Why is my credit card account under review?

If your card issuer puts your account under review, you will likely be asked for some information. You should cooperate if you want a speedy resolution


A woman’s hookup with a “sugar daddy” turned sour as the checks he made out to pay off her credit card debt bounced and her account was placed under review.

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After a hookup with a “sugar daddy” turned sour, reader Monica is now going through a credit card review that is causing her anxiety.

For those not in the know, a “sugar arrangement” is a mutually beneficial dating tie-up in which typically a “sugar daddy” provides for a “sugar baby’s” financial needs.

However, Monica says she ended up getting scammed by a man she hooked up with. This man convinced her to give him the login information to her Discover credit card account. She took “a leap of faith” and gave it to him, and he paid off her approximately $1,750 credit card debt.

Then, he further sweet-talked her into buying more than $1,000 worth of gift cards. Although she didn’t want to, she went along with this since he “guilt-tripped” her about paying off her credit card.

Then came the shock. The check he had paid off the credit card with bounced. The sugar daddy then attempted another payment, and that check bounced, too.

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Monica then wised up and turned her attention to another man that she had been talking to since “the whole sketchy check bounce.”

This man she calls “Zack” turned out to be a more reliable sugar daddy, and actually paid off her about $3,000 card debt. Although the payment went through finally, her account is now under review.

Monica wonders whether the bounced checks triggered the review and is “stressing out like crazy” about whether she could be charged with fraud even though she had no idea that the man’s checks were bad.

See related: 4 wrong ways to escape credit card debt

What triggers a credit card account review?  

So what actually triggers a credit card account review?

A spokeswoman for Discover said, “Each situation is different, but usually an account is put under review because we need to verify some information with the customer.”

She acknowledged that bounced checks could call attention to an account and precipitate a review. As to how long a review could last, and what are the potential outcomes, the Discover representative noted, “We always try to reach customers immediately, but each customer situation is different and in some cases, it may take longer to respond. If a customer cannot verify certain information, we may need to close or revoke the account.”

It seems Discover doesn’t want to be very transparent about what might trigger a review for a cardholder. However, there are various factors that could lead to a credit card review in general:

  • Your spending pattern changes. If your purchase activity is at a lower dollar level, and then all of a sudden you charge the card for a much larger amount, that could set off an alarm.
  • You max out your credit card more than once. Another factor that could play a role is when you use your entire credit limit, pay it off, and then max out your card again, all within the course of a single billing cycle.
  • Your card payment fails. And, as with Monica, not having your card payment go through could also set off a card issuer’s alarm bells.

See related: Predictive analytics: Issuers’ crystal ball into card spending patterns

Keep your cool while your account is being reviewed

You could hear about a review being initiated when you are in the process of using your card. Or you might hear about it through an official communication from your card issuer.

The issuer could also ask you to provide certain information that it would use to undertake the review. This could include your tax information to verify your income or your bank statements. While you don’t have to provide any such information if you don’t want to, that would prevent the issuer from conducting the review – and possibly lead it to close your account.

As to what Monica might do to speed along the review process, the Discover spokewoman said, “Each situation is different, but if a cardmember is asked to verify information we will work with the customer to release the account as soon as possible.”

So Monica, it seems you should just cooperate and provide whatever information is required to speed along the process. Hope your review goes well!

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The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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