Credit cards can be a savvy way to manage your money, particularly if you earn rewards or cashback with every purchase. However, it can be frustrating (and embarrassing!) when your card is declined or blocked. To find out why this happens – and what you can do about it – take a look at these top three reasons why credit cards are blocked:
1. You’ve Reached Your Credit Limit
If you’ve reached your credit limit, the issuer might block any future payments from being made on the card. Alternatively, the issue might allow the payment to be processed but then charge you an additional fee. It’s easy to lose track of what your available balance is, especially if interest has recently been added to your account.
In some cases, the card will automatically work again once your balance has been brought below the limit. However, some credit companies insist that the card is reactivated once this has happened, which means it can take longer to resolve the issue.
Fortunately, official apps and online credit card portals provide an easy way to keep up to date with your balances and avoid going over the limit.
2. Your Spending Pattern Changes
FinTech systems are adept at identifying patterns in customer spending and, if yours changes, you might find that your account gets locked due to suspicious activity. This is designed to protect you from fraudulent transactions, although it can be annoying if you’re trying to make a payment and it’s blocked because the issuer assumes it’s not you using the card.
Some companies will send a text or call you from an automated line and ask you to authorise the transaction before processing it. However, do be wary and don’t give out any identifying information, as scammers often use this technique to gain access to your accounts. Alternatively, you might have to contact the company directly to get your card unblocked.
3. You Gamble Online
Card issuers tend to be proactive about monitoring payments made to online gambling sites and casinos. This is because a significant number of fraudulent transactions are made to these types of sites. If a hacker transfers your money to an online casino, for example, they can then withdraw the funds to a different account and use it as they wish.
Of course, millions of people enjoy visiting online casinos safely and overzealous credit card companies needn’t prevent you from doing this. By choosing the best online casinos and the most reputable sites, you can reduce the risk of a transaction being queried or your card being blocked.
Keep Your Credit Cards Active
If you want to reduce the risk of your credit card being blocked, contact the issuer in advance if you know you’re going to be making an unusual transaction. If you’re going on holiday abroad, for example, notify the issuer that you’ll be using the card in a different country, so that they don’t put a hold on it. Similarly, setting up a list of preferred vendors can help to prevent you card from being blocked.
As always, talking to your creditors is always the best course of action if you want to keep your cards active and use them safely.