Top reasons why your debit card was declined and how to fix it
Card declined

Reasons your debit card was declined

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money.

Avoid embarrassment when you check out by fixing debit card issues beforehand.

A debit card differs from a credit card in that the funds you’re using are being withdrawn directly from your checking account. Debit cards are convenient for making purchases and ATM withdrawals without you having to pay interest charges of a credit card. Yet like a credit card, the merchant or provider can deny the transaction for a number of different reasons. Knowing the possible causes ahead of time will help you avoid seeing the word “declined”.

Reason 1: You don’t have enough funds

This is the most common cause of a debit card being declined, and one that you can easily avoid by keeping careful track of your spending money. Unless you have overdraft protection, most banks will not allow you to make a purchase or withdrawal that goes beyond your available balance.

How to avoid it:

See if your financial institution offers a mobile app that shows your up-to-date balances and transactions. Check this before making your purchases to ensure you have enough funds.

Reason 2: You’ve made an international purchase

Many accounts now offer Visa or Mastercard debit cards, which allow you to use them when traveling overseas. This is a convenient and secure way to make your overseas purchases and ATM withdrawals. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work the way you intended, and you could find yourself without access to your money if your debit card is declined.

How to avoid it:

Familiarize yourself with the ATM networks that accept your debit card overseas. Inform the bank before making your trip so they won’t flag your purchases as unusual activity. This should help to make sure your money is available.

Reason 3: Your bank was suspicious of the transaction

Most banks reserve the right to decline any transaction they deem to be out of character with your normal spending or withdrawal habits. In most cases this can be cleared up at the register with a quick call to the bank, but it still could cause you some embarrassment. Some banks have security features in place and can be a little too safe and block authentic transactions.

How to avoid it:

If you have plans on making a large purchase, notify your bank beforehand to get preauthorization.

Reason 4: You’ve reached your withdrawal limit

To help protect your funds, most financial institutions will have daily withdrawal limits on your accounts. This will often be a combination of ATM and purchases, and can prohibit you from getting the cash you need.

How to avoid it:

Be familiar with the daily withdrawal limits on your accounts. If you know you’ll need to exceed them, inform the bank ahead of time. In most cases they will extend the daily limit.

Reason 5: The information you’ve entered doesn’t match your personal details

This is common with online purchases.The merchant takes extra precautions to verify your identity by asking for personal information such as name on the card and your address. If you have entered anything incorrectly, you won’t be able to make your purchase.

How to avoid it:

Before making a purchase online check that the personal information you entered matches that of the credit card you’re using.

Reason 6: It’s expired

Some debit cards also have expiration dates like credit cards. If yours has expired, it won’t be accepted at ATMs, or for purchases.

How to avoid it:

Check the date and know when the debit card is due to expire. Ask for your replacement card well in advance to avoid losing access to your account. Make sure you destroy the old card, as it does contain personal information you don’t want others to get a hold of.

Reason 7: Your joint holder deactivated your card

If you’ve opened a joint banking account with your spouse, partner or other family member they’re allowed to deactivate your debit card without permission from you. If this happens, you won’t be able to make purchases or withdrawing cash.

How to avoid it:

With a joint account you can require that both account holders sign for any major changes, including adding or deactivating any debit cards.

Reason 8: You’ve entered the wrong PIN

The personal identification number (PIN) you chose must be entered correctly in order for some transactions to be allowed. If you enter that number incorrectly, the transaction will automatically be declined.

Should I press the credit or debit button?

How to avoid it:

Memorize your PIN and try not to confuse the cards if you have more than one account with a linked debit card. It’s never suggested that you write the PIN on the card or keep it in your wallet. This will make it easier for a thief to access your account if your wallet or purse is stolen.

Frequently asked questions

Adrienne Fuller

Adrienne Fuller leads the publishing team at finder.com. She has one goal: to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. When she's not helping folks save money, she's hiking with her two Catahoulas around her home in San Diego.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our and .

35 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BritneyAugust 15, 2018

    I got a nee debit visa card. Im supposed to use it at the atm first before i can use it at any store. I kept the same pin number. But its telling me that im entering the wrond pin. What can i do? I need to use my card.

