How long does a debit card stay blocked?

How long does a debit card stay blocked?

Debit cards can usually be unblocked immediately if you contact your bank. Otherwise, minor issues, like entering the wrong PIN, may take 24 hours to unblock. Debit cards blocked for suspicious activity can take up to a week to receive a new card.

Blocked debit cards can be a headache to deal with. If you need to make a purchase, but your card isn’t working, the first thing you’ll want to know is when your debit card will be available to use again.

This article will review the different lengths of time it takes to unblock your debit card. Additionally, we will cover how your debit card can get blocked in the first place and the steps you can take to unblock it before the automatic blocking period is over. Lastly, we will go over why your debit card can be blocked indefinitely.

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When Will My Debit Card Be Unblocked?

The time it takes for your debit card to be unblocked automatically depends on why it was blocked. If you entered the wrong PIN into a card reader while trying to access funds, the temporary block should lift within 24 hours.

You will need to contact the bank for debit cards blocked for suspicious activity or for being lost or stolen. In this case, the bank needs more information to verify there is no unauthorized access to your money. 

Your bank will often require proof of identification which you may need to submit in person. In some cases, the bank will accept you verifying your identity over the phone.

Alternatively, your debit card may be completely compromised or simply expired. In these cases, the bank will deactivate your current debit card and send you a new one. It typically takes about five to seven business days to receive a new debit card in the mail after you’ve requested it.

You can get your debit card back sooner by visiting a local branch. Most banks can print you a new debit card on the spot.

How Did My Debit Card Get Blocked?

Your debit card can be blocked for a variety of reasons. If you have insufficient funds or the bank detects potentially fraudulent charges to your account, they can block it automatically. Your card may remain blocked indefinitely if you don’t contact them to clear up the issue.

Your debit card can also be blocked if you enter the wrong PIN when making a purchase or trying to withdraw money from an ATM. After three incorrect tries, your debit card will not have access to your account until 24 hours have passed or you call the bank to resolve the issue.

You can also personally block your debit card by calling the bank or accessing your bank’s mobile app. You can authorize a blockage on your debit card if you leave your card at a restaurant or store or the card was stolen.

How Can I Unblock My Debit Card?

You can unblock your debit card with a phone call to your bank. They will be able to provide you with the reason why your card was blocked and how to unblock it. In the case of suspected fraud, they will go over the charges with you and issue a new card if the charges are unauthorized.

If your card was blocked because you entered the wrong PIN, you can either wait 24 hours for it to be automatically unblocked or call your bank. By verifying your identity with personal information such as your social security number or answers to preset security questions, they should be able to unblock it.

Sometimes unblocking your debit card requires you to visit a bank branch in person. Some banks will not perform identity verification over the phone to provide you with the best security possible.

Can My Debit Card Stay Blocked Indefinitely?

Your debit card can stay blocked indefinitely if you overdraw on your account. Your bank will be able to tell you what you need to do to unblock your debit card. Typically, there is a fee you need to pay, and your account should be brought back into the black before you can access funds with your debit card.

If your debit card was blocked due to legitimate fraudulent activity, your debit card will be permanently blocked. The bank will completely cancel that card so that whoever has unauthorized access can no longer use your money without your consent. You will be issued a new card.

The only other reason your debit card can be permanently blocked is if it expires. However, this shouldn’t cause too much of an issue because most banks will send you a new one before the old one is out of commission. If you don’t receive a new one in the mail, contact your bank to prevent interruption in the access you have to your account.

Final Thoughts

The length of time your debit card stays blocked depends on why it was blocked in the first place. For debit cards that are blocked due to incorrect PIN entry, the block will lift within 24 hours. For debit cards that are blocked due to suspected fraud, the block may take two to five days to be lifted after verifying your identity with the bank.

Debit cards blocked due to confirmed fraudulent charges or past expiration dates cannot be unblocked. In these instances, the bank will send you a brand new card that takes up to a week to receive in the mail.

If you block your own debit card because it was stolen or lost, you can unblock it right after finding it with the bank’s mobile app.

A phone call to your bank will help clear up any problems you may have with a blocked debit card. They can tell you exactly why your card is blocked and how you can take steps to unblock it. You may have to add more money to your account if you’ve overdrawn or provide proof of identification if you’re making a purchase that gets flagged as suspicious.


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John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.