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Last updated: 23/07/2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Why is my credit card being declined?

Having your card declined for a purchase can be embarrassing and confusing but it can happen to anyone. Even the rich and famous are not safe from having their credit card turned down for any number of reasons.

We’ll go through some of the most common reasons for which your card might be turned down and help you avoid being declined for any transactions you try to make.

In This Guide:

Unusually large purchases

One of the most common and understandable reasons why your credit card might be declined is due to attempts to make any purchases that could be seen as either excessively large or out of character.

Credit card issuers are, as a general rule, fairly cautious and while some are more vigilant than others, you will find that out of the ordinary purchases are likely to raise warning flags.

For example, if you only ever use your credit card to buy cheap clothes and the occasional low cost meal out, and then you try to purchase a Bentley, you may well find that your card gets turned down.

It is not just excessive luxury goods purchases that might cause your card to be declined though.

Indeed not long ago, singer Miley Cyrus had her card turned down when attempting to purchase $100 worth of music from a record shop.

While, for someone worth many tens of millions of dollars, $100 is not a lot to spend in one go, it is, arguably, a lot to spend in one go at a record shop. This caused the maybe overly cautious credit card company to flag the purchase and put it on hold pending investigation.

A simple call to your credit card company should be enough to confirm legitimacy of the purchase if this does happen.,/p>

Using old or rarely used cards

Another reason why many people find their cards declined, even for small purchases, is if the card in question has been unused, gathering dust for a while, before being brought out to make a purchase.

As with the above, if a credit card issuer suddenly sees a card used for an attempted purchase that has not been used in a long time, they may well flag it up and put the purchase on hold.

This in fact happened to the President of the United States himself, Barack Obama. His card was declined when he tried to buy a not overly expensive meal.

Exceeding your spending limits

The final of the most common reasons for which your credit card could be turned down is, rather straightforwardly, if you exceed the imposed spending limit.

This can have the unfortunate knock on effect of severely damaging your credit score as well so it’s important that you take extra care to not exceed the spending limit associated with your card.

Famous people who’ve had their cards declined for this reason include Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Harry Styles, whose card was turned down when he tried to purchase a copy of his own album online.

Avoiding having your card declined

The best way to avoid having your card declined is simply to make sure you use it fairly regularly and keep a close eye on your statements to make sure you’re not exceeding your spending limit.

There is not much you can do to avoid having your card declined for making purchases considered unusually large or out of character. You can, however, generally rectify the situation quite swiftly by getting in touch with your card issuer – they may even call you straight away to try and validate the purchase.

You can, if you know that you’re going to make a large purchase, like a holiday, get in touch with your card issuer to let them know. The same applies if you’re going abroad – in which case it’s crucial that you let them know where you will be as if transactions in another country suddenly start appearing on your bill they will almost certainly be treated as suspicious.