“Card Declined by Issuing Bank” – Top 10 Reasons and How to Fix the Issues


Ever had to ask “why is my card declining?” This error is probably the most annoying card error because it is very ambiguous – no one can immediately tell exactly what the fault is. Besides, you only get this error when you’re trying to close a payment and move on – usually at an advanced stage of shopping.

This error “card declined by issuing bank” and its fix will now be narrowed down to 10 faults. To each issue, the fix is being displayed to help with the solution. Hope this helps.

Here are 10 reasons why your debit or credit card may have been declined and ways to fix the problem.

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The card has expired

You may have been trying to initiate the transaction using an expired card. Most debit and credit cards have an expiration span of three (3) years. After which, a replacement is issued in the bank or virtually. This is another common reason to have your card declined by issuing bank, check the fix below.

Fix (What to do)

Check the expiry date on your card. This information is usually at the bottom middle of the front of the debit or credit card. You would see something like 12/20 – the “12” before the slash indicates the month of expiration while the “20” after it indicates the year of expiration. If this date has already passed, contact your bank for a replacement.

Transaction limit reached

Your bank may have placed a threshold cap on your transactions. For most Nigerian banks, the limit is N1 million Naira for local transactions and just $100 for international transactions. These limits vary by bank. The aim of this is to help protect the customer funds from theft.

Fix (What to do)

Know your limits and plan your payments around them. You can also visit your bank, fill some forms and an indemnity, to raise your limit to the desired level.

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You have a wrong card type

While there are many other things that could be technically wrong with the card, choosing/having the wrong card type will ultimately make your transaction fail.

Fix (What to do)

Contact your bank to issue the correct type of card for you. For instance, only Verve Global Card, if enabled, can be used for international transactions. Verve Local cannot do international transactions.

You may have entered a wrong PIN

Every card has a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN) which is pre-chosen. The PIN is usually a 4-digit sequence of numbers, and it serves as your first-level security. If you’re prompted to enter the PIN, it must be entered correctly to allow the transaction to go through.

Fix (What to do)

Simply memorize your PIN. If you have more than one card and you’re confusing the PINs, just stop, take a deep breath and retry a second time. If you are still unsure, call your bank (the issuer) to process a PIN reset for you. Most cards lock users out after the third incorrect entry.

You’re initiating a restricted activity

Your new debit or credit card is likely activated only for basic transaction activities. These are (but are not limited to) ATM withdrawals, ATM transfers, local POS purchases, local online purchases. This is another common reason to have your card declined by issuing bank, check the fix below. The essence of this is to bolster the security of your funds against foreign hackers.

Fix (What to do)

Contact your bank to get information on which activities your card is allowed to do. If you’re initiating a restricted activity, your bank may be able to temporarily lift the restriction for you.

Internet connection issues

This is one of the most common reasons why your card is being declined, yet it’s usually the last thing everyone checks. In the buildup to your payment page, your internet connection may have tripped off. You need an internet connection to process a payment webpage.

Fix (What to do)

Check your internet router to be sure that the internet connection is strong and sufficient. Then, retry the transaction.

You’re are initiating an unusual transaction

Every customer, they say, has a consumer character – this means you actually have a usual spending trend which might not even be conscious of. Once the transaction falls out of this character e.g. if the transaction amount is unusually high or the frequency questionable, a robot in your bank places a Post No Debit (PND) order on your account to stop the transaction. This is a security feature whose aim is to protect your funds from potential theft.

Fix (What to do)

Your bank will probably contact you first through an authorised means to clear up the suspicion. If your bank does contact you, issue them a nice and clear response about the authenticity of the transaction. Then, try the transaction again at the time advised.

You’re in a geo-restricted region

Some banks/financial institutions add restrictions to specific regions, outside your main country/region, where fraudulent activities may be deemed high. This is another common reason to have your card declined by issuing bank, check the fix below.

Fix (What to do)

If you are trying to do a transaction outside your main country/region e.g international online purchase, you may have to inform your bank to activate it for that purpose/region. For instance, when traveling to another region, you will have to inform your bank and give the bank some details/time of your movement.

You have insufficient funds

So, this is the most common cause of a card being declined. Unless you have access to an overdraft facility, banks/financial institutions only allow you to draw on your available cleared balance. Once what you have does not cover the purchase you’re trying to conclude, your payment method will most definitely be declined.

Fix (What to do)

Always keep a close eye on your account balance to be sure that you can initiate your transaction. If possible, always take a quick glance at the account balance before even visiting PayPal, the online or physical store because card declines and their causes are also logged for an audit trail.

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You entered wrong card details

This error is also very common. To process debit or credit card transactions, you will be required to enter some of the card details. These details may include CVV, expiry date, card number, mailing address, cardholder’s name, and so on. Any mistake made while entering these details will prevent you from concluding your transaction.

Fix (What to do)

Do a double-check on all the card details you’ve manually entered, and correct all the errors you find. Also, be sure that the cardholder details you have entered match your personal details as they are in your bank account.


A declined transaction may be embarrassing, frustrating, or even cause you some inconveniences. Nonetheless, some of the causes are actually avoidable. Even when it’s happened, some issues can simply be fixed swiftly. Most times though, you may have to contact your bank for advice/action.

TAGS: why is my emerald card restricted, why is my emerald card being declined, why is my card declining, how to fix your transaction has been declined by your bank, transaction declined by bank, paypal card declined by issuing bank

  1. Verve vs Visa vs MasterCard: Which Card Type Should You Go For? - Bank Naija

    […] RELATED: “Card Declined by Issuing Bank” – Top 10 Reasons and How to Fix the Issues […]

  2. Andrew Emenanjo says

    My wife and I are trying to buy BTA to travel but each time I access the CBN portal I was told that ànd try to log in I received a notification that there is (no user with specified email address.I am a CBN retiree and the email address I use is the same I use to communicate with Pensions office of the CBN.Could you please help me find out the cause of the rejection of my email address.Thanksfor your help.

    1. Gbenga says

      This is a wrong thread. However, you can send a screenshot of the error message to banknaija@gmail.com, I will take a look.

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