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Does your card getting declined affect credit score?

Seeing your card getting declined can be embarrassing and stressful, but it will not affect your credit score. However, some of the reasons your card might have been declined for—like a maxed-out card—can actually end up hurting it.

Why was my card declined?

There might be multiple reasons why your transaction was declined:

  • Your card is expired or new but has yet to be activated.
  • You have a sizeable pending transaction. For example, if you recently used the card to rent a car or book a hotel, there may be a hold on it, which could reduce the amount left on the credit card limit.
  • You might have reached your credit card limit. In other words, your credit utilisation is at 100%. This isn’t good—credit utilisation is a significant portion of your credit score, and Experian recommends keeping it under 25%.
  • You need to catch up on your credit card bill. Missed and late payments can also hurt your credit score. They also stay on your credit report for 6 years, regardless of whether you paid them in the end or not.
  • Your credit card was closed without you knowing. This can happen if you miss a letter from the credit card provider alerting you to late payments. A default can have a pretty big impact on your credit score—Experian says a default could lose you up to 350 credit score points out of 999.

Finally, a fraudster may have used your credit card number. This is why it’s crucial to quickly contact your bank or credit card provider and understand what’s happening.

If the reason indeed is a fraud, you should also:

  • Reach out to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion so they can remove the fraudulent transactions from your credit history.
  • Also, check your credit reports to see if there are any other suspicious signs of fraud (like credit applications or loans you don’t recognise).
  • Reach out to Action Fraud, the UK police branch that deals with internet crime and fraud.
  • Consider purchasing CIFAS protection registration, which lets lenders know that they should double-check any potential credit applications from you, as you might be the victim of fraud.

Does having a card declined to show up on my credit report?

No, having a credit card declined will not show up on your credit report and will not hurt your credit score. It’s very different from missing a credit card bill or loan repayment, which is not included in your credit history.

But, again, it might signal an issue that can impact your credit report, like a missed payment or identity theft. Get in touch with your bank and with the credit reference agencies if anything seems odd.

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Terms apply. Results may vary. Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. Wollit Credit Builder plans are unregulated.


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Terms apply. Results may vary. Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. Wollit Credit Builder plans are unregulated.