Troubleshooting Credit Card Issues

By Cory LaViska on April 29, 2019

If you're buying something online, there's a good chance it will be on a credit card. Unfortunately, charges don't always go through when you expect them to.

AMEX business credit cardIf your credit card suddenly stops working or if you can't start a new subscription because it gets declined, it's extremely likely that your bank is blocking the charge. Unfortunately, there are usually only two solutions to this problem:

  1. Contact your bank
  2. Try a different card

This can be frustrating for both the card holder and the merchant. Unfortunately, as an online merchant, rejected transactions are simply out of my control.


I've used Stripe to process credit cards for my business since 2014 (before they became massively popular) and they're really good at what they do. When something goes wrong on my end, I'm aware of it long before my users are, so every time I get an email about a rejected credit card I tell the user to contact their bank. About half the time, they reply with:

I just used the card this morning, so it must be your website.

Except it's not. As an online merchant, I have zero control over whether a charge goes through. If your bank blocks it, there's literally nothing me or Stripe can do. We're at the mercy of your bank.

I don't even get detailed errors when something like this happens. Most of the time, Stripe just tells me that the bank declined the card, but the bank doesn't provide a reason.

Another thing I hear from time to time is:

I've used this card for years...nothing has changed.

This happened to me recently. I've been a Campaign Monitor customer for years, and every month they charge the same amount to the same card for my subscription. One day, out of the blue, the charge got declined. When I called my bank, they simply had be verify that the charge was legitimate and lifted the block.


I know it's not fun, but credit card fraud is rampant on the Internet and banks have taken an aggressive stance to minimize losses. This often comes at inconvenient or unexplainable times.

Alas, if you want the charge to go through, you're going to have to call your bank.

Remember, us merchants don't get paid if your card doesn't work, so believe me when I tell you that we would jump through hoops to make it work if we could!