Finance, Lifehacks, Tips

What Do You Do When Your Card Is Declined

Having a credit card declined isn’t a great feeling, but it happens and there’s no need to worry. It could be a mistake, in which case, there are steps you can take to fix the problem. If your card was declined for a legitimate reason, you can still rectify the situation and activate it again. Keep reading to learn what to do if this happens to you. 

1. If You’ve Hit Your Credit Limit

What Happens If You Go Over Your Credit Card Limit?

The first thing you’ll need to do is determine why your card was declined. There are several potential reasons, and contacting the credit card company should be your first move. You can get in touch via the phone number on the card, or you can reach out via their website.

Hitting your credit limit could be one reason why a merchant rejected the card. If that happens, you’ll need to pay off at least some of the debt on that card before you can use it again. 

If this has happened before and you’ve reached your limit on multiple cards, it might be time to consolidate credit card debt. When you consolidate, you roll several debts into one, ideally with a better interest rate. This can be beneficial for a variety of reasons, but it won’t help you if you don’t cease spending on your cards after you consolidate. 

2. If You’ve Made a Large Purchase

The credit card company might also flag a purchase as potentially fraudulent if the transaction is much larger than usual. Using the credit card to buy an entire living room furniture set or a massive new TV might seem suspicious to the company if you usually only pay for gas or a cup of coffee.

Contacting the company and telling them the purchase is legit will usually solve the problem. If you’re worried that buying something outside of your typical spending habits could trigger your card being declined, you could even contact the company beforehand to let them know to expect a larger charge than normal.

3. If You’re Traveling


If you live in Cleveland and you’re suddenly paying for an expensive dinner in Las Vegas, that might trigger the card-issuing company to block your purchase attempts. They may not realize you’re traveling, and they might think someone has stolen your card.

You can usually find a place on the credit card company’s website where you can inform them that you’re traveling and that they can expect charges from outside of your typical locale. Do this or give them a call before you leave to avoid potential rejections. 

Don’t Panic if Your Card is Declined

A merchant declining your credit card is not a cause for alarm. Maybe it feels embarrassing for a moment, but you can always contact the card company to see what’s happening.

If you’re traveling, for instance, contacting the card company and telling them you’re on vacation can solve the problem. You might also notify the company if you plan on buying something more expensive than normal.

Maybe you’ve hit the limit of your credit with that company. If this is the case, you can pay off some of that debt before using the card again. You might even look into credit card debt consolidation if you owe money on multiple cards. Doing so can get you a better interest rate in many cases, and it will simplify the debt repayment process.

There’s normally a logical reason for a merchant declining your card, and a call to the card-issuing company can reveal what steps you can take to alleviate the problem. 

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