Debit card not working

Why Has My Debit Card Stopped Working?

Aug 28, 2018
By Mariclare Cranston, Content Specialist

It’s happened to a lot of us. You’re out at the store, or about to pull money from the ATM, and your card stops working. It’s frustrating, and a little scary, but there’s usually a good reason behind the sudden issue. Here are some common reasons your debit card might stop working, and what to do if that happens.

Suspicious Activity

Visa® monitors your debit card for suspicious activity, typically any activity that falls outside of either your usual geographic area or purchases that you typically make. If they suspect any activity, they will put a temporary hold on your card, protecting you from someone draining your checking account with your stolen debit card. If this happens, call us at 845.336.4444 or stop into any branch and ask if a suspicious activity hold has been placed on the card. If the activity is yours, the Member Service Representative will be able to release the hold.

All MHV debit and credit cards are automatically enrolled in Visa Fraud Alerts. You may periodically receive a text asking you to confirm a purchase. If the purchase is not yours, your card will be locked.


If you are traveling and using your debit card, our Fraud Detection Service may temporarily freeze your card to protect you from fraud, since your card is being used in a location you’re not usually at. It is important to call in and notify us if you’ll be using your card while traveling, ideally at least three days prior to your first travel date. That way, we can notate your account and recognize your purchases as your own. If you need to contact us after regular business hours, you can call 866.820.8794.

PIN Failures

 If you use your PIN a lot, it’s important to keep in mind that your debit card will only allow you to enter an incorrect PIN three times. Your three attempts reset once you enter a correct PIN, but if you entered your PIN incorrectly last year, then again earlier this year, and again today, and all your other transactions in between did not require a PIN, your debit card will be locked. This may seem like a nuisance but this feature is designed for your protection. If someone gets a hold of your debit card, you want them to have the least amount of attempts to guess your PIN as possible. To have your PIN reset, contact us at 845.336.4444 or visit any branch.

Inactive Card

 If you have a new debit card, make sure you called in to activate it. The card will not work until that activation occurs. To activate your debit card, call 866.985.2273.

Worn Card

Occasionally, your debit card just wears out. If the information is no longer readable, or if the card is cracked, the card will no longer work. If you are trying to use the card at a merchant that doesn’t use the EMV chip technology yet, the strip on the back of your card may have become demagnetized. This will render your card unusable, even if there is no physical damage. You can request a new card by calling 845.336.4444 and one will be mailed to you. If you stop into a branch, the Member Service Representatives can either order you one or print you a new one on the spot, although it is important to note that this Instant Issue Debit Card will have a different number.

Finding yourself with a debit card that doesn’t work can be frustrating, but keep in mind these measures are put in place to protect you from fraudulent activity. Knowing what to do in these situations will help alleviate some of the confusion. Be certain all of your personal information on file with us (address, phone and email) is up-to-date so that we can reach you if necessary.

At MHV, we’re here to guide you on your financial journey. If you have any questions, reach out to us at 845.336.4444.

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