4 minutes reading time
MAY 14 2021

What To Try If Your Prepaid Card Is Declined

We’ve all been there a time or two. You’ve got a prepaid payment card at the ready and a meticulously-filled online shopping cart, when that dreaded error message pops up: “Payment not accepted, please choose another payment method”. No matter how many times you enter the PIN or card number, you get this message or another like it. Before shutting down your screen in defeat, or cursing your card, we have a few troubleshooting tips to try first!

9 Reasons Why Your Payment Card Is Not Working


Some prepaid cards require activation or registration before use. This is not always the case because prepaid cards bought online are usually already “activated” when they are loaded with a balance. However, some companies require an extra step of registration as an added security measure before they can be used online to best protect the user and their funds. While this varies from card to card, this can usually be done easily on the prepaid card company’s website.

Did you already activate your prepaid payment card? Just note that this can be an instant process or there could also be a short wait time, depending on the company. With a little patience, your prepaid card will be ready to use in no time.

Partial Payments

This one is too often the culprit. Many online merchants have strict rules for using prepaid cards and they are not always so clear. Take split tender/partial payments for example. Most online retailers will not let you pay for 1 purchase with 2 payment methods, especially when combined with a prepaid card. Amazon is notorious for this obstacle. Blame technology or the store but don’t blame your prepaid card.

Recurring Payments

Ah, another tricky one. Usually, major network cards are more accepted for this type of payment, but it is always worth checking with the service to be sure. But if your card is being rejected for that subscription payment, this could be why.

Possible Fees

Prepaid cards cannot overdraft, which is super useful, but if your balance cannot cover all possible fees, it will be declined. Always check the taxes, transactions fees or conversion fees to make sure your card can cover all possible fees before trying to pay.

Regional Restrictions

Is your prepaid card region-specific? This means that it can only be used in the country of purchase, even in online stores. Some cards can be used abroad as one of their selling points, but make sure to check your card’s regional restrictions to be sure this is not causing an issue for you.

Correct Currency

Dollars, Pounds, Euros, oh my! If you’re trying to pay in a currency different than that on your card, you could run into a problem. Some cards allow this just fine (with a possible conversion fee) but it could be the reason your card is declined. So be sure to check the currency of your card and purchase.


This one may seem obvious, but sometimes people are unsure of the expiry date of their cards. It happens to the best of us. Just check that this isn’t to blame for your declined payment.

Authorization Wait Times

As fraud prevention, some cards can have up to a 24-hour period before they can be used. Try your purchase again the next day to see if that is the root of your shopping conundrum.

Terms & Conditions

Tried it all and still running into issues? Don’t give up! The best option is to check the terms & conditions of your specific card. All of the essential details can be found there. Yes, they can be a long read, but they are a goldmine of information when it comes to using your card correctly and you can usually find the answer to your question in there somewhere.

It may also be handy to read the terms and conditions of the website you are trying to make a purchase on. Sometimes they may allow prepaid card payments with some extra steps or contact. You never know, so it is worth a look!

Don’t Give Up On Your Prepaid Card

That’s all there is to it. Give these tips a try and you’ll be a prepaid payment card pro in no time! Once you define your card and its usage, it’s smooth sailing from there. There are tons of options out there, so you are sure to find the right one for you. Hopefully, by troubleshooting your card using this list of common issues, you can now complete that purchase effortlessly. Happy spending!