If you’ve ever had you credit card rejected, you know it’s a nightmare when you don’t have any cash on you. The embarrassment of being told the card is declined can be bad enough. The inconvenience of needing to schlep over to an ATM after explaining you’ll be right back is even worse.
If it’s any consolation, there are plenty of reasons why your credit card was rejected. Sometimes it’s not even your fault at all. That probably won’t help your case to a date when out to dinner, but it might be able to give you some peace of mind. Here are some of the common reasons cards are declined.
Did you know that 40 percent of all financial fraud stems from credit cards? That’s $5.55 billion in credit card fraud each year. It’s a staggering number that looks like it will only rise as credit cards become even more widespread. Credit cards lose a lot of money from this fraud, so they’ve been proactive in stamping out this problem.
Credit card companies do a good job of recognizing fraud when it happens, so they might shut down your credit card before you even realize it. Sometimes the companies are a little overzealous, as the next two reasons will prove.
2. Online Purchases
If you’re buying things that seem out of the norm, your credit card company might flag your account and put any purchases on hold until it can confirm you’re the person doing the buys. That’s a welcome feature when somebody does actually steal your information, but it’s become increasingly common to have a card declined when making a legitimate purchase.
One report found that 17 percent of all credit card customers surveyed had their credit card rejected at least once when trying to buy something online. Out of that group, only a third knew why their card was actually declined.
3. International Transactions
When you’re logged into your credit card website, you’ll probably see the option to set a travel notification. By doing so, you let your credit card company know where and when you’ll be out of the country.
If you’re going abroad, you’ll definitely want to either send the notification online or give your company a call. Otherwise you’ll find your transactions declined and your card placed on hold until you can get in touch with your company. This is a big hassle when traveling, as you might not have a phone or internet access.
Based on personal experience, sometimes the travel notification isn’t enough and your credit card company might still decline some transactions.
You don’t even need to be traveling. Sometimes all it takes is ordering something from an international retailer to have your card declined. Those anti-fraud measures sometimes work a little too well.
4. Maxed Out
If you’ve reached your credit card limit, whether it’s $1,000 or $100,000, your next transaction will likely be declined. That’s frustrating, but there’s something refreshing about having your credit card declined for your own reasons rather than some fraud-stopping algorithm.
5. You Lost Access
This is a rough one. If you’re sharing a credit card with parents or a significant other, that other person could remove you as an authorized user without your knowledge or permission. If that’s the case, you’ll want to get in touch with the other person immediately to figure out what’s going on. Also, don’t hesitate to beg for forgiveness if you did something wrong. That might help.
The most frustrating thing about having your credit card declined is you don’t know the reason until after the fact:
- Maybe the machine is broken?
- Did I max out the card?
- Is it because I bought those plane tickets?
Whatever happens, don’t feel too bad. You aren’t the first person to have your credit card declined, and you definitely won’t be the last.