Slip the credit card in to the slot, pull it out, wait for authorization. Simple procedure to get gas, one that has been done countless times. Not so simple when the message that flashes includes the word declined.

Immediately the mind goes into a panic mode. The heart races, blood pressure rises, the bottom falls out of your stomach. What could be the cause of this? Has someone stolen the credit card number through air waves? Miles from home this is not the message one wants to read.

Another credit card is used for the gas, so we can continue the trip, but I must also begin the task of finding out the cause for being declined. A quick call to the customer service number on the back of the card sets the mind back at ease.

“Did you purchase gas in Apple City, Minnesota this morning?”


“Did you just now try to purchase gas in Bethany, Missouri?”


“So sorry for the declined purchase, but everything is fine now. You may use your card. I will put a note on your account that you are traveling.”

“We will be home later this afternoon, so our travel is almost over. Thank you for keeping an eye on our account.”

A moment of panic, followed by relief. It is comforting to know that someone is watching for unusual activity.


16 thoughts on “Declined!

  1. I’ve had them call me to find out if… no I did not try to buy a big screen TV in Texas…it’s too far to travel back to Maine with it in my suitcase…if I even were in Texas…which I was not. So it is good to have them stopping the cards sometimes. I just don’t like the feeling when you are justifiably trying to make a purchase while traveling.

  2. So crazy! We just had a call from our bank that one of our credit cards had been compromised and we needed new cards. My husband went to get his, I still need to go in, but isn’t it nuts! You are so right, my heart dropped out of my chest when I heard. So glad your situation was not one to worry about, at least not for too long.

  3. Tam says:

    You described the declined card very well. We had this happen in Florida on vacation buying food for a week. Not a good start to a vacation or travel. Yes, got to hand it to the card people.

  4. Good to have them looking, but when you travel, also good to notify. I learned this a few years ago when purchasing groceries & the card was denied-eek! They were on it, like yours, & wondered how my card got to Florida? You wrote this up beautifully, Elsie, my heart raced a little too.

  5. So glad that panic turned into relief. It is good to know that the credit card company was keeping track of purchases and wanted to make sure your card information was not stolen.

  6. “The heart races, blood pressure rises, the bottom falls out of your stomach.” Love this sentence detailing what happens to the body when your mind goes into panic mode. Great slice!

  7. That happened to me last week and it turned out to be fraud! While irritating I was thankful. That panic, sinking feeling, I know that. Perfectly described. Glad it was just due to your travels!

  8. I felt the panic rise as you got the declined message. I think it has happened to all of us and we all know that feeling as we make our way home trying to figure out what we did wrong. I always assume it was my fault and forget how they keep track. it is scary and reassuring at the same time.

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