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloAugust 15, 2018Staff

      Hi Britney,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      If you just got your debit visa card, it will usually come with your first PIN on it’s packaging. You need to use it initially before changing the pin to your preference. For further assistance, you can contact your bank to see what could be causing this.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  2. Default Gravatar
    SurajJuly 31, 2018

    When I widral a money my bank is declining not giving me to widral a money…

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloJuly 31, 2018Staff

      Hi Suraj,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      We have enumerated the possible reasons why your debit card is declined in the article above. You can check with your bank directly as to why your transaction keeps getting declined to get a more specific answer. Please send us a message if you need further help.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  3. Default Gravatar
    DavidJuly 23, 2018

    Why was my atm card transaction declined?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynJuly 23, 2018Staff

      Hello David,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Outlined above are most of the common reasons why your card was declined at an ATM. The solution to any of the above problems is to contact your card’s issuing institution to check this for you.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  4. Default Gravatar
    userJuly 11, 2018

    i was trying to make a purchase with my new visa debit card and the card number keep getting declined I don’t know if I have to activate it but as of now I still cant make a purchase

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloJuly 12, 2018Staff

      Hi there,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Aside from the reasons we mentioned above on why your purchase was declined, the best thing that you can do is to speak directly with your bank to see on what could be causing this. Hope this gets resolved soon.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  5. Default Gravatar
    ColbimcclainJuly 11, 2018

    What if my card is being declined but I have money in my bank account?

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloJuly 12, 2018Staff

      Hi there,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      There are multiple reasons why your purchase was declined as mentioned above. It would be best if you can contact your bank directly to see on what could be causing this.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  6. Default Gravatar
    RalphJuly 4, 2018

    Why everytime i try to make a withdrawl the atm is telling me to try again later

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloJuly 5, 2018Staff

      Hi Ralph.

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      If it has been happening often than usual, you will have to directly contact your bank to see what could be causing this or if you need to upgrade your ATM card. Hope this gets resolved real soon.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  7. Default Gravatar
    YanniMay 11, 2018

    I was about to make a small purchase for about 10php online but my card got inclined. I tried to register for a free month on Netflix but my card got declined still, saying that there is a problem with my card. I just opened this not a month ago, I understand that it’s way below the maintaining balance (i only have 30php left) but I can’t make a deposit until the 15th. What’s wrong with it??

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoMay 11, 2018Staff

      Hi Yanni,

      Thanks for your message and for visiting finder – the leading comparison website & general information service built to give you advice in your buying decision needs. How are you doing today?

      Sorry to hear that your card was declined.

      Please note that we’re a product comparison website and we do not represent any company we feature on our site. We provide general information on products to assist you in your buying decision process hence we cannot recommend product/service that is rightfully fit for you.

      You may want to check the rates of Netflix in your country against your balance on the account as it may not be sufficient. Regarding your PHP 10 purchase, you may want to check the website you’re buying from as it may have certain debit cards that are not accepted. Also, there are banks that would need you to activate your card for international/online purchases. You’d have to give them a call to ask that.

      Hope this clarifies!

      Cheers,
      Nikki

    • Default Gravatar
      RickyMay 31, 2018

      Why do you have to have my card number if it is free 100%, why can’t I get into the site

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoMay 31, 2018Staff

      Hi Ricky,

      Sorry for the confusion.

      Please note that we’re a product comparison website and we do not represent any company we feature on our site. We provide general information on products to assist you in your buying decision process hence we cannot recommend product / service that is rightfully fit for you.

      You may have to contact your bank and ask them why your card is not getting accepted by certain websites.

      Hope this clarifies.

      Regards.
      Nikki

  8. Default Gravatar
    CarolynMay 10, 2018

    Today when I was cashing two checks, I used my new (replacement) debit card to make certain that it worked. It did work at the bank. Then when I was at the store, it didn’t work. Why would that be?

    • finder Customer Care
      MayMay 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Carolyn,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      Although I may not be able to tell, but this could be due to one of the reasons listed above. I highly recommend that you contact your issuing bank directly to clarify and confirm.

      Cheers,
      May

  9. Default Gravatar
    SarahMarch 29, 2018

    Every time I try to order something and I go to pay by card it won’t let me why?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynMarch 29, 2018Staff

      Hello Sarah,

      Thank you for your comment.

      All possible reasons why your credit card won’t work are outlined above. You would be best to directly contact your credit card provider to check why you’re card won’t let you use it online.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  10. Default Gravatar
    JasmineMarch 15, 2018

    Im trying to get a prepaid card in my new last name but I keep getting rejected because personal info doesn’t match? How do I verify

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaMarch 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Jasmine,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      In case you changed your family name, it is a must that you get in touch with your bank. They should be able to update your personal information. In some cases, you might be asked to present your marriage contract or other relevant documents.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

Go to site