Why does my card keep getting declined?

Answered by John Hunt

There are several reasons why your card may be getting declined. Let’s explore each possibility in detail:

1. Card expiration: One common reason for a card decline is that it has expired. Credit and debit cards typically have an expiration date printed on them, and once that date passes, the card becomes invalid. This is a security measure to ensure that you receive a new card with updated security features. If your card has expired, you will need to contact your card issuer to request a new card.

2. Credit limit exceeded: Another reason for card declination could be that you have exceeded your credit limit. Credit cards have a predetermined credit limit set by the card issuer, and if you have reached or surpassed that limit, any further transactions will be declined. It’s important to regularly monitor your credit card balance and usage to avoid surpassing your limit. If you have exceeded your credit limit, consider paying down your balance or contacting your card issuer to discuss a credit limit increase.

3. Suspicious activity: Card issuers have sophisticated fraud detection systems in place to protect cardholders from unauthorized transactions. If the card issuer detects any suspicious activity, such as a large purchase in a different location or multiple transactions within a short period, they may decline the transaction to prevent potential fraud. While this may be inconvenient, it is a security measure to safeguard your funds. If you believe your card was declined due to suspicious activity, contact your card issuer immediately to verify the transactions and resolve any issues.

4. Merchant holds: Sometimes, hotels, rental car companies, or other businesses may place a block or hold on your card. This is typically done to ensure they can cover the estimated total of your bill. For example, when you check into a hotel, they may place a hold on your card for the expected cost of your stay, plus any additional charges like room service or incidentals. This hold temporarily reduces your available credit or funds, and if you don’t have enough available, it can result in a declined transaction. The hold will be released once you settle your bill, but it’s important to be aware of these potential merchant holds when using your card.

5. Technical issues: Occasionally, technical issues can cause card declines. It could be a connectivity problem between the merchant’s payment system and your card issuer, or a temporary issue with the card processing network. These issues are usually resolved quickly, but if you experience persistent declines, it’s a good idea to contact your card issuer to ensure there are no underlying problems with your card or account.

There are various reasons why your card may be getting declined, including card expiration, exceeding your credit limit, suspicious activity, merchant holds, and technical issues. It’s important to stay vigilant, monitor your card usage, and contact your card issuer if you encounter any issues to ensure the security and smooth operation of your card.