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Embarrassing "your card has been declined" stories

Established Contributor

Embarrassing "your card has been declined" stories

Anyone have an embarrassing story where the cashier or waiter said it loud enough for everyone to hear?


For me, my Discover was declined at Walmart and the clerk insisted I insert it again only to have the same result. ( For me it was irritating because I assumed if it declined once it was going to decline again still have no clue why it declined).


I also have the my Target Redcard stopped working so the clerk had me insert it 3 times until the terminal and cashier told me to slide it ( As we all know Target cards do not have a mag stripe). I also loved the Call center employees response when I called upset and asked for a replacement card. She insisted I did not need a new card and that if it did not work next time I should just hand type the card number in until the card expired and I was auto issued another one. 5 years of hand entering my card number I would have gone nuts. Well upon her advice the next time I went to Target I tried to hand input the number but the system refused to accept it. Called and got a new rep who told me Target did not allow Redcard numbers to be entered manually and that the other CSR was terribly mistaken. Imagine the line of angry people behind me at the checkout counter and a frustrated cashier.

AAOA 15 months Fico 08's 714 717 678 11% Utilization
Message 1 of 41
Established Contributor

Re: Embarrassing "your card has been declined" stories

My bus card was having trouble reloading for some reason. So for 3 days straights it kept going off on me when I used it.  Kept going further into the negatives. I'm sure the other riders thought I was some poor hobo.

Message 2 of 41
Valued Contributor

Re: Embarrassing "your card has been declined" stories

Years ago at the gas station, before I started using credit cards. I pumped, walked inside to pay with my debit card and it was declined. The girl looked at me like I was trying to deceive her or something. Luckily, I remembered some emergency cash that I had stashed in my phone case and paid with that. I left the gas station and called my bank. They said there is nothing wrong with the card and they don't even see a record that a transaction was attempted. Okay, it was a mistake/confusion. Went back to same gas station a few weeks later and had the same issue. It was around this time that I stopped using debit all together and started using credit cards. But I still won't go to that gas station out of embarassment.

Message 3 of 41

Re: Embarrassing "your card has been declined" stories

I have a few, this is the best one...


I was with a friend at a 'nice' burger place, had already eaten and was paying the check when the server came back and told me my debit card had been declined - even showed me the printout from the terminal - sure enough, "DECLINE" plain as day.  My friend graciously offered to pay (that was the embarassing part) but thankfully I had a debit card for another account at a different bank, which worked.


After paying I asked my friend if she would mind us going by the ATM to check my account (we were riding together) since I knew I had money in the account (I admit the secondary reason was I wanted her to know I wasn't broke... LOL).  Sure enough, my money was there.  I called the bank when I got home, and they had no record of the decline or even an attempt to use my card that day. 


From that day on, I have made sure I always have a backup payment method, especially if it's a situation where you pay afterwards, i.e. restaurant, haircut, etc.  I also make sure to especially have a backup if I'm planning to pay for someone else.  I'm not to concerned about the opinions of a clerk I'll never see again, but a friend/date/coworker is different.

Message 4 of 41
Valued Contributor

Re: Embarrassing "your card has been declined" stories

I've only had one credit card declination in my life, it was very recent, and it was due to suspected fraud. 


During a night of barhopping with my friend, I gave him my BoA 123 and told him to go buy us another round. He came back and said the card was declined, which was confusing, since I had been using it all night in the area, and had used it 30 minutes prior at the same bar. 


I shrugged it off, pulled out my Amex and paid with that. I didn't know why my Visa stopped working, and said I would check it out in the morning. 


7 hours after it stopped working, BoA finally emails me and texts me, asking if the purchases were legit. Way to be on top of it, BoA. Smiley Frustrated

Starting scores: 552 EQ, 570 TU, 558 EX Current scores (12/29/17): 742 EQ 735 TU 752 EX
Message 5 of 41
Established Contributor

Re: Embarrassing "your card has been declined" stories

This area has a 36 year Chamber of Commerce president.  I knew exactly who he was the first time I saw his face.  He had already pumped his gas and then his credit card got declined.  He did produce another card to pay for his gas.


Not having enough money to pay for something is about my biggest nightmare.  The people around me have no idea who I am but it's still one of the biggest embarassments I ever go through.


Below is my two 6 card wallets.  I keep one in each front pocket.  With a diverse lender lineup I hope if one ever does get declined another will pay the tab.


Before I leave the house I generally know which card I am going to be using wherever it is I am going.  I'll check the website to make sure things are all good beforehand.  And yes I do that even though my utilization never goes above 2%.

Credit Card WalletsCredit Card Wallets

Message 6 of 41
Established Contributor

Re: Embarrassing "your card has been declined" stories

Thanks to everyone who shared their stories I enjoyed reading them! I am also glad that I am not alone! I believe my issue with the Discover was I had asked for cash over because it did it to me again at the grocery store a week later; however when I reinserted without asking for cash over it went through.  

AAOA 15 months Fico 08's 714 717 678 11% Utilization
Message 7 of 41
Established Contributor

Re: Embarrassing "your card has been declined" stories

I've never been declined for lack of limit or payment, but I've had cards not work because I haven't activated them yet. Felt slightly embarrased, but no biggie. 

Message 8 of 41
Senior Contributor

Re: Embarrassing "your card has been declined" stories

Happened to me MANY years ago, I think it was at Macy's but maybe at Bloomingdales.  Clerk asked if I wanted to apply for the store card, I did, got a $2000 or $5000 approval immediately and then when she went to process it she said "I'm sorry, your card was declined."




She called and after about 45 minutes of different departments, they approved it.  Senseless waste of my time.  I was so livid I didn't shop there for a year even though I was usually in there every 2 weeks for clothes and gear.

Message 9 of 41
Regular Contributor

Re: Embarrassing "your card has been declined" stories

My debit card was declined once at a gas station in Jersey. I was traveling. I guess I was supposed to let them know I was traveling before hand.

Scores TU 713 EQ 701 EX 705
Inquiries 8-11 across. 5-8 recent
UTI 18% AAoA 3.5
No baddies
Total CL $63400
Goal 2018 $75000 (via soft pull CLI’s)

Message 10 of 41