Why Was My Credit Card Declined?

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Having your credit card declined is embarrassing and it can cause real problems for you if you really need to use your card to make a payment. The good news is, no matter what the reason behind your card being declined, there are steps you can take to resolve the situation and ensure it doesn’t happen again. Here’s what you need to know about why your credit card may be declined and what you can do about it.

Why was my credit card declined?

Credit cards may be declined for several reasons. If you exceed your credit limit or you attempt to use a card that’s expired or not activated, your transaction may not go through. Sometimes, there could just be an error processing the transaction. In this case, if you run your card again, it may go through.

Or your card could get declined because someone else has stolen its number and used it to rack up a bunch of fraudulent purchases in your name. This makes it appear as if you’ve exceeded your credit limit when you really haven’t.

Your credit card processor may display a credit card decline code when it fails to process your transaction and this can give you some clue as to why your credit card was declined. There are a bunch of codes, but some of the most common are:

  • 05 – Do Not Honor: This means the issuing bank won’t allow the transaction to go through. Contact your bank if you run into this issue.
  • 41 – Lost Card: This tells the merchant the card was reported as lost by the owner.
  • 43 – Stolen Card: This tells the merchant the card was reported as stolen by the owner.
  • 51 – Insufficient Funds: You don’t have enough available credit to process the transaction.
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What to do if your credit card is declined

Well, first, take a deep breath, and then follow the steps outlined below to get to the bottom of the situation and prevent it from happening again.

1. Decide what you’re going to do about your current purchase.

You can try running the card again if you think it was a mistake, but if it’s still declined, you must decide whether to hold off on the purchase or pay another way. If you have another card on hand, you could try that or you could use cash or a debit card.

2. Figure out why your card was declined.

Check your credit card statement to make sure you haven’t maxed out your cards and scan your recent transactions for signs of identity theft. If you can’t figure out why your card was declined, contact your credit card issuer to find out.

3. If you find fraudulent charges, contact your credit card issuer.

A representative will go through your last couple of statements with you to identify which purchases were legitimate and which were fraudulent. Then, it will remove the fraudulent purchases from your bill and cancel the card so the thief cannot use it anymore.

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You’ll receive a new card in the mail within a few weeks, but you’ll need to use another payment method in the meantime. You should also pull your credit reports to make sure the thief hasn’t accessed any of your other accounts or opened a new account in your name. Check your bank account statements as well.

Alternatives to consider

If your card was declined because you exceeded your credit limit, you must find ways to reduce your balance. You could try transferring your balance to a different card, but this could be difficult for those with poor credit. Even some people with fair credit may find it difficult to open some new credit cards. If that doesn’t work, try cutting your budget back and putting all your extra cash toward paying off debt.

A debt consolidation loan is another option. This gets you a predictable monthly payment and possibly a lower interest rate than what you’re paying on your existing cards. But you must be careful not to go out and rack up a bunch of new charges on your credit card or you’ll end up in a worse situation than before.

No one likes having their credit card declined, but if you follow the above steps, you can hopefully resolve the situation quickly. And if you keep an eye on your credit card statements going forward, you may be able to avoid some of these issues before they even arise.

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View more information: https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/credit-cards/why-credit-card-declined/

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