Ramp Credit Card Declined Transactions

Managing & preventing declined transaction on Ramp
Last updated: Jan 17, 2024

CS&S uses the Ramp platform for expense management including credit cards and reimbursements. See the Ramp User Guide for an introduction to using Ramp as a part of CS&S. Through the Ramp platform, CS&S provides virtual and physical cards to staff. While we do our best to ensure all users have necessary access to credit, users may still face declined transactions if cards are not used within their limits.

  • Over 80% of declined transactions on Ramp can be prevented with planning and proper card usage.
  • Credit card limits, other card restrictions, and locked cards are the most common causes of declined transactions.
  • Please allow one business day for any requests of limit increases or other card changes before your transaction or travel.

CS&S staff will not be available outside of normal business hours to resolve declined transactions (including Fridays and US holidays). Please plan ahead and request temporary limit increases for travel or other purchases above your credit limit.

Credit Card & Transaction Limits

In Ramp, each credit card has an overall card limit and some cards may have a limit per transaction. Over 50% of declined transactions are due to one of these two limits.

Card and transaction limits help reduce the risk of fraud, ensure proper documentation, and support necessary control and approval processes. CS&S also has an overall credit limit in Ramp across all cards (over 100+ credit cards); this credit ceiling constrains the limit we can offer for individual cards or projects.

To manage and avoid declined transactions due to limits, you may need to plan ahead for periods where you anticipate many large purchases (such as a retreat or buying several flights). A single large purchase may also require a credit increase or temporary card. Please request approval and allow one-business day before travel or anticipated purchase above your limit. CS&S staff will not be able to resolve declined transactions due to credit limits outside of business hours.

Requesting Temporary Limit Increase For any existing card, a Ramp user may request a temporary credit increase. This process allows a user to request a one-time increase for the duration of the card cycle, which will reset after the period is over. For example, if you have a card with a $5,000/week limit and are anticipating buying several flights, you may request an increased limit of $10,000 for a week. After a week, the limit will return to $5,000. The length of the temporary increase follows the card cycle (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.).

Requesting Limited-Use Cards with High Limits If you anticipate a one-time purchase for a large amount (generally over $10k), such as an event space or hotel group booking, you may request a limited-use virtual card. Limited-use cards may also be useful for several large purchases in a short period of time, such as booking several flights for multiple people. A temporary virtual card is especially useful for areas where fraud risk may be higher. We recommend a limited-use cards for single transactions over $10,000.

To request a new card, click Request Spend on the top right of Ramp. Select virtual card and specify the card purpose. For limit-use cards, we recommend a setting the frequency to Total, meaning the card cannot be used once the limit is reached. We also recommend the auto-lock date to be set, under Advanced -> Spending Controls and Restrictions.

Card Restrictions

Ramp cards, especially for higher limit cards or cards with specific purposes (such as Cloud Computing or Online Software), may have merchant or category restrictions. These restrictions help reduce the risk of fraud, as these cards are often used for recurring online purchases. They also facilitate documentation and approvals.

All staff should have a general purpose card available to them, if not they may request a new one. This card is best suited for in-person use, non-recurring online purchases such as travel. Please use dedicated cards for recurring online services.

Locked Cards

Ramp cards may be locked, which will cause all purchases to be declined. Cards are automatically locked if transactions over 60 days old are missing receipts or memos. Cards may be manually locked be users or CS&S staff under exceptional circumstances.

Automatically Locked Cards If you fail to submit receipts or memo for a transaction for 60 days, the card used for that transaction will be locked. You will receive a warning from Ramp 24 hours before this occurs. Please make sure to submit receipts and review transactions monthly to avoid automatically locked cards. To resolve this, you can either submit documentation for the missing transactions or request CS&S staff to snooze the requirements.

Cards may also be automatically locked if they had an "auto-lock" date when set up.

Manually Locked Cards Any user may manually lock cards. This may be useful if you suspect fraud or other issues with the card. Under exceptional circumstances, such as recurring fraud and no communication from the user, CS&S staff may manually lock a card and notify the user.

Other Declined Transactions

The vast majority of declined transactions can be avoided through proper use of the cards and sufficient notification to CS&S staff when higher limits are needed.

In 20% of cases, a transaction may be declined for "Fraud". Unfortunately, CS&S staff do not have any visibility on reasons cards are declined in these cases, nor can we support resolution. Merchants may on occasion refuse a card when the billing address does not match a shipping and/or IP address location. There may also be occasional issues with virtual card acceptance.

To resolve these, we suggest working with the merchant to understand the reason the transaction was rejected. Ramp customer support may also help resolve transactions declined for fraud.

Ramp User Guide


Senior Director of Operations, Code for Science and Society

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