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Why Is My Credit Card Being Declined?


Why Is My Credit Card Being Declined?
Reading Time: 3 Min

Is your credit card being declined more often than not? It can be frustrating when you try to use your card to buy something or to pay a bill, only for it to decline out of nowhere. Whether it’s due to insufficient funds, expired cards, or suspicious activity – we outline how to identify and resolve it.

Reasons Why Your Credit Card Is Declining

A card declining doesn’t always indicate insufficient funds. If you’re unsure what might be causing this issue, below are a few of the most common causes:

  • Insufficient Credit Limit. Your credit card might decline if you don’t have enough credit to cover the purchase. This can happen if you have maxed out your card or if you reached your credit limit.
  • Expired Card. Sometimes your card expires without your knowledge. Your card’s expiry date will be printed on the back so you can easily check to see if it is still valid.
  • Cancelled Card. This may seem obvious, but if you have cancelled your card or reported it lost or stolen, you will no longer be able to make payments on it.
  • Incorrect Card Information or CVV Code. Sometimes, a simple typo or entering incorrect information can result in your credit card being declined. The CVV code, also known as the Card Verification Value, is a three or four-digit number found on the back of your card. Providing the wrong CVV code can trigger a decline, so take care when inputting this information.
  • Suspicious or Fraudulent Activity. If your bank detects suspicious or fraudulent activity on your card, it may temporarily place it on hold to protect you from unauthorized charges. This can be inconvenient but is a necessary security measure. Your bank will typically contact you immediately if they place your card on hold for security reasons.
  • Technical issues with the card reader or payment gateway. Sometimes, the issue may not be with your credit card but rather with the card reader or payment gateway. Technical glitches can occur, causing your card to decline, even if there are no issues with your card or account. If you suspect this to be the case, try using a different card reader or payment method.

What Steps To Follow If Your Card Declines

If your card declines, what steps should you take to resolve it? To determine this you need a rough idea of the cause. Consider checking the following in order:

  1.        1. Check your available credit and ensure you have enough funds to cover the  
  2.             purchase.
  3.        2. Verify that your card has not expired and request a new one if necessary.
  4.        3. Double-check the card information and CVV code to ensure accuracy.
  5.        4. Contact your bank to inquire about any potential holds or suspicious activity. 
  6.             If your bank froze your card due to suspected fraudulent activity, you must 
  7.             prove that it is you to go forward with your purchase.
  8.        5. Troubleshoot technical issues by using a different card reader or payment 
  9.             method.
  10.        6. Seek assistance from the merchant or service provider if the problem 
  11.            persists.

Preventing Future Credit Card Declines

Now that you’ve resolved the issue and your credit card is working smoothly again, it’s important to take proactive measures to prevent future declines. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid insufficient credit. Keep track of your available credit and try not to exceed it. If you don’t have enough funds to cover a purchase, consider paying off some of the balance or requesting a credit limit increase later on.
  • Keep track of your card expiry dates. Most banks will warn you if your card is nearly expired. Otherwise, set up your own reminders.
  • Monitor your card activity for unauthorized charges. Sometimes there is genuinely suspicious activity on your account. Keep an eye out for suspicious or unauthorized charges and report them immediately.
  • Update your card information if you move or change your contact details. If you suddenly start using your card in another state, your bank might find this suspicious.
  • Set up alerts and notifications from your bank. This will let you know if any issues come up with your card.
  • Only use secure websites and payment gateways when you buy things online.
  • Be cautious when sharing your card information and only provide it to trusted sources.
  • Consider using virtual credit cards or mobile payment apps for added safety.

These preventive measures can help you minimize the chances of experiencing credit card declines and enjoy hassle-free transactions.


It can be stressful when your card declines, but once you understand why, it’s much easier to resolve and prevent this issue. The most concerning reasons for your card declining are typically fraud-related, so it’s important to keep an eye out for suspicious account activity and technical glitches to ensure you don’t run into trouble later on. With sufficient knowledge and preventative measures in place, you can confidently use your credit card without any interruptions.

Author Bio

Mohamed Konate

Mohamed Konate is a personal finance expert, blogger, and marketing consultant based out of Toronto. He is a former financial services professional who worked for many years at major Canadian financial institutions where he managed the marketing strategy around various financial products ranging from credit cards to lines of credit. Mohamed is passionate about personal finance and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Quebec (Montreal) and a Master in International Business from the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec).He is also the author of the Canadian Credit Card Guidebook. Read his full author bio

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