how to fix your card being declined. 

Debit card

If your debit card is declined, the first thing you need to do is call your financial institution directly. They can help explain why your card was declined and what needs to be done. 

A representative can assist you in resetting your PIN, verifying the desired transaction, increasing your withdrawal amount, and unfreezing your account. Additionally, if you need to request a replacement card, they can help you with this as well.

Credit card

Similarly to resolving a declined debit card, for a credit card one should also contact their financial institution. Additionally, when speaking with a representative you can figure out why this transaction was declined. If your card was declined due to an overdue balance, you can pay through the phone and it should be resolved very quickly.

Reducing the number of times your card declines 

In order to reduce the chances of your card being declined, there are some habits you should form. Firstly, make sure you are actively looking through your card’s balance to make sure you are not missing any overdue payments. 

Additionally, notify your bank if you are traveling or think you may have a damaged card. Moreover, ensure the retailer you are trying to purchase from also takes your card type. 

How to resolve your card being declined 

Although your card being declined can be an annoyance or stress inducing, there are ways to counteract this from happening. Make sure to keep tabs on your financials within your card’s account and speak with your bank if there have been any suspicious transactions. 

There are various reasons why your card could have been declined, so the first step to resolving this issue is pinpointing the cause. Once that is done, contacting your card issuer can help you get your card working back to normal in no time.


Why is my card being declined?

Your card can be declined as the result of having insufficient funds, being expired, or getting flagged for suspicious activity. Another possibility is that your card was declined because the card is damaged or you were trying to finalize a large purchase.

Why is my card being declined when I have money?

It could do with the type of transaction, whether the retailer takes your card type, if you put in the correct information, or if you’ve reached your transaction limit.

Does a card decline affect my credit score?

No, your card being declined does not affect your credit score. However, if it is declined due to overdue payments, you’ll need to make those payments before they have a negative impact on your score.

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