Why Is My RBC Credit Card Declined?

Jack Prenter, Founder of Dollarwise

Experiencing a decline on your RBC credit card can be both surprising and inconvenient, particularly if you’re not immediately sure why it happened. A credit card can be declined for a number of reasons, from reaching your credit limit to bank errors, and even for your own protection against fraudulent activity.

Understanding these reasons can help you quickly address the issue and ensure that your card is functional for your next transaction.

A puzzled person's RBC credit card is declined at a checkout counter, with a frowning cashier and a line of impatient customers behind them

In order to address a decline, first check your account details such as your credit limit and any recent transactions. If everything seems in order, a call to RBC’s customer service might be the next step to uncover any less obvious issues like a hold or a block on your card that you weren’t notified about.

Key takeaways

  • Credit card declines can occur for various reasons from overspending to fraud prevention.
  • Check your account for errors or contact RBC for unexplained declines.
  • Stay informed about declines to prevent future inconveniences.

Understanding credit card declines

When your RBC credit card is declined, it’s crucial to understand the common reasons behind it. This helps you better manage your card and avoid future declines.

A person's RBC credit card is declined at a checkout counter, causing frustration and confusion. The individual looks puzzled while the cashier tries to assist

Common reasons for decline

There are multiple reasons why your credit card could be declined. It’s important to check these often to make sure you can use your card when you need it:

  • Insufficient funds: Your card will be declined if there’s not enough credit available for the transaction.
  • Entering incorrect information: If you’ve entered the wrong PIN or expiry date, your card won’t work.
  • Expired card: Credit cards have an expiry date after which they can’t be used.
  • Suspicious activity: Sometimes, to protect you, RBC might freeze your card if they detect unusual transactions.

Credit limit and utilization

Your credit limit is the maximum amount you’re allowed to borrow on your credit card. If you try to spend more than this limit, your card will be declined. It’s a good idea to keep track of your balance and be aware of your limit to prevent this from happening.

High credit utilization, which is when you’re using a large portion of your credit limit, can also negatively affect your credit score.

Fraud and security measures

RBC takes fraud very seriously. If there’s suspicious activity on your account that looks like fraudulent transactions, the bank will block your card for your security. If you don’t recognize a transaction or suspect fraudulent activity, report it right away.

RBC has measures in place to monitor and prevent unauthorized use of your card, but your vigilance is also a key factor in protecting your finances.

Troubleshooting declined transactions

When your RBC credit card is declined, it’s important to identify the cause promptly. You might need to verify account details, sort out issues with a merchant, or get in touch with RBC customer service.

A person's RBC credit card is being declined at a store checkout. The individual looks frustrated while the cashier tries to help resolve the issue

Verifying account status and details

Check that your account is in good standing and your card details are correct. Log in to RBC Online Banking or use the RBC Mobile App to ensure:

  • There are no holds on your card.
  • Your card hasn’t expired.
  • You’ve entered the correct CVV number during transactions.
  • No typos were made entering card information.

Resolving issues with merchants

If a transaction with a merchant is declined, you should:

  • Directly contact the merchant; they may reverse the charge or offer credit.
  • Wait 15-20 business days for the merchant to issue a credit before reaching out to RBC.

Contacting customer service

If the above steps don’t resolve the issue, reach out to RBC’s customer service. You can:

  • Call the customer service number on the back of your card.
  • Request assistance via RBC Online Banking’s secure messaging feature.

Proactive steps to prevent declines

When your RBC credit card is declined, it can be a nuisance or even embarrassing. To avoid such situations, here are some steps you can take to ensure your card transactions go through smoothly.

Keeping information up-to-date

Update Your Contact Details: Make sure your phone number and address are current with your credit card issuer. This helps them reach you quickly if they suspect fraudulent activity.

Expiration Date: Keep an eye on the expiration date of your card. If you receive a new credit card, activate it immediately to avoid a decline when the old one expires.

Monitoring account activity

Regularly Check your Balance: Stay informed about your available credit, and make sure you have enough credit for new purchases, especially large ones.

Review Transactions: Check your account often to spot any unauthorized charges or errors that could affect your spending power.

Understanding card terms and Conditions

Know Your Credit Limit: Be aware of your credit limit and manage your spending habits to prevent hitting that limit, which could result in a declined transaction.

Primary Cardholder Responsibilities: If you’re the primary cardholder, understand your responsibility for all charges on the card, including those made by any authorized users.


Even if you have money in your account, your credit card might be declined because of a holds on your account or unusual spending patterns which the bank flags as suspicious.

A credit card payment typically takes 1-3 business days to process. If a payment has not cleared, your available credit could be affected, potentially leading to your card being declined.

First, verify that the terminal accepts your card type. If it does and your card still isn’t working, call the number on the back of your card for immediate assistance from RBC customer service.

Yes, incorrect billing information, outdated saved card details, or the bank’s fraud prevention measures could prevent a transaction from going through.

Check that your card details and the funds in your account are current and correct. If everything seems fine, contact RBC to ensure there’s no issue with your automatic payments set-up.

Ensure that you have correctly linked your credit card and that there are no errors with the payment details. If it still doesn’t work, contact both your credit card issuer and the external bank to troubleshoot.

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