Customers ‘blame spouse, children or pet’ when payment card declined

Six in 10 retail and hospitality staff say they have experienced customers making excuses for a payment card being declined, according to a survey.

More than three-quarters (77%) of workers questioned had dealt with a card being declined during a transaction and, of those, 61% experienced customers instantly giving a reason.

Customers were most likely to say there was money in their account and the firm must have a technical issue, according to the poll from Merchant Advice Service.

The next most common reason excuse was that they had accidentally brought an old card out with them, the research among some 1,700 UK retail, bar and hospitality workers found.

In rarer cases, people blamed their spouse or children for money vanishing from their account, or suggested they may have spent their money on drinking over the weekend.

In one case, researchers heard that a customer suggested their card might not be working because their dog had urinated on it.

Libby James, co-founder of Merchant Advice Service, said: “It is so easy to panic when your card gets declined, but you must try to stay as calm as possible and think logically.

“Your bank may have declined your transaction if they suspect suspicious activity, perhaps when you haven’t notified them before attempting to splurge on a large purchase, or you may have just simply forgotten to activate your card.

“Whatever the problem is, be sure to contact your bank directly in those situations and regularly check your online banking to be aware of any problems that may occur and avoid any awkward encounters.”