Why is my debit card declined when I have cash?

  • There are several reasons why a debit card may be declined even though you have money in your account.
  • Common reasons may include a city change or your card not being activated.
  • Keep control of your cards and consider using budgeting apps to avoid being locked out.

It’s a frustrating experience when your debit card is denied a purchase even though you know there’s money in your bank account waiting to be spent.

On the bright side, the reason for a declined debit card purchase can have a simple fix. Here are the most common reasons why your debit card may be declined and tips for solving your debit card dilemmas.

1. A different bank account has funds

You may have money in your savings account, but the checking or money market account you are withdrawing funds from has a negative balance.

Some financial institutions may refuse to overdraw your account, preventing you from making a debit card purchase.

Brian Walsh, CFP® Professional and Senior Director of Financial Planning at SoFi, said in his experience working with people that an overdrawn account was the most common reason a debit card purchase was declined. .

How to solve your debit card problem

Transfer money to the correct bank account so that there is enough money in your account to prevent you from overdrafting.

Keep in mind that you may have to pay overdraft fees or overdraft transfer fees depending on your bank. If your account balance has been overdrawn for less than 24 hours, you may be able to get an overdraft refund even if you don’t have overdraft protection.

2. You have reached your daily purchase limit

If you’ve made large purchases in the past 24 hours, your debit card may be declined because you’ve reached your daily purchase limit.

Debit cards have daily purchase limits set by financial institutions to keep your money safe. The daily purchase limit for your debit card depends on your bank.

Most financial institutions will typically allow you to spend between $400 and $25,000 per day on a debit card. Some banks also offer higher withdrawal limits for specific bank accounts.

How to solve your debit card problem

You can request a temporary purchase increase on your debit card to complete your purchase. For added security, you may be asked to verify your identity.

3. You traveled but did not notify your bank

Many banks require you to set a travel advisory before visiting a new city or country. If you have traveled to a new location and have not informed your bank first, a financial institution may refuse purchases because they believe it is an unauthorized user.

How to solve your debit card problem

Contact your bank to let them know you are traveling. Before your next trip, consider going through our travel banking checklist, so your banking doesn’t affect your vacation.

4. Your new debit card is not activated

If you just started using a new debit card because the old one expired, it may not be activated yet. You will not be approved for debit transactions that require a PIN.

How to solve your debit card problem

You can activate your debit card over the phone, online, at an ATM, or through your bank’s mobile app. When you turn it on, you’ll be able to set your PIN to something you can easily remember.

Tips for managing your debit cards

Walsh recommends keeping track of how often you use your debit cards and when they expire.

“You don’t want to end up in a position where you’re traveling and you just have an expired or unactivated card. That can really complicate your life,” says Walsh.

You can also use technology to your advantage by analyzing how much you owe, own and spend, notes Walsh.

“A lot of times technology gets a bad rap because it makes it easier for you to spend money and make impulse purchases,” Walsh says. “You can stay on top of your spending and see your balances and where your spending is in real time without having to pull out a calculator or spreadsheet.”

Budgeting apps let you link your bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial tools and organize expenses into categories. You can also set personal goals or limit spending through specific features on a budgeting app.