Why is my credit card declined and what can I do about it?

I've recently seen a large increase in declined payments and have discovered the reason why. I've experienced it myself when completing an online order to a supplier that I'd used many times before.

Banks consider many different factors to help them identify fraud and protect their customers from theft and have recently become more stringent than ever. This can be a good thing but also not so good if it prevents you from being able to make on-line purchases as it did for me.

The correctness of the card number, the expiration data, and the CVC are the primary factors used by the customer’s bank when deciding whether or not to accept a transaction. So it is very important to enter information EXACTLY as it appears on your billing statement (e.g., Road instead of Rd.). Also ensure that your card has not expired and you’ve entered the correct information.

And sometimes credit cards are not authorized for use outside of your own country so that can be yet another reason which you can have changed by contacting your bank or credit card company.


More importantly, charges can also be declined based on your spending habits, location, account balance or any other indication that a charge is outside your normal spending pattern. Since these signals are constantly changing, a previously successful card might be declined in the future. Even if all of the card information is correct, and you previously made a successful payment, a future charge can still be declined by a bank’s overzealous fraud systems.

So what to do?

The best thing to do if you know your credit card information is correct is to contact your bank or credit card company.

You will get the best information if you ask about specific charges. I suggest providing the bank with the date and amount to help them identify it. It's important that you ask about specific declines instead of general card health, since functioning cards can and do see declines (for example, if a bank believes a charge to be outside your normal charge pattern). You can also request that future charges from any specific business that you order from are allowed.

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