There are a few common reasons your credit card could be declined. Some of them could be a miscommunication between you and the credit card issuer. Or, it could be due to something you’ve done with your account. Here are a few common reasons that might explain why your credit card declined.

You Don’t Have Enough Available Credit: Your available credit is the difference between your credit card balance and your credit limit. You could run out of available credit after a spending spree or if you’ve had your credit limit cut unexpectedly. You can check your available credit by calling customer service or logging into your online account.

1Authorization holds from places like hotels and car rental agencies also reduce your available credit.

Your Account Is Closed: Credit card issuers can close credit cards without warning for a variety of reasons. Or, it’s possible that your credit card issuer sent a letter, but you haven’t received it yet.2

Your Payment Is Past Due: If you’ve missed a few credit card payments, your credit card issuer has likely suspended your ability to make new payments. You’ll have to bring your account current to restore your purchasing privileges.3

Your Credit Card Has Expired: Check the expiration date on your credit card. If the expiration date has passed, that would explain why your credit card declined. Your credit card issuer may have sent a replacement card in the mail. You just need to get the new card and activate it.4

Your Account Has Been Flagged for Fraud: Credit card issuers are constantly monitoring your credit card transactions to be sure they fit the pattern of your typical purchases. Anything outside your normal spending habits could be flagged as fraud and cause your credit card to be declined.5


What to Do If Your Credit Card Is Declined?

If your credit card is declined, the easiest thing to do is complete your transaction with another payment method—cash, debit card, or another credit card. You can figure out what’s happening with your account once you’re done.

Giving your credit card issuer a call is the best way to figure out why your credit card got declined. In some cases, like suspected fraud, for example, your credit card issuer can fix the issue so your transaction can process normally. Or, if your account is suspended or closed, your card issuer can let you know the options available.


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