So, your card was declined. That’s humiliating. And also confusing. It’s not always obvious why it got declined.
If you want answers, check out this list below. Here are five common reasons why a credit card company may have locked down your account.
1. You’ve Hit Your Max
A lot of people equate declined cards with maxed-out ones. And in many cases, they’re right.
All that swiping and signing may eventually catch up to you if aren’t quick to pay off your balance. Once you reach your credit limit, you may not have any available left to make another purchase.
Of course, there are some exceptions.
Some companies allow you to keep using it, even if you go over your limit. But in these cases, your actions come with hefty penalties, so you won’t want to make this a habit.
Instead, track your bills and make sure you pay off as much of your balance as you can.
2. You’ve Made an Unusual Purchase
Credit card companies are constantly monitoring your account to protect you from fraud. They do this by comparing your purchases to the financial profile they’ve made of you.
If a purchase stands out from your normal spending habits, they will:
- Flag your account
- Put a hold on your funds
In most cases, this is a helpful feature that stops criminals from ringing up a huge bill under your name.
But sometimes, your credit card company makes a mistake.
If so, the solution to this mix-up is relatively simple. You can call your company to explain it was actually you who made the purchase.
If it wasn’t you who charged $5,000 worth of fireworks in Berlin, then fixing it is a little more complicated. You’ll want to contact your credit card company right away to discuss your next step.
You should also update the major credit reporting agencies to flag your credit in case other accounts are affected. Monitor your credit and bank accounts carefully to catch any other fraudulent charges.
3. You Haven’t Kept up with Payments
Although your company may help you out of a tight spot, it is isn’t your friend. Ultimately, it’s only issuing you credit with the understanding you’ll pay it back on time.
If you’ve fallen behind on your payments, there’s a chance your credit company may suspend your account until you pay your debts.
Failing to pay your credit card bills on time has other consequences, too. Even just one missed payment may negatively affect your credit score, so you’ll want to make sure you always pay your bills on or before the due date.
4. There’s a Temporary Hold Placed on Your Card
You’re probably looking forward to your upcoming vacation, but it may be the reason why your card was declined. Plenty of hotels and rental car companies place a hold on your credit card when you book their services.
This routine charge acts as a kind of security deposit to cover any possible damages, plus additional charges like room service, valet fees, and bar charges.
Unfortunately, it uses up some of your available credit and reduces how much you have leftover to spend on your holiday.
In most cases, the hotel or rental car company will release the hold and return the funds after you check out or return the vehicle. But until then, this amount will be unavailable to use.
5. You’ve Shared Wrong Information
Online shopping makes it easier to spend money than ever before unless you have a habit of button mashing.
You have to share specific information with the online retailer to confirm your account is valid and has enough funds for the transaction. Any errors in your billing information will make it impossible for the retailer to check your account.
If your card was declined online, double check to make sure you haven’t made a mistake, paying close attention to:
- Account numbers
- Expiration dates
- ZIP code
- CVV number
How to Handle a Declined Card in an Emergency
Having your card declined due to a temporary hold when you’re shopping for souvenirs is embarrassing. But ultimately, it’s not the end of the world.
But what are you supposed to do when a purchase can’t wait? Like when your car breaks down, and it needs immediate and costly repairs if you expect to get to work in the morning.
It may take too long to get a backup credit card to help you cover an unexpected repair. In which case, an online personal line of credit may be a practical option.
An online personal line of credit is a simple, fast, and convenient alternative to your credit card. And, some lenders won’t need a flawless credit score to get a personal line of credit.
Your credit score isn’t always the only factor that assessed when requesting an online personal line of credit. Visit CreditFresh.com to find out what some financial institutions look at when reviewing applications.
There’s a Solution for Every Declined Card
When it gets declined in a busy store, all you want to do is disappear. It’s embarrassing! And let’s not forget frustrating.
If you need your card to pay for something urgent, it’s easy to let stress get the better of you. But the good news is, there’s usually an answer for why it was declined.
Refer to this list to find out the reason behind your hold and use the tips you’ve learned to lift it.