NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Your Card Has Been Declined

Your Card Has Been Declined


Hopefully this has never happened to you: You hand your credit card to a sales clerk to make a purchase then are told, after the clerk swipes it, that your card has been declined. In addition to embarrassing, the situation can be confusing. Exactly why your card was declined?


You Are Making an International Purchase

International purchases are not just air fare tickets to travel to Europe.  An online purchase to a foreign country could raise an alert and stall your credit card. You may find the perfect item online but if that online merchant is based in a foreign country, your activity will be registered as a purchase abroad, and once again, your credit card may not work.  Credit card companies track their customers' card activity. A quick call to your issuer, alerting it to international purchases or travel, can clear the air.


            Your Card is Being Used Fraudulently

If your credit card company suspects your card is being used fraudulently, it will decline all transactions. This is because federal law requires it to reimburse cardholders for any fraudulent charges made to their cards. Unusual spending patterns (such as large purchases or purchases made far from home) may raise red flags that cause your credit card company to decline a transaction. You will usually receive a phone call shortly after the transaction attempt, asking whether or not it was a legitimate purchase.


You Have Reached Your Limit

The most common reason for a card to be declined is not having enough money available on the card. Your credit limit caps your spending on your credit card. Once you reach it, you're cut off. Track your spending and try capping it to below 30% of your credit limit to ensure you don't exceed it. Repeatedly going up to your credit limit could hurt your credit score.


            Your Card Has a Hold on It

 If you recently stayed in a hotel, a hold may have been placed on your card to cover any potential damages to the room. The hold is not permanent, but can often be a source of frustration. Holds can be for as much as 50 percent of the cost of your stay, and it can take several days before the hold is released. Other businesses which may place holds on your card are restaurants--to cover tips--and gas stations.


You’ve Reached Your Day Limit.

Some credit cards also have per-day spending limits. To avoid freezes to your credit card, find out your daily maximum, and keep your purchases in line. Or again, notify your company if there will be a reason for you to need more credit.


Your Entered Info Doesn't Match

In your haste to purchase that auction item online, you may have mistyped your credit card number, expiration date, security code or other important identifying figures. An oversight as small as a mistyped or outdated billing address can also interfere with your credit card going through. If you're making an online purchase, give your information a quick second glance. If you make this mistake just once, it won't freeze your account but it may restrict that purchase.  . But the entry is incorrect numerous times, the restriction may be relayed to your credit card company who may then freeze your card. Remember, this is a safe guard with the goal of stopping fraud.


You've Missed Credit Card Payments

Too many missed payments, and you must take care of the minimum payments due befoe your card will work again.  If you have never, ever missed a payment, this feature may not be in effect. But if you have a history of missing payments, it may take only one missed payment before the company freezes your card.


Your Card Has Expired

Are you attempting to use the new card your company recently mailed to you? Or is a card with an expired date still in your wallet? Do you need to go online to renew special memberships you may have through your card?  Watch for your new card to arrive about 2-4 months in advance of the expiration date.


Your Card Has Been Changed

Does your card have more than one authorized user?  Has the other user made any changes to the account without informing you? Called in to report the card stolen or lost?  If the primary cardholder made changes to the account without an authorized user's knowledge, the user's card could be declined. Passing along information about changes to your card's status is essential when sharing a credit card with others, especially if you're the primary cardholder making decisions that affect other users.

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