These are the dreaded words no credit card user ever wants to hear. It’s embarrassing when it happens and sometimes it shouldn’t have happened. I’ve actually heard this two times even though I have a high credit score and I pay off my credit card bills each month. I’ve only come close to the credit limit of one card once for a large purchase for my wedding and I keep a close eye on accounts. Unfortunately I’ve still had to experience that embarrassing moment of handing someone my card and having it declined.
Both times I was embarrassed initially and then angry that it had happened. I called my credit card company right away to see what had happened and it was because of the store’s machine! There was absolutely nothing wrong with my card and the credit card company hadn’t done something, it turns out that sometimes when stores swipe the card the information can get messed up. It was definitely a relief to know that it wasn’t anything on my end and that it wasn’t because someone had stolen my credit card number and racked up a huge bill. Still embarrassing though since it implies that my card was declined because I had spent too much money!
I would never want to be in the position where my card was declined because I had charged over the limit. Each of my credit cards has a limit way over what I usually spend in a month. It would be pretty crazy if I could max out those cards. Of course there are plenty of people who do this. These two incidents were unpreventable but there are ways to make sure you’re covered.
Stay far away from the credit limit
I know what the credit limit for each card is and I make sure to never get close to it. If I’m about to make a huge purchase then I make sure the card I would like to charge it on has a high enough credit limit. Another trick I do is to only use that card for that large purchase only. Little purchases can add up and if I don’t realize it then there’s a chance I could just nudge myself over the limit. It’s pretty uncommon that I spend a lot of money in one month though so I don’t get too worried. I pay off each balance every month so I get a clean slate.
Constantly check your transactions
I can do simple math in my head but I definitely don’t have a photographic memory to remember everything I bought. A day’s worth of eating and shopping can add up to quite a bit so it’s always good to check transactions to make sure you’re not nearing the limit. It’s also a good way to be vigilant about fraudulent behavior. The faster you catch it then the less harm it can do to you.
Notify the credit card company before traveling
This is an absolute must for international travel and a good idea for domestic. I have to say I don’t do this very often for domestic since I haven’t had any issues. Supposedly the credit card companies track your behavior and once they see something that doesn’t seem like it’s you they can put a hold on your card. In talking to a representative it can even be as little as 100 miles away from your usual location.
Carry more than one form of payment
It was just last Saturday that this happened to me! I went through three cards before I eventually paid. I first pulled out my Discover but they didn’t take that. Then my Visa got declined and finally my Amex was used. I also carry cash so that was my fourth option. At the least I try to carry one card and cash. If my card is ever declined then it’s good to have backups. Even more embarrassing than having your credit card declined would be not having a way to pay entirely.
Have you ever had your credit card declined?