What to Do If My Debit Card Payment Is Declined

Has your debit card ever been declined? N26 is here to help you avoid this situation by giving you the knowledge and tools that you need to stay on top of your finances.

4 min read

Debit cards are a fast, convenient way to make purchases and withdrawals, but sometimes the transactions can be declined by the merchant. This can feel confusing and embarrassing, especially if you’re standing at a cash register with a line of people behind you. With an N26 debit card, you’ll receive an instant notification if a transaction is declined, so you’ll know immediately that your payment didn’t go through.

N26 is here to help you avoid this situation by giving you the knowledge and tools that you need to stay on top of your finances. Here’s what to do if your debit card is declined: 

Step #1: Take a deep breath. 

This happens to all of us sometimes and doesn’t always mean there’s a problem with your account.

Step #2: Try the transaction again.

Sometimes when a purchase doesn’t go through, it’s the result of a typo or a glitch in the vendor’s processing system. If you’re attempting to make an online transaction, type in your information again and double-check that it’s accurate. If you’re trying to buy something in person, politely ask the cashier to please try again.

Step #3: Check your account. 

There are several reasons why your debit card might be declined (see below). With the N26 app, you can review your current balance and recent transactions with just a few taps.

Step #4. Contact your financial institution. 

If you’ve reviewed your account but still don’t know why your card is being rejected, contact your bank. With N26, you can get to the bottom of things in moments with 24/7 chat support. 

Debit cards get declined for many reasons, but having an N26 card can help you prevent it in the future.   

Reason #1: You’ve reached your maximum daily limit.

Every checking account has a maximum limit on the amount of money that you can withdraw or spend each day. For example: If your maximum daily limit is $500 and you spent $500 this morning, any additional purchases you try to make this afternoon will be declined — even if you have $5,000 in your account.

N26 helps you avoid this issue because our maximum daily limits are higher than most other accounts: $1,500 for ATM withdrawals and $5,000 for purchases. This means that you’re less likely to exceed your daily limit and have your debit card transaction declined. If you’d like to change your daily ATM withdrawal and payment limits, you can do so directly in the N26 app.

Reason #2: You entered the wrong information.

Some transactions require you to submit additional information. For online purchases, you usually need to enter your name, address, and card numbers. In-person transactions may require you to enter your PIN (personal identification number). If any of the information is wrong, your debit card will be declined. Double-check your info and try the transaction again.

Reason #3: You have insufficient funds.

In other words: You don’t have enough money in your account to cover the amount of the transaction, so your bank has denied the charge. N26 helps you to prevent this problem with simple money management tools like Spaces. Use Spaces to stash away funds for unexpected expenses — like when you unexpectedly run out of money. With the N26 app, you can see your balance with a glance and transfer funds instantly with just a few taps.

Reason #4: There’s a suspicious transaction.

Your bank may freeze your account for your own protection if something doesn’t look right, like a purchase that is out of character with your normal spending habits. The N26 app includes numerous features that enhance the security of your account, like discreet mode and instant alerts for account activity.

Reason #5: You haven’t activated your card yet.

If you have a brand new debit card, you’ll need to activate it before it can be used anywhere. With most banks, you can do this by calling the number on the back of the card and providing some personal information, usually the last four digits of your social security number. With an N26 card, there’s no need to call. You can activate your debit card in the N26 app in just a few easy steps—login to your account, go to "Actions"→"Card Settings"→"Activate,” and enter your token number below your name. Sign the back of the card, and you’re ready to go.


Stay on top of your money with N26

With an N26 account, you can track your transactions, manage your finances, and avoid any future declines in payments. Our app is designed to put you in control of your money so that you can make smart decisions for your future.

Got 5 minutes? Discover mobile banking that fits your life with N26. Open your account today.

The N26 account is offered by Axos Bank®, Member FDIC. N26 Inc. is a service provider of Axos Bank. All deposit accounts of the same ownership and/or vesting held at Axos Bank are combined and insured under the same FDIC Certificate 35546. All deposit accounts through Axos Bank brands are not separately insured by the FDIC from other deposit accounts held with the same ownership and/or vesting at Axos Bank. The N26 Visa® Debit Card is issued by Axos Bank pursuant to a license by Visa U.S.A. Inc. The N26 Visa Debit Card may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

By N26

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