Your Credit Card Went into Denial and the Reason That Killed It

by Bill on December 27, 2013

credit card theft

It’s happened to pretty much everybody with a credit card. No, don’t tell me you never got your card declined; you know you did at least once. It’s really nothing to be embarrassed about, but you should be aware why it happened.

The Seven Most Common Reasons Your Credit Card is Declined

Generally these are reasons your credit card transaction gets denied. Some you can avoid others you can’t. I’ll go over some of the root causes down the page here.

  1. incorrect personal information
  2. improperly typed or spoken numbers
  3. the card is expired
  4. the card, or its information, was stolen
  5. you maxed out the card
  6. you missed one too many payments
  7. there’s a hold on the card

Denied Credit Transaction? Now Why Would That Happen?

You’re standing at the checkout line and thinking aloud when this usually happens. Sometimes you’re at the ATM and your credit card transaction is denied. Of the seven above, here are the most common reasons that fall into this category:

The numbers weren’t punched into the computer or terminal properly. This would happen just about anywhere. Either you, or someone on the other end of the transaction, entered the account number wrong, or the security numbers on the back wrong, or even the expiration date could trip a denied transaction on your credit card.

If you’re buying something online make sure the address or other information you enter matches the card exactly. I can’t tell you how often I got tripped up over my middle initial either being, or not being, needed. Another stupid thing is your birth date. Don’t forget to check this because you probably entered this year instead of your birth year.

Credit Card Declined: Did You Not Notice Something?

One of the biggest reasons lately for a credit card being declined is the info was stolen. There are nine ways this can happen with your card. If your card was declined, check your latest bank statement or call the issuer. There should be a way to find out the last ten or twenty transactions on the card; if any of these seem suspicious you most likely just became a victim of credit card fraud. If that happens, you can check out this post on what to do next.

Check the expiration date on the card. It’s usually at the bottom near the Visa or MasterCard symbols. Most times the card issuer sends out a replacement card weeks in advance; almost always the new card arrives in a plain white or brown envelope. Did you toss the envelope out? Did you forget to replace the old card with the new one? Did you get the new one? Yes that last one happened to me once. If you don’t have the new one call the issuer immediately and see if they can send a replacement. It may be a hassle, but it’s better than nothing.

Famous Last Words, “I’m Sorry Your Credit Card Was Denied”

Always check your balance.  If you’re at an ATM check it there; it should be on the receipt. If you have an online account check it there; you should have a run down of activity and a balance.

Did you max out your card? Honestly, if you do lots of cash withdraws this isn’t that hard to do. You should really maintain some sort of permanent balance on the card. Also, if you use the card for things like gas, food, or other disposable items it’s easy to forget those if you don’t keep the receipts. Keep the receipts for 30 days just so you know what you spent money on.

Is there a hold on your card? Here’s one that utility companies, online providers such as Amazon, or hotels will do to ensure the cash is there. Always ask if there is a hold placed on the card when using it for this purpose. Reservations and service payments are known to need a hold amount. I’ve seen PayPal put $1 on a card just to make sure the card information is real. But that dollar can put you over your credit limit.

Frozen Credit and Sudden Changes in Spending

You were late with a payment; we’ve all done this at least once. You tried to get a payment in under the wire and most likely missed. Here’s the problem, do that often enough and the card issuer will consider you a problem. Miss paying even the minimum payment more than a couple of times and you’re sure to get put on ice.

 Miscommunication almost always results in problems with credit cards being turned down. If you have a joint credit account with someone check on this. If their card was reported lost or stolen the entire account is frozen. If they removed you from the account you wouldn’t know it until trying to use the card. If the credit limit was lowered you wouldn’t know that either.

Anybody else have a suggestion or experience to share?

William Swan, writer

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{ 1 comment }

Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter December 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm

One time, my fiance was trying to buy an app for his phone and he kept on getting a denied payment. He asked me to look at it and he wasn’t even typing in the numbers correctly and he kept trying. He was missing his security code and because he tried so many times unsuccessfully, the company locked his card.
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