15 July 2016

Common reasons bank cards get declined

Have you ever gone to pay for your shopping, only to hear (or see if you’re shopping online) the dreaded words ‘card declined’? Well don’t worry, you’re not alone.

According to Nationwide data, of the 64 million point of sale authorisation attempts which took place in May 2016, 4.77% were declined – that’s over 3 million times.

But why are cards sometimes declined? It isn’t always because there’s no cash in the account – although low funds are behind almost half of declines. We take a closer look at the reasons why cards can be declined and, in some cases, what you can do to prevent it.

Low funds – 2.42% decline rate

Having insufficient funds to complete a purchase is the most common reason cards get declined. If you’re registered for internet banking with us and have downloaded the mobile app, our Quick Balance feature lets you check your balance in a matter of moments, without having to log in. This means you can check you’ve got enough cash before you make your purchase.

You can also sign up for free text alerts which let you know when your balance is close to zero, or near your agreed overdraft limit.

Replaced cards – 0.89% decline rate

If you have been sent a new bank card, your existing card will continue to work for 21 days but it’s a good idea to destroy your old card as soon as you no longer need it – that way you won’t be able to try and use it by mistake.

Lost or stolen card – 0.57% decline rate

As soon as a card is reported lost or stolen we’ll cancel it and get a new one sent out to you. Even if you then find your card, it will remain blocked and should be destroyed. If you register for Apple Pay or Android Pay™ (available on compatible devices*), replacement cards will be automatically updated so you can still use them as you normally would.

Invalid CVV – 0.43% decline rate

When you’re buying online or via the phone, you’re usually asked for the 3 digit CVV code found on the signature panel on the back of your card. If it’s worn away at all and you have trouble reading it, you should request a new card.

Your CVV is linked to the card itself, rather than your account so will change every time you get a new bank card.

Suspected fraud – 0.35% decline rate

If there’s been some unusual activity on your account we may temporarily block it while we make sure your card isn’t being used fraudulently. We’ll contact you via automated text alert or voice call and ask you to confirm whether the transaction was genuine.

Making sure we have up-to-date contact details ensures we’re able to get in touch and address the situation as quickly as possible.

PIN issue – 0.05% decline rate

Everyone’s had that moment when they've been handed the card machine and just can’t remember their PIN. You can always request a PIN reminder or if you’re really struggling, or changing your PIN to a number that’s memorable for you may help.

Providing you know your PIN, all you have to do is go to an ATM, enter your card and existing PIN, select PIN Services and then Change PIN and enter a new 4-digit number. Simple.

Expiry date mismatch – 0.04% decline rate

As a security measure, you’ll be asked for your card expiry date when you’re shopping online or via the phone, if your card’s declined, double check that you’ve given the right date. It’s also worth double checking that your card is still in date – if not you should have been sent a new one.

*Apple Pay is a trademark of Apple Inc. Android Pay is a trademark of Google Inc. Android Pay is available on compatible Android devices using Android (KitKat 4.4®) and higher.

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