5 Ways to Avoid a Card Decline

“Your card was declined”. Possibly the most embarrassing set of words a person can hear while out shopping. Whether the decline was your fault or not, it’s never fun to hear that you are unable to afford something. If you aren’t sure why your credit or debit card was declined out of nowhere, a few things could play a role. The CGS Team is sharing common scenarios for a card decline and 5 ways to avoid a card decline happening to you.

#1 Spending more than your limit

Did you know that all debit cards and some credit cards have a daily spending limit? While most of us don’t use debit cards for exceptionally high-priced purchases in the same day, if you found yourself in that spot, your debit card may be declined. So how do you know what your daily spending limit is? Your bank will tell you, and if you keep your financial documentation (like you should), the statement that came with your new card will specify the daily limit.

Maybe you didn’t exceed your daily spending limit, but your card was still declined. Well, are you at your credit limit? If so, a decline is sure to follow. Most credit card companies will not allow you to spend past your total credit limit. If they do, you can bet fees will follow. The similar applies to your debit card. If you don’t have enough cash in your bank account to pay for the entire purchase, then your card will likely be declined. You can set up overdraft protection to make sure that doesn’t happen, but it’s always a best practice to only spend what’s in your bank account.

#2 You moved and forgot to change your information

In some cases, like checking out online or at the gas pump, you are required to enter information like your zip code and address. If you enter the wrong information, your card will be declined. Not only is it important to ensure that all of your cards are updated with your current address and information to avoid a decline, it’s also important to make sure you aren’t missing any necessary documents or letters that may have been mailed.

#3 There’s a hold on your account

When you’re paying for something (usually service or travel related), some companies require a card on file. They may not charge anything to that card, but they could place a financial hold.

According to Money Talk News, “If you rent a car, book a hotel room, or rent a U-Haul, the company you’re doing business with will estimate how much you might end up spending and put a temporary hold on your card. For example, your hotel might put a hold for a three-night stay plus incidental purchases such as treats from the room’s mini-bar. A temporary hold lowers your available credit and can trigger an over-the-limit problem. When you’re paying at the end of a service or stay, ask in advance if there will be a hold, and if so, for how much. Then mentally deduct that amount from your card’s available balance. And always carry a backup card just in case.”

#4 Out of state (or country) purchases

If you aren’t one to travel often, but find yourself using you cards in a new state or country, you may be facing a card decline. Since the purchases are out of sync with your normal spending patterns, companies have systems in place to track and stop those out-of-the-ordinary purchases from going through.’

The next time you have a trip to another state or country coming up, pick one or two cards that you will need and call the card company. Let them know you will be travelling and will be using your card while away. This will ensure their system doesn’t put a fraud block on your account for unusual activity. You can also check to see if your card has any foreign transaction fees. If so, switch to another card that doesn’t.

#5 Your card expired

Most banks are good about sending you a replacement card about a month or two before your current card is set to expire. If for some reason you never got the card, or failed to check the mail, using an expired card is a sure-fire way to get a decline. Start keeping an eye on the mail about a month or two before your card expires. If you don’t receive one two weeks prior to your current card expiring, call your bank to reissue a new one.


The five scenarios above are a lot more common than you think. Be ahead of the game by being proactive with your cards. Avoid a card decline by staying on top of your information and letting your card company know of upcoming changes. Have you ever been declined for a transaction? Were you embarrassed or didn’t care? Share your decline experiences with us and other CGS readers by posting a reply comment below!

-The CGS Team



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