Have you ever had your debit card declined? What ran into your mind that moment, and did you find out the reason why? Here is a list of 12 possible reasons why you can have your card declined and how you can fix the problem.
12 Reasons Your Debit Card Declined (How to Fix)
Why was my debit card declined? I know that having your debit card declined can be one of those embarrassing and frustrating events that many won’t want to recall.
Someone will ask, “why is my debit card declined when I have money in the bank?” Well, let’s find these answers together.
We will look at the different scenarios when your debit card can get declined and common tips to avoid debit card declines.
There is no doubt that debit cards provide one of the most convenient ways of making purchases at any point of sale. Unlike credit cards, using debit card incurs no interest payments.
I’ve used Personal Capital to manage all my bank accounts and cash flow planning. It’s a completely free app that I use to better my financial future.
However, just like when using credit cards, sometimes the merchant can decline your transaction when you swipe your card.
Reasons Why Your Debit Card Declined
Let us look at the most probable reasons why your debit card can get declined, and how to fix a declined debit card.
Not having sufficient funds in the account is one of the most common reasons why your debit card can get declined. If you do not keep consistent track of your spending, you may run out of cash and not be aware of it.
Nonetheless, you may still be able to proceed with the transaction if you have overdraft protection. Overdraft protection ensures that your transactions or withdrawals go through despite having less amount in your account.
In some instances, you will have your debit card declined but charged. What is the reason? Well, in most cases, this represents a pending authorization.
It means that there is an unprocessed payment and the pending charge will disappear after the payment is processed.
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How to fix it:
Keeping track of your bank balances is the best way to fix an insufficient balance issue. Find quick ways to get up to date with the current balances after every transaction through mobile or online banking.
If your financial institution has a mobile app, then you can download it on your smartphone. This can help you to quickly check your balance when shopping and know what you can be able to pay with your debit card.
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Multiple Incorrect PIN entries
Do you know your debit card PIN off the head? A PIN is a 4-digit number that is usually added as an extra security feature. When you have your debit card declined, but money in the bank is enough to complete the transaction, incorrect PIN might be the reason.
The PIN helps to ensure the person using the debit card is the real owner of the checking account. And, if you have not memorized your pin number, you may end making wrong PIN entries.
When you enter the wrong PIN multiple times, the card provider may block the card. This is because entering the PIN incorrectly multiple times sends the card issuer a fraud alert.
The card provider then blocks it if they suspect that your card has been stolen or is with an unauthorized person.
How to fix it:
Memorize the PIN to avoid entering the wrong one or making wrong multiple entries. If you have more than one account linked to that specific card, memorize each PIN and avoid confusing them.
Never write down the PIN on the card or keep it together with your card in your wallet. This could make it easier for a mugger to access your account if they steal your wallet.
If you have forgotten your PIN, you can contact your card issuer to reset it.
You’ve Reached Your Daily Withdrawal Limit
Most financial institutions have imposed a 24 hours withdrawal limit on their customers’ accounts. This helps to protect the customer’s funds from fraudulent activities.
Sometimes your debit card may be declined because you have reached your daily withdrawal limits.
How to fix it:
You can familiarise yourself with the daily withdrawal limits on your account. If you plan to make huge purchases or withdrawals, you can talk with your card provider to extend the daily limit.
If you inform your bank ahead of time, they may allow you to transact beyond your limits.
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The Card has Expired
Debit cards have expiry dates. If you transact with an expired card, it won’t be accepted when making purchases or ATM withdrawals.
For instance, so many people flock the internet with questions on why they got their Chase or Wells Fargo debit card declined.
And, although people may think of all the other possibilities, the card’s expiry date doesn’t normally click in their minds.
It’s never in the first list of possibilities.
How to fix it:
Keep track of your card expiry date. When you are aware of the date the card is due, you can request a replacement from your card provider in time. You will not lose access to your account, and your card won’t get declined if it has not expired.
Destroy all the old cards after replacement because they may still contain some personal information that can be misused by unauthorized people.
The Information You’ve Entered Doesn’t Match Your Personal Details
Entering any information incorrectly when using your debit card can make your card get declined. This mostly happens when making online purchases. Most merchants request you to enter some personal details, including the name on the card or your address.
If you have made any wrong entry or have submitted the wrong information, then your purchase won’t go through. When shopping online, you may be required to enter your zip code.
