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7 Unbelievable Reasons Why Your Credit Card Transaction May Be Declined!

July 19, 2016

There was a time when credit cards were used primarily for big ticket purchases – say for buying airline tickets or a new printer for the office (back when printers were expensive). However, in today's day and age, most consumers use credit cards as a substitute for cash. As a result, this piece of plastic is now used to buy almost anything, from haircuts to gas to a single can of cat food!

As a credit card holder, at some point you may have gone through (or known someone who has) the embarrassing experience of having a credit card declined. This can be a particularly serious problem if you are traveling and using a single credit card as your primary means of payment.

Here are a few reasons why your credit card may be declined and what you can do to avoid such an event.

  1. Irregular Spending Pattern: If you're someone who uses your credit card infrequently, say for small purchases a few times a week, buying large items such as jewelry may trigger fraud protection on your account. Most credit card companies are very sensitive to changes in spending patterns and temporarily block the consumer's card in case of what appears to be suspicious activity. Hence, you may wish to inform your card issuer before making any such purchases.
  2. International Purchases: If you plan to use your credit card while traveling in a foreign country, it is advisable to inform your credit card company about your plans. Otherwise, you may find that the very first charge you make will suspend your card. This also holds true if you're making an online payment to a merchant in a foreign location, as your activity will most likely be registered as a purchase abroad.
  3. Credit Limit: Your debit card transaction maybe declined if you exceed your daily spending limit. Similarly, credit card transactions may be declined if you go over your limit, or if you forget about or miss a notification regarding a limit cut from your card issuer. On a related note, this can even happen if your card has expired and you are not using the new one!
  4. Hold on Funds: Some businesses, such as gas stations, rental car companies and hotels, put a hold on your card for a certain amount – sometimes to the tune of hundreds of dollars – when you make a purchase. If you are already near your limit, these charges could push you over the threshold, with the result that any subsequent charges that you try to make with the card may be declined.
  5. Missing Credit Card Payments: While this may sound obvious, many people don't realize that they've fallen behind on their credit card payments – as a result of which their credit card issuer has shut them down. In such cases, you must catch up on past payments before your card will work again. Sometimes, a credit card issuer may even decide to change your terms and conditions (such as interest rate or credit limit) if you've defaulted on another company's card. Most credit issuers regularly pull your report to determine your overall credit performance. However, by law, they are obligated to provide at least a 45-day notice before making any changes to their agreement with you.
  6. Deactivation by Another User: If you are an authorized user on someone else's card, and the primary cardholder makes changes to his account, your transaction could be declined. Let's say the cardholder has reported his card as lost or stolen, in that case the card company will likely deactivate all cards under that account.
  7. Entering Incorrect Information: While conducting an online purchase, entering incorrect information, such as credit card number, expiration date or security code, will typically result in a declined transaction. If your issuer utilizes AVS (address verification system), an incorrect address or zip code can result in a decline. Making this mistake multiple times may lead to the issuer freezing your account.

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