What does a suspended credit card mean?

Learn what happens if your credit card is suspended, why it may have happened and how it might impact your credit scores.

It can happen to anyone: You try to use your credit card, and it’s declined. It might be because your card has been suspended, which is when a credit card issuer has temporarily locked or frozen an account. 

There are a number of reasons a credit card account might be suspended or possibly restricted. Learn more about them, and get the lowdown on potential fixes, impacts to credit scores and related topics.

Reasons for credit card suspension

A credit card suspension can happen for a variety of reasons. Some common causes include:

  • The balance exceeds the credit limit.
  • There are concerns of fraud, based on suspicious transactions.
  • There are late payments.

Keep in mind that a suspended card doesn’t mean the account is closed. It could just mean you’re temporarily unable to use the credit card.

Does credit card suspension affect your credit scores?

It can be inconvenient when your credit card is suspended. But what does it do to your credit scores? If the suspension is permanent, it could lead to your account being closed. That can affect two factors of your credit scores: the length of your credit history and your credit utilization ratio, which is how much total available credit you’re using.

Payment history is another factor involved in credit scoring. So if your account was suspended because of late payments, they could also affect your credit scores. Plus, those late payments can stay on your credit reports for up to seven years from when they were reported.

Can you reactivate a suspended credit card?

If your card’s been suspended, you could contact your credit card company to see what options you have. The ability to reactivate suspended or restricted accounts might depend on things like the company, the cardholder and the circumstances of the suspension or restriction.

To see the status of your account and what’s been reported, it might be worth checking your credit reports. One way to do that is with CreditWise from Capital One. CreditWise is free and available to everyone—even if you don’t have a Capital One account. And using CreditWise won’t hurt your credit scores.

You can also receive free copies of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com or call 877-322-8228 to learn more.

Ways to help avoid credit card suspension

To help prevent the occurrence—and unpleasant surprise—of a suspended credit card, here are some steps you can take:

  • Make your payments on time. Missing payments for an extended period of time could lead to a permanent suspension of your account.
  • Keep a close eye on your credit card spending, your balance and how close you are to the credit limit. Going over your limit could result in a suspended account.
  • Sign up for fraud and security notifications the credit card company may have. You’ll then be notified of transactions that could look suspicious and result in a suspension, such as large or unusual purchases.

When it comes to credit card suspensions, knowing more about what’s going on—and how you can respond—could be helpful if it ever happens to you.

We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

Your CreditWise score is calculated using the TransUnion® VantageScore® 3.0 model, which is one of many credit scoring models. It may not be the same model your lender uses, but it can be one accurate measure of your credit health. The availability of the CreditWise tool depends on our ability to obtain your credit history from TransUnion. Some monitoring and alerts may not be available to you if the information you enter at enrollment does not match the information in your credit file at (or you do not have a file at) one or more consumer reporting agencies.

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