Common reasons that prevent your credit card from working

The black magnetic strip at the back of your credit card contains all the information about your account. Prolonged usage may scratch the strip making it unreadable at the point-of-sale terminal.

Common reasons that prevent your credit card from working
By: Sponsored
Updated: 08 Feb 2018 01:13 PM
Nothing is more irritating than a declined credit card transaction after spending hours to shop for our favourite things. It becomes even more annoying if a credit card is the only thing we have to pay the bill.

There are many reasons for a credit card transaction to get rejected. Knowing them would certainly help you solve the issue at the earliest possible. If you’re lucky enough, you can identify and resolve it then and there so that you can continue your purchase using the card.

Without any further delay, let’s look at the common reasons that prevent your credit card from working.

Credit card not activated

If you are using credit card for the first time, then you need to be aware of card activation process. Unlike debit cards, credit cards are not activated at the time of issuance. The issuers want you, the user, to activate the card once you receive it.

So, if you start using your credit card without activating it, your transaction obviously gets declined. This is not a major problem as credit card activation typically takes seconds if you are aware of the process. As the activation process varies from one bank to another, you need to know the process specific to your bank.

An expired credit card

We might have entered the card’s expiry date for most of the online credit card transactions, but the date hardly gets registered. One day it expires and when we try to use it, the transaction gets declined. Using an expired card hence becomes another reason for a non-working credit card.

If you have applied for the card a few years back, checking the expiry date of your card would be an immediate action for a declined credit card transaction. There is no instant solution for it but you can raise a request with the bank to issue a new card.

A blocked credit card

With the rampant increase in credit card fraud, the companies tightened the screws by using software that could detect suspicious activity on the card. Your card gets blocked as soon as a suspicious activity is detected.

A few genuine scenarios which may lead to auto blocking of card include unusual activity, sudden change in location, paying for a foreign company and the like.

  • An unusual activity includes a sudden big-ticket purchase. If you have been using your card only for small purchases such as to book movie tickets, shop online, order food, etc., and you suddenly ordered a brand new iPhone using your card, then the issuer may consider it suspicious as it is out of the typical purchase behaviour.

The software may suspect that someone is attempting to use your card and hence blocks it. Typically, transactions that include big-ticket purchases such as gold, electronics, and cash withdrawals may get flagged by the issuer. If you want to continue the purchase, you may have to call the customer care and authenticate that the transaction was initiated by you.

  • An unusual location indicates either a domestic or foreign location in which the card is used for the first time. Your transaction history with the issuer tells your geographic boundaries and also the places where you usually make purchases. If a transaction happens from a completely new location either local or international, especially from the countries where credit card fraud is more prevalent, the issuer may consider the transaction to be suspicious and blocks your card.

Some other instances include subsequent transactions happening at longer distances in short time, payments to companies based abroad, etc. All such transactions may trigger suspicion and would lead to card blocking.

No available credit on the card

An obvious reason for a credit card transaction to get rejected in the unavailability of the credit. While using multiple credit cards, you may sometimes lose track and use a card with zero available limit. Also some people might get confused between the total credit limit and the available limit.

One more instance is when the transaction amount is higher than the available limit on the card. All these situations lead to a declined transaction. Only thing you can do in all these scenarios is to clear your outstanding due to boost the available credit on the card.

A forgotten credit limit cut

Sometimes you might have requested for a credit limit cut or the bank decreased your credit limit for some reasons, forgetting which you made a transaction of higher value using the card. This obviously leads to a declined transaction as you do not have a sufficient credit limit to process the transaction.

A scratched magnetic strip

The black magnetic strip at the back of your credit card contains all the information about your account. Prolonged usage may scratch the strip making it unreadable at the point-of-sale terminal.

Sometimes even a card in good shape may become unreadable and the reasons include keeping the card close to other magnetic objects such as the buttons of purses or wallets, keeping it in contact with mobile phones, exposing the card to an MRI machine or extreme heat and build-up of grime.

In all such cases, the terminal cannot read your credit card and hence the transaction cannot be processed. You may have to call the bank’s customer care and apply for re-issuance of the credit card.