How to know if your debit card is blocked?

How do you know if your debit card is blocked?

If your debit card is blocked, there are a couple of ways to find out. Online purchases will be declined. Additionally, running your card at a brick-and-mortar store will likely result in a chip reading error or the inability to accept a PIN. The easiest way to find out before you purchase is by contacting your bank.

This article will review ways to figure out if your debit card is blocked, why your debit card may be blocked, and how to unblock it.

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How Do I Know If My Debit Card Is Blocked?

If you’ve ever been to the store and the machine won’t accept your debit card, your card may have been blocked from usage. Payments with a debit card can be declined from a card reading machine or online if you are trying to purchase through a website.

Additionally, ATMs will not allow you to withdraw money from your account if your card is blocked. If you suspect that your card may be blocked, you should call your banking institution.

Your bank will be able to see the status of your debit card and determine whether or not you can use it to make purchases or withdraw funds.

Why Is My Debit Card Blocked?

There are several reasons why your debit card can be blocked without your immediate knowledge. Most banks will try to contact you if your debit card becomes blocked, but not always.

The most common reason for blocking a debit card is if your bank suspects fraudulent activity on your account. They will take steps to block your debit card so that no further spending occurs until they can investigate the suspicious withdrawals.

In this case, they will most likely contact you immediately to determine if you actually made the charges to your account that look suspicious. If fraud occurs, they will cancel that card altogether and issue you a new one.

What Can Happen If My Debit Card Is Blocked?

There are some important things to be wary of if you know that your debit card is blocked. You may bounce a check because your account balance gets too low. Sometimes the bank will block your debit card because certain purchases such as airline tickets or gasoline need to have a hold until the purchase clears.

You need to be aware that these can affect your availability of funds as well as your ability to use your debit card to make purchases. If your debit card is blocked, you should also immediately notify or change the payment information for any bills or subscriptions that use that debit card for automatic recurring payments.

How Can I Unblock My Debit Card?

Unblocking your debit card can be as simple as calling your bank. Talk to a representative about why your debit card was blocked. If you have insufficient funds in your account, the bank will unblock your card once you’ve put more money in the bank and paid the overdraft fee.

If your card was blocked due to suspected fraudulent activity, go over your account history to determine if it is true or not. Your bank can unblock your card with confirmation from you if the purchases were valid. If not, they will completely decommission that card and send you a new one.

If you blocked your debit card yourself because you accidentally left it at a restaurant or in the changing room of the department store while shopping, you can unblock the card yourself. You can call the bank and have them unblock it if you get it back. Alternatively, most banks have mobile apps that you can block and unblock your debit card yourself.

Final Thoughts

Debit cards are handy when they work, but they can lead to frustration if they get blocked. If you suspect that your debit card may be blocked, contact your bank to find out. One of the things that can tip you off about the status of your debit card is if it gets declined when trying to make a purchase either online or at a physical store.

Your bank can help you clear up why your debit card is blocked which can be due to insufficient funds, suspected fraud, or purchase holds for certain items. Be aware that a blocked debit card can affect recurring payment plans. Talk with a representative from your bank to figure out how to unblock your debit card so that you can start using it again.


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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.