Suits Me Simplified: Banking 101

5 Reasons Why Your Debit Card was Declined

It’s not just “insufficient funds” that results in your debit card being declined…

Woman trying to pay with a debit card and being turned away by a shop attendant

Having your debit card declined happens to the best of us, and when you’re in that situation it can be a bit awkward and stressful. There are several reasons why your Mastercard® debit card may be declined, and it’s a good idea to be aware of why and what you can do to avoid it.

1. Insufficient Funds  

You may not have enough money in the current account linked to the debit card to complete the transaction. If you are  unsure about how much money is in your account, it is a good idea to check your balance before making any purchases. This is a lot easier to do nowadays with mobile banking apps, which allow you to check your account balance quickly.

Having a good idea of how much is in your account means you can avoid running up unnecessary charges by going overdrawn when using a Mastercard® Debit Card. 

2. Suspicious Use

Contactless debit cards have brought a greater sense of convenience to shopping. When contactless payments were first introduced, the limit for transactions was £30, but this has now been raised to £100.

This means that if someone gets a hold of your contactless card, they could spend up to £100 without having to enter a PIN or provide an ID. However, if your bank spots a series of small transactions performed closely together in a short space of time, it can put a freeze on your card as this activity is deemed as suspicious.

Even if you haven’t lost your card and you are carrying out a series of small transactions, your provider may still get a bit spooked, and your card may be declined. 

To avoid this, you should avoid carrying out a large number of contactless transactions in quick succession. Use cash when you can or make purchases under £100 using your PIN from time to time. Your bank may also view money spent abroad as suspicious activity, so if you plan to travel overseas and use your Mastercard® debit card, it may be a good idea to inform your bank beforehand.

3. You Have Exceeded Your Daily Limit

For ATM withdrawals, most banks will set a limit on how much cash you can withdraw in a single day with your debit card. Depending on your banking provider, this can be between £250 and £350. 

If you have already withdrawn that amount and then try to use your debit card again to take out cash, your card may be declined. You may also have a daily limit set on spending using your debit card, and when you reach that, you may not be able to carry out any more transactions.

To avoid this, make yourself aware of any limits which apply to your debit card before attempting to use it.

4. You’ve Entered the Wrong PIN

Your Personal Identification Number (or PIN) is the four-digit number you enter when you attempt to withdraw cash or make a purchase using your debit card. If you have entered the wrong PIN, your bank will not authorise the transaction. 

To avoid this, make sure you remember your PIN. You can always change your PIN to a number you find easier to remember, but avoid having the same PIN for different cards.

5. Your Card has Expired

All Mastercard® debit cards will have an expiry date printed on them, and if you attempt to use it after that date, it will be declined. Keep yourself aware of the expiry date on your debit card and order a replacement card well in advance.

You may find that your bank will automatically send you a replacement; although it doesn’t happen within a month of the expiry date, you should contact them.

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