Why Was My American Express Credit Card Declined?

If you are an American Express cardholder and your card was declined, there are several issues that could have caused the situation. Many of these issues have an easy fix, and having your American Express card declined is an avoidable situation. Note that American Express can also close the account due to certain conditions, many of which can also be avoided.

You've completed your shopping and are all set to pay for your purchases with your American Express card, only to have it declined. Why was your American Express card declined? When this happens, you can contact American Express customer support here. There are several reasons your card may have been declined. Below are some reasons your card may have been declined.

You're a Victim of Fraud

If your American Express card was declined, it may be that your account was flagged for suspicious/fraudulent activity. Even if you are the one making the purchase, your card's safety features may kick in when the purchase seems out of the ordinary based on your purchase history. It is easy to fix the situation; you just need to call customer support here and confirm you are the one making the purchase. American Express may still deactivate the current card and send you a new one, or it may unlock the current card.

You Entered Incorrect Information

If you are making a PIN transaction, you may have accidentally keyed in the wrong PIN. Cancel the current transaction and start over when this happens. If the transaction is still declined, it may have been due to one of the other issues discussed here.

Your Credit Card Has Expired

If you have your American Express card set up to autopay certain subscriptions, bills or other purchases, you need to make sure you update your expiration date each time for the purchases. If you have not, the transaction will be declined until the matter is corrected. As soon as you receive your new card each time, update any recurring payments with the new expiration date to avoid this situation.

American Express Isn't Accepted at That Location

Another reason your American Express card may have been declined is that it is not as widely accepted as Visa or MasterCard. Even if the retailer has a sign on the door that they accept American Express, policies and practices can change rapidly. Make sure the retailer accepts American Express before making the purchase to avoid this situation.

You're at or Near Your Limit

If your card is at or near the credit limit, this will affect your buying power. You will not be able to make purchases greater than your available credit. Keeping your balance low or at zero will help you avoid having your American Express card declined.

Your Card Has Been Canceled

American Express may have canceled your card for a number of reasons. Credit card issuers reserve the right to cancel accounts under some circumstances. Some of those circumstances include:

  1. You rarely used the card, or there were long periods of inactivity on the card.
  2. You are not making your monthly payments, or your payments are routinely late.
  3. Your credit report is showing a number of negative reports making you a poor credit risk.
  4. You have not accepted a change in the terms and conditions of the card.
  5. That particular card has been discontinued.

If you find your American Express card has been declined, explore the options above to see if any of them fit your circumstances. For more information or aid, contact American Express customer support here.

Why Did GetHuman Write "Why Was My American Express Credit Card Declined?"?

After thousands of American Express customers came to GetHuman in search of an answer to this problem (and many others), we decided it was time to publish instructions. So we put together Why Was My American Express Credit Card Declined? to try to help. It takes time to get through these steps according to other users, including time spent working through each step and contacting American Express if necessary. Best of luck and please let us know if you successfully resolve your issue with guidance from this page.

Why does GetHuman Write How-to Guides for American Express Problems?

GetHuman has been working for over 10 years on sourcing information about big organizations like American Express in order to help customers resolve customer service issues faster. We started with contact information and fastest ways to reach a human at big companies. Particularly ones with slow or complicated IVR or phone menu systems. Or companies that have self-serve help forums instead of a customer service department. From there, we realized that consumers still needed more detailed help solving the most common problems, so we expanded to this set of guides, which grows every day. And if you spot any issues with our Why Was My American Express Credit Card Declined? guide, please let us know by sending us feedback. We want to be as helpful as possible. If you appreciated this guide, please share it with your favorite people. Our free information and tools is powered by you, the customer. The more people that use it, the better it gets.

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