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Deep Dive: What can affect Expensify Card limits and cause declines?

Rachael Hopkins
Rachael Hopkins Expensify Success Coach - Admin, Expensify Team, Expensify Student Ambassador Posts: 904 Expensify Team
edited January 2023 in Expensify Card

If you find card transactions are being declined, first ensure you have “Receive realtime alerts'' enabled from your Expensify app Settings. Every decline will come with an immediate push notification explaining whether the transaction was declined due to “your daily spend limit” (more on this below), or something as simple as the card being cancelled, not yet activated, or entered with an incorrect CVC, ZIP, address or expiration date.

If the push notification does say “you've reached your daily spend limit”, this may be due to the Smart Limit for your card or the overall Domain Limit. These limits can each be affected by a number of different factors so let’s take a look at the main causes for declines…

Individual Card Limits

Before we look at what can go awry, it’s important to know how Smart Limits work. Smart Limits for individual cards are set by the Domain Admin. This limit applies to Unapproved expenses, so if yours is close to $0, submitting your reports for approval (and having someone approve them) is the quickest way to free up the balance. 

Users can see the current funds available (remaining limit) at any time within their account from Settings > Account > Credit Card Import on the Expensify web app. On the mobile app it is under Settings > Connected Cards.

There are a few other  things that may cause declines for individuals:

Suspicious Activity Alert: Sometimes this looks like Insufficient Funds or another generic message depending on the merchant terminal. Users should check the Expensify Inbox for suspicious activity alerts. This will need to be cleared and attempt the purchase again. (If you don’t recognise it, go to Request a New Card asap)

You’ll also get an alert to your phone and you can clear this task from your Mobile Inbox.

Your Smart Limit Changed: Your Domain Admin may have changed the limit since you last checked, always look at Settings > Account > Credit Card Import to see the current limit. 

Restricted Countries: For various reasons, merchants in certain countries may be restricted. 

Domain Limit 

Domain Admins can see the current Domain Limit under Settings > Domains > [Domain Name] > Company Cards. No user can spend more than is available here, no matter what their Smart Limit is. This Domain Limit is dynamic and depends on a number of factors, here are the main things to look for:

  1. Available funds in your Verified Business Bank Account: We check in on the bank balance via Plaid regularly, if your balance has had a sudden drop at some point in the last 24 hours it may have affected the limit. If you use a ‘sweep’ account, we recommend you keep a decent chunk of cash in this account even if you are sweeping it once a day.
  2. Pending Expenses: Use the Statement to check whether you have a particularly large settlement pending (i.e. Expenses from today) - the available balance will reflect that we’re preparing to deduct this settlement. Your Domain limit will update dynamically to reflect this.
  3. Processing Settlements: It takes around three business days for the settlements to fully process and clear, so if you have had three chunky days in a row, this may also be affecting your limit. Your Domain limit will update dynamically to reflect this.

The solution is almost always: Transfer more funds to your Verified Business Bank Account and wait at least 24 hours for your limit to refresh.

NB: Domain Limits do not rely on expenses to be Approved.

Requesting a Custom Limit

If you haven’t connected your bank account via Plaid, this is always a good first step to ensure you are getting the most accurate company limit. You can check that you are connected under the Payments tab. If there is a green Connect button under the settlement account settings, click “Connect/Fix” to re-establish the Plaid connection.

If your bank isn’t supported by Plaid, or you are having trouble staying connected via Plaid, you will have the option to request a custom domain limit under your Domain Settings (Settings > Domains > Company Cards, or click here:

You will be asked to provide three months of unredacted bank statements for the linked settlement account. Our risk team will review your request and let you know if we can support a custom limit based on a number of factors. If your company is assigned a custom limit, you will be asked to provide the most recent month’s statement every 90 days in order to maintain and/or make appropriate adjustments to your limit. 

If you can’t work out why your card is declining, please don’t hesitate to message Concierge via the Expensify app or email

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