Your billing and shipping address sometimes may be the same. Make sure that you provide the correct billing information as per the financial institution.
How to fix it:
Always ensure that the information you have entered matches what is on the card or what the bank recognizes before hitting the submit button.
If you relocate or any information about your changes, make sure that you update the information on your financial accounts.
Your Bank was Suspicious of the Transaction
When issuing debit cards, most financial institutions have a clause where you agree that they reserve the right to decline any transaction if they notice anything suspicious. Sometimes that can include spending more than normal.
Such a security feature could cause delay, but this keeps you safe in case your debit card ends up with someone who wants to steal from you.
How to avoid it:
When planning to make a huge purchase or want to withdraw huge amounts of money, let your bank know beforehand for preauthorization.
You’ve Made an International Purchase
Your debit could be declined if some transaction was unusual. For example, if you have done any international transaction. Nowadays, you can use your debit card, such as a Visa or MasterCard, anywhere in the world.
However, this also means that someone can steal and transact with your card from anywhere in the world. Most banks can flag international purchases as unusual activities to keep you safe from fraud across the borders.
How to avoid it:
Inform your bank when you are planning to travel. This way, the bank will not withhold the money when traveling.
Also, when traveling, make sure that you are acquainted with the ATM networks that can accept the card you have overseas.
This way, you won’t swipe your card in the wrong place, and your card won’t be declined.
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Sometimes you could have some delays due to technical problems. The banks or merchants systems may be having issues processing the transactions even if you’ve done everything else right.
For example, they could be experiencing things like:
- Slow internet connection,
- Power failure along with the network for wireless card readers, or
- Transactions overload.
How to fix it:
Since the fault is with your bank or merchant, you may not have control and can’t avoid getting your card declined. However, you can always:
- Try again later,
- Consider using a different terminal, or
- Wait until the systems get back up and running.
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Your Joint Holder Deactivated Your Card
If you have a joint account with your spouse, family member, or any other partner, you lose the authority of using the card if the other party deactivates it. Most banks allow either partner to deactivate a debit card without the other party’s’ consent if they suspect fraudulent activities or for any other reason.
This can be a good thing when one card has been stolen because you can ask the other person to go and deactivate the account. If one party deactivates your debit card, you won’t make any purchases or withdrawals.
How to fix it:
If you’re operating a joint account, make sure you have informed the other party of your intention. Also, you can create a clause that you sign for any major changes, including deactivating or adding debit cards.
You Haven’t Activated the Card Yet.
Most banks require the card users to activate their debit cards before they start using it. Some instructions include calling a certain phone number or withdrawing some amount of money through the ATM.
Every cardholder must follow these particular instructions to avoid getting their card declined.
How to fix it
To avoid having your debit card declined, make sure that you follow each and every instruction given by your bank for activation. You can also contact your bank for assistance.
For example, if you got your PNC debit card declined due to non-activation, you can call 1-888-PNC-BANK (1-888-762-2265) at any time for assistance.
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The Card Type is not Acceptable
Not all checkouts and ATMs accept all types of debit cards. If you swipe your card in any checkout or an ATM that does not accept the kind of card that you are using, it could get declined.
Does your debit card have a magnetic stripe or EMV chip? Debit card declined at any point of sale or ATM could be as a result of not using the payment method that the ATM or POS is asking for.
How to fix it
Before you swipe your card, always be sure that they accept the card that you are using, including American Express, VISA, and MasterCard.
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Sometimes, you might get your card being declined for no reason. You try to figure out why but can’t find the reason. This might be because the vendor is not in good standing with their banking services.
For example, some time back, a friend had her Chase debit card declined for no reason. She was sure that her account had enough money and was shocked to see the card declined.
When she contacted Chase, she learned that the problem was not the card, the vendor’s card reader machine was. This means that your card is okay, and everything else is also okay, but the swiping machine can’t detect or initiate a transaction with your card.
If you find yourself in such a situation, don’t panic. You can try another outlet or contact your bank if the problem persists.
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Conclusion on Why You May Have Your Debit Card Declined
Getting your debit card declined with no backup option could spoil your plans for the day. To rectify the situation, you need to make timely changes or contact your bank beforehand.
The bank will help you resolve the issue and help you to make a purchase or withdrawal successfully.
Also, you can consider carrying your credit card to fix and cater to emergencies if the debit card situation was unresolvable.
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