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9 Reasons Credit Cards Are Declined (And How To Fix It)

April 30, 2020

As consumers, we have come to rely greatly on credit cards as a means for conducting transactions.

Instead of carrying physical cash around, we just put this piece of plastic in our wallet and present it to the cashier while paying for our purchases.

But what happens if your credit card refuses to swipe?

This event in itself can be quite astonishing – not to mention troublesome as it can leave you stranded.

Given below are some of the reasons why the card terminal may be unable to read your piece of plastic when you try to swipe it:

  1. The strip on the back of your card may have been demagnetised

This can happen for a number of reasons – for example, if you carry the card in a purse or wallet that uses a magnet, its force may scramble the data contained in your card’s strip so that terminals are unable to read it.

The same can also happen if the card comes in close contact with a mobile device, or with one of the security sensor removal devices that are found at retail shops.

You should also keep the card out of rooms containing MRI machines because their force could damage the information contained in your card as well.

  1. Your card may be dirty or scratched

As your card comes in touch with various surfaces – say a restaurant or your office table, etc., a layer of grime could collect over the strip at the back of your card.

This would prevent the terminal from reading it.

This problem can often be fixed by cleaning the card with a soft cloth; however, any vigorous attempts should be avoided, or they may damage the strip permanently.

Similarly, if your strip is scratched or bent because of coming in contact with too many surfaces – especially with things such as keys or coins – then also your card is unlikely to work.

  1. Your card may have heated up

 Leave your card out in the open on a table on a hot summer day, and the heat may end up damaging the magnetic strip on your card.

In the above cases, despite the magnetic strip not working, you can still use your card by manually entering your card number.

However, in order to swipe you would need to get a new card from the issuer.

Having said that, there may be situations where your card may not work even when you manually put in the numbers.

  1. Your card hasn’t been activated/ has expired/ you’ve been issued a new one

 When you receive a new card, you must activate it – the process is usually simple – you may be asked to call a certain number and follow relevant instructions.

Until the card is activated, it will not work if you try to swipe it.

Similarly, the card won’t work if you have reached the expiration month mentioned on your card.

It could also happen that for some reason, your issuer has issued you a new card.

In such cases, the card company usually cancels the old card so that if you swipe it, the older card won’t work.

  1. Fraud on your account

If your card issuer has reason to suspect that your account details are compromised, the company may put a hold on your card.

For example, if you make a purchase that’s an amount much greater than your usual swipes, the issuer may smell a rat and refuse the transaction.

  1. You are travelling

If you are travelling and plan to use your card, you should inform your issuer in advance.

Unless you do so, the company may assume it’s a criminal trying to use your card details from another country and block the transaction.

  1. Wrong billing information

If you are trying to make an online purchase, the billing address you provide must match the billing address on your credit card statement, else your transaction may be denied.

  1. Merchant processor issues

At times, the problem is at the merchant’s end – the payment processor may be encountering technical difficulties – in such cases, the merchant may save your card information and then carry out the transaction later when the problem has resolved.

  1. There may not be enough available limit

Let’s say your issuer has granted you a limit of $2,000, out of which you’ve already used up $1,500.

In that case, you would be unable to make purchases greater than $500 unless you pay down your existing balance.

This can be quite frustrating for small business owners who often use their credit card to temporarily fund their organizations.

If you are one such individual, you need not worry.

Our team at Fund&Grow helps individuals with good credit obtain $50,000 - $250,000 of unsecured credit at 0% for a period of 6, 12 or 18 months.

This amount can be used for anything from providing a down payment on a property to funding your small business.

So, if you need financing, call us at (800) 996-0270 and we’ll do what we can to assist you.


Ari Page Ari Page is the CEO of Fund&Grow. He resides in Spring Hill, Florida with his wife and two children.

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