How to avoid the embarrassment and inconvenience of having your credit card purchases declined
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 you could have a real problem.
We need to know why sometimes our credit cards are declined, and see what we can do to avoid the situation.
Why was my credit card transaction declined?
To be certain of the exact reason your credit card transaction was declined you really need to speak to your credit card company. There are however some fairly standard reasons your card may be denied.
- 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. 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 you issuer may flag the activity as strange and 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 having a transaction declined.
- Spending abroad
If you are going abroad you should really contact your card provider to let them know. If they suddenly see a range of transactions happening overseas, they may well suspect fraud and block your card.
- EFTPOS Offline
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 at the banks server end the transaction may come back declined. If this is the case, you may be asked to sign the tax invoice for authorisation.
Different codes for different reasons
Did you know that when you card is declined the EFTPOS machine is sent a code from the bank handling the transaction. These range from Expired card to incorrect PIN to even information as to whether the card is stolen. Here are some you may encounter:
|41||Card has been lost – take into possession|
|59||Suspected fraud on Credit Card – take card into possession|
|33||Expired card – take card into possession|
These examples are taken from Commonwealth Bank documentation, keep in mind that these may vary from bank to bank, and different EFTPOS machines at your chosen retailer. Sometimes the EFTPOS machine screen will show an exact error message such as “Incorrect PIN”
In most cases of your credit card being declined, the ideal option is to contact your bank and explain to them what has happened and how you can rectify it.
Keep them informed
It is worth noting that in all the situations discussed none of the reasons for card denial were to do with the card holders financial standing. Most times when a block is put on your credit card it has been because of a suspected security breach, and with credit card fraud on the up it is better to be safe than sorry.
In most cases if you contact your card provider and let them know of any impending changes to your spending habits you can avoid the embarrassment, and annoyance of a refused transaction.
Who to contact when your credit card transaction is declined
You need to contact your bank to enquire why your credit card transactions are being decline. Sometimes anti-fraud measures are triggered so you will need to confirm this with your bank. Check the table below for the phone number you may need to contact for the relevant credit card provider.
|Credit card provider||Phone number||Available (AEST)|
13 13 14
8:00am to 8:00pm, Monday to Friday
13 17 19
8:00am to 8:00pm, 7 days
13 22 66
General card enquiries: 1300 55 72 72
American Express: 1300 366 220
7:00am to 7:00pm, Monday to Sunday
13 13 76
13 24 84
Mastercard: 1300 306 397
Platinum: 1300 552 710
8.00am to 9.00pm Weekdays
8.00am to 8.00pm Saturday
8.30am to 8.00pm Sunday
8:00am to 8:00pm Monday to Friday
8:00am to 4:00pm Saturday
8:00 am to 9:00 pm, 7 days
1300 150 100
1300 150 300
13 22 65
8:00am to 7:00pm Weekdays
9:00am to 6:00pm Weekends
13 33 30
8.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Saturday
13 11 75
13 37 39
Gold Card enquiries: 1300 367 228
Platinum and Platinum Plus Card enquiries: 1300 859 100
8:00am – 8:00pm, 7 days
1300 10 1234
8:00am to 8:00pm Monday to Friday
9:00am to 5:00pm Saturday
10:00am to 5:00pm Sunday