Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

The most common reasons why your credit card purchase was declined

How to avoid the embarrassment and inconvenience of having your credit card purchases declined.

Updated

Fact checked

In the early days of credit cards people often only used them for the occasional one-off big purchase like a holiday, or maybe even a new television. Today it is more common for people to use their credit cards instead of cash and for transactions as small as fuel purchases, or a weekend takeaway.

At some point in your life, you will go through the slightly embarrassing experience of having a card transaction declined. If this happens locally, and you have another method of payment, it will an inconvenience and nothing more. However, if you are in a foreign country, and only have your credit card on you as a method of payment could be a real problem.

Use this guide to discover why your credit card transaction may have been declined and what you can do to avoid rejected purchases in the future.

Why was my credit card transaction declined?

To be certain of the exact reason your credit card transaction was declined, you need to speak to your credit card company. However, these are some of the common causes:

  • Odd spending pattern

If your card provider notices strange patterns in your spending habits, they may well put a block on your credit card for security purposes. For example, if you only ever use your credit card a couple of times a week for very small purchases, and then in one day there are 3-4 large purchases made, your issuer may flag the activity as strange or potentially fraudulent and will block the card.

  • Daily limit

Some credit cards have daily spending limit within the terms and conditions. If you have not read your terms properly, you may not be aware of these and this could result in you overspending and getting a transaction declined.

  • Spending abroad

If you’re planning to use your credit card overseas, you should contact your card provider to let them know beforehand. If your issuer sees a range of transactions happening overseas, they might suspect it’s a fraudulent payment and block your card. You also need to activate your card’s magnetic stripe for overseas use before travelling, which you can either do so online or via SMS.

  • EFTPOS offline

NETS EFTPOS machines use the phone network to communicate with the banks to verify and authorise your transactions. If there is a system outage at the point of sale or with the bank’s server, the transaction may be declined. If this is the case, you may be asked to sign the tax invoice for authorisation.

  • Exceeded your credit limit.

Every credit card comes with a maximum credit limit that you shouldn’t exceed. While some credit cards let you spend beyond the credit limit and will charge you a fee, others will simply decline the transaction if you spend beyond the limit. If you require more credit, you can find out how to increase your credit limit with our guide.

The different codes used to describe why your transaction was declined

Did you know that when your card is declined the EFTPOS machine is sent a code from the bank handling the transaction? These range from incorrect PIN, expired card, suspected fraud and more. These are some examples of response codes from Citibank:

Response CodeMeaning
41Lost card
55Incorrect PIN
54Expired card

These examples are taken from Citibank documentation, keep in mind that these may vary from bank to bank, and different EFTPOS machines at your chosen retailer.

Who to contact when your credit card transaction is declined

If your card is declined, it’s still best to get in contact with your bank first to confirm exactly why it was rejected and what you can do to resolve the issue. Use the table below to find the relevant contact details for your credit card issuer.

ProviderContact informationAvailability
DBSIn Singapore: 1800 111 1111
From overseas: (65) 6327 2265
24 hours, 7 days a week
POSBIn Singapore: 1800 339 6963
From overseas: (65)6339 6963
24 hours, 7 days a week
OCBCIn Singapore: 1800 363 3333
From overseas: (65) 6363 3333
24 hours, 7 days a week
UOBIn Singapore: 1800 222 2121
From overseas: (65) 6222 2121
24 hours, 7 days a week
HSBCIn Singapore: 1800 4722 669
From overseas: (65) 6472 2669
24 hours, 7 days a week
Citibank(65) 6225 522524 hours, 7 days a week
Standard CharteredIn Singapore: 1800 747 7000
From overseas: (65) 6747 7000
24 hours, 7 days a week
MaybankIn Singapore: 1800 629 2265
From overseas: (65) 6533 5229
24 hours, 7 days a week
Bank of ChinaIn Singapore: 1800 338 5335
From overseas: (65) 6338 5335
24 hours, 7 days a week
American Express1800 299 1997 24 hours, 7 days a week

A declined credit card can be an embarrassing and inconvenient occurrence, but usually, the bank puts it in place to protect your finances. If you’ve had a transaction rejected, make sure to get in touch with your bank immediately to report the issue and discuss your options.

Compare credit cards

Name Product Reward Cashback Offer Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
HSBC Revolution Credit Card
Earn up to 10X Reward points or 4 miles per S$1 spent on qualifying purchases.
Choose between a S$150 cashback or Samsonite suitcase if minimum spend requirements are met. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
S$0 annual fee
S$30,000
New cardholders can choose from a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp luggage worth S$670 or S$150 cashback. Minimum spend of S$800 within the qualifying spend period is required. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card
Earn 1.4 miles for every S$1 spent locally with no minimum spend or cap.
Get S$150 cash credit if you spend a minimum of S$1,500 within 30 days. First 200 new customers only.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$256.80 thereafter
S$30,000
Enjoy up to 20,000 bonus miles if you charge S$50,000 to your card in a year. Apply today and enjoy free transfers to Changi Airport.
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card
Earn 1 Reward point for every $1 on all spend.
Up to 5% cash rebates on groceries, dining and fuel with minimum monthly spend of at least S$600.
S$0 annual fee for the first 2 years and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
New cardholders can receive a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp suitcase (worth S$670) or S$150 cashback, if a minimum of S$800 is spent using the card in the qualifying spend period. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Earn 3 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 when you spend with Singapore Airlines, Scoot, SilkAir or KrisShop and 1.2 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 on all other spend.
Get S$150 cash credit if you spend S$1,500 or more within 30 days. First 200 new customers only.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
New cardholders can receive up to 10,000 KrisFlyer miles when applying and spending a minimum of S$1,500 within 30 days card approval. Ends 30 September 2020. Existing UOB cardmembers get 3,000 KrisFlyer miles after the first transaction of S$5 minimum. T&Cs apply.
UOB Yolo Card
Enjoy a wide variety of discounts and cashback rebates on dining, entertainment, online shopping and travel.
Up to 8% cashback on some weekend dining, travel, and entertainment and 3% cashback on online fashion, weekday dining, travel and more.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get S$150 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.
UOB Lady's Card
Earn 10X UNI$ (or 20 miles) per S$5 spent on a chosen spending category with no min. spend required, and 1X UNI$ (or 2 miles) on other purchases.
New customers can get S$150 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get S$150 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.Ends 30 September 2020.
HSBC Advance Credit Card
Choose between a sign-up gift of a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp luggage or S$150 cashback when minimum spend requirements are met.
Enjoy up to 3.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year (permanently waived for HSBC Advance banking customers) and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
New cardholders can choose between a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp luggage worth S$670 or S$150 cashback if minimum spend of S$800 within the qualifying spend period is made. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
UOB One Credit Card
Get S$150 cash credit when you apply. Minimum S$1,500 spend within 30 days. First 200 eligible applicants only.
Up to 10% cashback with some merchants including Grab,7-Eleven and Cold Storage; 6% for Singapore Power Utilities bills; and 5% back on all other retail spending.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get up to S$150 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card
Earn 1.2 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spent on local purchases, with no cap.
N/A
S$337.05 annual fee
S$50,000
Get up to 56,200 KrisFlyer miles with S$16,000 minimum spend within six months. Also enjoy a complimentary stay at a Hilton hotel in Asia Pacific each year.
UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card
6 air miles for every S$1 spent through Expedia, Agoda and UOB Travel
Get S$150 cash credit when you apply. Minimum S$1,500 spend within 30 days. First 200 eligible applicants only.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$256.80 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to S$150 in cash credits. Plus, free travel cover.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Ask Finder

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.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site