Can a debit card be blocked?

It is common knowledge that a credit card can be blocked for many reasons, from suspected fraud to going over your credit limit. But can a debit card be blocked?

Debit cards can be blocked either by the bank that issues them, the store accepting payment or the cardholder. Debit cards act similarly to credit cards, the exception being that there is an actual account with funds tied to it. 

In this article, we will review the ways your debit can be blocked, why it can be blocked, and what to do if your debit card does get blocked. Additionally, we will advise you on the ways to tell if your debit card is blocked.

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How Can a Debit Card Be Blocked?

Your debit card can be blocked by your bank, the store, or yourself. Debit cards are often blocked for fraudulent activity, overdrafting, or entering the wrong PIN too many times. 

Your bank can block your debit card if they suspect fraudulent activity or you have overdrawn on your account. 

The store itself can block your debit card if they have had issues in the past with multiple fraudulent charges from your account.

Additionally, you have the power to block your own debit card. Freeze your card if you suspect that there are unauthorized purchases on your account or you lost your card. Freezing your card will prevent someone from using it. 

You can choose to block the card until the issue is resolved.

You can call your bank to let them know you want to freeze the card. Alternatively, most banks have mobile apps that you can choose to block your debit card with the tap of a button. 

Why Can a Debit Card Be Blocked?

A debit card can be blocked for various reasons. The major reason your debit card may be blocked is due to suspicious activity. Debit cards can also be blocked for entering the wrong PIN, overdrafting, or entering the wrong information online.

The bank may suspect fraud if purchases begin to show up in locations where you do not normally shop or in extremely large amounts. If your card has a history of fraudulent charges at a certain location, the store may block your card.

Entering your PIN wrong three times on a card reading machine can cause your debit card to be automatically blocked. The card reader will not allow you to go through with the purchase.

Your debit card will be blocked if you overdraw your bank account or the debit card has expired. and you cannot use it to make purchases. 

Some people get their cards blocked when making an online purchase. Typically, debit cards will be blocked if the information on file with your bank does not match the information you input into the checkout window.

What Do I Do If My Debit Card Is Blocked?

Call your bank to unblock your debit card. You will not be able to use that card to make any purchases until the issue is resolved. The bank will be able to tell you why the card was frozen.

Your bank will ask to verify your identity if the debit card was blocked because of suspected fraud or an incorrect PIN entered. If they can authorize unblocking your card over the phone, they will validate your identity by asking personal questions.

Usually, these come in the form of preset security questions, the last digits of your social security number, or a designated password. Sometimes, the bank will only allow your debit card to be unblocked if you visit a branch in person.

Under certain circumstances, the bank may have to issue you a brand new card. If you have overdrawn, you will need to pay an overdraft fee and correct your negative bank account balance before they can unblock your debit card.

How Do I Know If My Debit Card Is Blocked?

You can check your bank account online to see if there are any holds on your debit card. These should be clearly outlined in your bank statement. You can also call your bank to see if your debit card has been blocked.

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Most likely, your bank will contact you if your debit card has been blocked, especially if they believe a fraudulent purchase is occurring.

Perhaps, the most obvious way to find out if your debit card is blocked is by trying to make a purchase, whether online or in a brick-and-mortar store. If your card is declined, you may have a block on your account. Sometimes, card declines are the fault of the store’s machine, or there is a chip error.

However, the reason is most likely a blocked debit card if you try to run the card multiple times with no success. If you suspect your debit card may be blocked, call your bank before your plan to purchase in order to save yourself the headache.

Final Thoughts

Although debit cards have access to actual funds instead of borrowing on credit like credit cards, they can be blocked. Banks, stores, and cardholders all have the power to block a debit card for a variety of reasons.

If you lose your card or suspect someone has access to it without your permission, you can contact the bank to place a freeze on your debit card. Alternatively, if the bank suspects fraudulent activity or you have overdrawn on your account, they will block your debit card. Most likely, the bank will notify you with a call or a flag on your account history.

A store can also block your debit card if it shows a history of fraudulent charges. Additionally, if you enter the wrong PIN too many times, your debit card can be blocked from further purchases. To unblock your debit card, all you need to do is call your bank.

They will be able to help you resolve the issue. You may need to be sent a new card or confirm your identity for the bank to unblock your debit card.

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