It’s happened to the best of us. You’re at the counter at Spinneys/ Carrefour/ Lulu with your trolley full of groceries when the cashier informs you that your credit card isn’t working. You hear the person waiting in line behind you sigh loudly as he glances down at his watch while you begin to panic.

Sure, it’s probably a technical error, you tell yourself, trying to ignore the little voice that asks you ‘but what if it’s not?’ If you’ve got a spare credit card or you have cash on you, great.

You would have only wasted a couple of minutes. If not, however, you will need to make a mad dash to the nearest ATM and avoid the stares of those in queue – probably not the most ideal situation to be in. Could you have avoided it? Maybe, maybe not.

First of all, make sure you have a reliable card in your wallet. You can read customer reviews of credit cards in the UAE at or follow the below tips on your existing card to avoid disappointment.

1. Ensure that you’re up-to-date with your credit card statements

A common and obvious reason for your card to be declined is that you’ve maxed it out. Until you pay your bills or contact the bank to discuss your limit, you’re going to have to give your card some rest. To avoid this, be sure to check your statements regularly (most banks give you the option to view these online) so you know how much you’ve spent in the month.

2. Know your credit card’s expiry date

It’s a relatively simple thing to do but most of us don’t stop to check our cards and see how long it’s valid for. It could just be that it has expired and you have not received a new one from your bank yet. If your card is close to expiry, call your bank to get a replacement as soon as possible.

3. Double check your information when making online payments

When buying items online, you’ve got to enter a lot of information including your credit card number, expiration date, security code and your billing address. Make sure that the information you provide is correct to avoid the disappointment of losing that unique dress you got your hands on.

4. Familiarize yourself with your bank’s rules on e-transactions

A lot of banks now have an e-verification system for anyone looking to make a transaction online and ask for a PIN number. Call your bank to confirm that your credit card will be accepted online and you have all the required information. Note that some banks do not allow online transactions through their cards.

5. Check the merchant’s payment options 

This is especially important when you’re travelling since some vendors may not accept a credit card issued from a foreign bank.

With the above checklist, the next time your card is declined would most likely be due to a technical failure on the part of the POS machine being used at the store; definitely one less thing to worry about in your busy day.