Declined Transactions

Did a transaction get declined? Here are some common reasons why transactions were declined and how to fix them.

When a transaction is declined, an email is sent to the user with the reason for the declined transaction. The email usually looks like this:

Listed below are the multiple reasons why a card might be declined:

Card Detail Errors

Zip Code Mismatch

The zip code of the purchase should match the zip code of the billing address of the card. Click here to find the card's billing address.

In order to process it successfully, the user will need to do one of two things:

  1. Try the transaction again but enter in the zip code from the billing address of the card.
  2. Click "It's Good" and try the transaction again. It will ignore zip code mismatches from this card for this merchant in the future.

Incorrect Billing Address

Did the zip code match the one from the billing address and the transaction still declined?

Did you or the cardholder receive an email with the subject "[Emburse Cards]  Purchase declined at MERCHANT NAME for $118.00"? If you click "It's Good" in the email, the next time you make a transaction with the card at that merchant, it should go through successfully.

Occasionally, what happens is when users submit the correct zip code to the merchant, the merchant will send the incorrect zip code to the credit card processor, or even no zip code at all. This miscommunication results in a declined transaction, as it doesn't match the one we have on file. When this happens, we recommend you click "It's Good" in the email and try the transaction again. 

Clicking "It's Good" will ignore the zip code check the next time a transaction is made on the card for that merchant.

Incorrect Cardholder Name

The cardholder name must match the name of the person making the purchase. To ensure you have the correct name on the card visit the Cards page and view the card details. 

From there you can verify the cardholder name is the same as the name of the person making the purchase. 

Spending Restrictions

Read more about how to change spending restrictions here.

If the card has a set budget, to allow for more purchases to be made on the card the amount the card can spend must be increased. Review the spending restrictions by clicking on the card from the Cards page.

Allowance Policy violation

The card can be used at certain merchants for certain amounts at certain times of day. Review the spending restrictions by clicking on the card from the Cards page.

Merchant Restrictions

 If there are merchant restrictions, the card can only be used at certain merchants. Review the merchant restrictions by clicking on the card from the Cards page.

If you would like more details on the merchant's category, and when the transaction was made, we recommend clicking on the "Details" section of the transaction. Example:


To add the merchant category to the spending restriction on the card, you can follow the instructions here: Spending Restrictions

Transaction Limit

The card may have a specific per-transaction limit that can't be exceeded. Review the transaction limit on the card by clicking on the card from the Cards page.

Date Restrictions

The card has a set start time for when purchases can be made. Review any date restrictions on the card by clicking on the card from the Cards page.

Overdue Tasks

The card currently has overdue tasks so spending is limited until the overdue tasks have been completed. Log into Emburse Cards to clear out any overdue tasks.
Read more about expense policy enforcement here.

Insufficient Funds

The Emburse Cards account does not have enough funds to approve the transaction. An admin of the account needs to transfer more funds into Emburse Cards before transactions can be made.

Read more about how to transfer funds into the account here.

Invalid CVV

For a physical card, the CVV is the three-digit number on the back of the physical card to the right of the signature line. If the CVV was entered incorrectly the transaction may be declined.

For a virtual card, the CVV is listed on the card through the Cards page.

Inactive card

The card may be either unactivated, suspended, or canceled. Click on the card on the Cards page to view the current status of the card.

Read more about card statuses and how to change card statuses here.

If the card is inactive, and you need to re-activate the card, follow the instructions here on how to activate a card.

Suspicious Activity

The transaction triggered our fraud detector which marked the transaction as suspicious. If the transaction is legitimate, you can click "It's Good" in the email and try the transaction again.

Any transactions made on that card for that merchant will be allowed in the future.

Network Error

These errors are due to communication issues with the card network. It's a technical error that's usually resolved by attempting the transaction again. 

No Decline Email

If the purchase was declined but you didn't receive a decline email, then Emburse Cards may not have received a record of the attempted transaction. Double-check that an Emburse Cards card is being used to make the transaction.

The merchant may not have sent an authorization out. Sometimes, this happens when the card triggers the merchant's internal fraud systems before it ever hits the Visa or Mastercard networks. For example, if the merchant's fraud filters determined this card was likely fraud, they may have just declined the authorization without even bothering to send it out.

We recommend checking with the merchant to see if they can resolve this issue on their end.

Automatically Declined Merchant Category Codes (MCC)

There are a few MCC's that will automatically be declined if a purchase falls under that particular code. 

Below are a list of MCC's that will automatically decline:



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