The Top 7 Causes of a Declined Credit Card




It is quite embarrassing to try and pay for something with a credit card, only to have the card be declined. It’s even worse if you have no other way to pay for your items. There are all kinds of reasons for having a declined credit card. Continue reading and you will find out what they are and how you can resolve these issues.

1) Credit Card Limit Has Been Reached

When a credit card is declined, the most common reason is that you’ve reached the maximum credit limit on your card. For people with low credit limits, this problem will happen quite frequently when trying to make purchases.

Sometimes you will be allowed to exceed your credit limit, depending on what your card issuer allows. However, you will have to pay an overcharge fee if that happens. For this reason, it is better to keep track of your credit limit so that you don’t end up in these embarrassing situations or be forced to pay extra fees.

If you don’t use as much of your available credit, it will actually increase your credit score rating. It is recommended that you always stay under 30% of your total credit limit in order to improve your credit score. If you can go even lower, that will help much more.

If you have a couple of hundred dollars for your credit limit, then you will have a hard time staying under it. The best thing to do is request an increase in your credit limit so that you can have more leeway. Your credit card issuer may or may not approve the request, depending on what your current credit score is. If you have a higher credit score now than when you first applied for the card, it will likely get you approved for a higher credit limit.

If you constantly maintain a high balance on your credit card, that will likely get you toward your credit card limit. If you can start making bigger payments toward the debt amount that you owe, it will help you out in more ways than one. You will be charged less interest and it will improve your credit score.

2) Flagged Credit Card Purchase: Suspicion of Fraud

The number one type of identity theft is credit card fraud. For this reason, credit card companies are consistently coming up with new ways to detect unauthorized purchases.

On the downside, if you start making unusual purchases, your credit card could get flagged anyway. For instance, if you travel to another country and make purchases with your card, this will likely set off a red flag on the suspicion that your credit card number was stolen.

Anytime your credit card is declined when you’re using it legitimately, your blood will probably start to boil with frustration. The only thing you can do is call your credit card provider and tell them what is going on. Their phone number can be found on the back of the credit card. If you are traveling overseas and are unable to use the phone, then it is critical to have a backup plan ready to go. Perhaps you could take a spare credit card or debit card with you on this trip. Cash is always a good backup too.

Before going on an overseas trip, it is a good idea to call your credit card provider first and let them know where you’re traveling to. This will help prevent a red flag from going off and having your credit card be declined.

Some credit card providers and banks let you establish a text alert system where you can text message them to confirm or deny any suspicions of fraud.

3) A Big Purchase is Still Pending

If you have made one or more big purchases recently, they have probably caused you to reach your credit card limit already. If you try to make any more purchases, even if the other ones are pending, the new ones will be denied.

A lot of times, if you make credit card purchases at gas stations, hotels, or car rental businesses, they will place a temporary hold on your card. They do this to ensure that you have the balance available to pay the funds you owe them.

Pending transactions and credit card holds can take several days to clear. This will cause problems when trying to make more purchases.

To resolve the issue, try calling your credit card provider and see if they will remove the hold. If that doesn’t work, call the merchant and see if they can remove it from their end. If these things don’t work, then you simply must wait for the hold to expire or complete.



4) Wrong Information was Entered

If you want to make an online purchase with a credit card, you need to make sure that you enter in the exact 15-digit or 16-digit number correctly. If you mistype or leave out just one number, that will cause the credit card to be declined. The same will happen if you mistype the security code on the back or the expiration date of the card.

So, whenever your credit card is declined online, check over the information you typed and make sure it is accurate. If you’re making a telephone purchase, make sure the other person took down your correct credit card information.

5) Missed Payments

If you keep missing your monthly credit card payments that are due, the issuer of the card will not trust you using it anymore. As a result, they will decline any purchases that you make in the future until you start making your payments again. On top of that, your credit score will be ruined too.

To quickly remedy this situation, call your credit card issuer and ask them which steps you need to take to restore your card privileges again.

Just keep your monthly payments current. If you lose a job or have financial troubles, it is better to let the issuer know that right away. They may be able to set up a modified payment plan for you in this case.

6) Expired Credit Card

When your credit card is about to expire in a few months, the issuer will usually mail a new one to you. However, if you have moved to a new address recently and didn’t notify your credit card issuer about it, they will mail your new card to the old address. Then you won’t be able to activate your new card or use your existing card because it will be expired.


Since you probably have an online account with your credit card company, it should be easy to update your address with them. If you have not received your new card yet, ask the issuer to resend it to your updated address.

If you still don’t receive your credit card, even though the address on the account is correct, contact the issuer and make sure they send the replacement card to your new address.


If you just updated your address recently, it will take a few extra days for the new card to get there. But if it’s been a lot longer, your new card may have gotten stolen or lost. If you suspect this happened, request another card. Also, check your account transactions regularly to see if any unauthorized purchases have been made.

7) Your Credit Card Account Was Closed

Your credit card account may have been closed by the issuer without you knowing. This can happen for several reasons. For instance, if your credit report starts to have negative ratings, the issuer will find this out. They may then decide that you’re too much of a risk, so they’ll cancel your account.

Other reasons they’ll close your account may include:
You don’t use your credit card at all.
A zero balance.
The credit card agreement terms were broken.
The primary cardholder on the account has removed your authorization to use the card.
The account was inadvertently closed.

In any event, contact your credit card issuer and find out why your account was closed.

You may be able to fight the account closure, depending on why it was closed. But if the issuer does not want to reopen it for you, then you’ll need to use a different payment method from now on.

Keep a Backup Payment Method

A declined credit card does not happen often. Regardless, keep another credit card handy as a backup payment method in case your regular card is declined. If you don’t have another credit card, keep cash or a debit card readily available.

Always track your account balance and credit limit to ensure they are within normal range. Then just make your monthly payments on time and never miss a payment. If you can do that, you should not have any problems.

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