Declines and failed expenses

OverviewCard expense declinesRestricted expensesAllowed merchants


There may be times when your Brex card transactions are declined due to factors ranging from spending rules set by your admins to protective restrictions implemented by Brex. By understanding the types of expenses that are permissible on your Brex card, you can effectively plan your company's future expenditures. Additionally, adopting a proactive approach can help prevent potential declines, ensuring smooth and uninterrupted transactions for your business.

Card expense declines

Your card may have been declined for a variety of reasons to help protect your security. Please review the following common reasons for card declines and try your expense again.

Incorrect credentials

For all your Brex cards, your card numbers, expiration dates, and CVV codes are different. Please ensure you have entered the correct card details.

Company limit reached

Employee Please reach out to an account or card admin for help with this type of decline.

Account or card admin check to see that your company has not reached its credit limit.

Budget rules

Expenses are tied to specific budgets and follow those budgets’ associated spend limits and policies. You may have reached your spend limit or are attempting to make an out-of-policy purchase. Ask an account or card admin about your budget restrictions.

Chip reader not used

When you use your physical card in person, please insert your card's EMV chip instead of swiping the magnetic stripe.

Not all Brex cards have the contactless capability enabled, in which case you should default to using the chip reader.

Unauthorized country

Make sure you’re not attempting transactions in any of these countries. If you’re still having issues, please reach out to our support team through your Brex dashboard for assistance. If attempting an online transaction, take a screenshot of the declined error message and include it in your outreach.

Platform Agreement prohibited merchants

Transactions at businesses related to activities that our Platform Agreement prohibits will be declined. This is expected, as Brex cards cannot be used at businesses that deal with weapons, marijuana and cannabis, illegal services, and any other restricted industries listed in our Platform Agreement.

Unsupported transaction type

We’ll automatically decline transactions that may pose a risk to your security. This includes withdrawing cash at ATMs.

If you still have issues, please reach out to our support team through your Brex dashboard for assistance. If attempting an online expense, take a screenshot of the declined error message and include it in your outreach.

Restricted expenses

There could be certain spend restrictions on your Brex card, such as types of vendors that you cannot transact with or certain countries that you cannot transact in. Below are some examples.

Blocked vendors

Brex card expenses will be declined at businesses related to prohibited activities noted in our Platform Agreement, including weapons, marijuana and cannabis, illegal services, etc.

Blocked countries

Due to certain restrictions, your Brex card expenses may be blocked in some countries.

As part of its enforcement efforts, the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities under programs that are not country-specific. Collectively, these individuals and companies are called Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs). Their assets are blocked and US persons are prohibited from doing business with them. More information on this topic can be found on the US Treasury website.

Allowed merchants

If you notice that expenses with a certain merchant are being repeatedly denied, we have the option to add the merchant to an “allowlist”. This will only help expenses go through under the following conditions:

  • The merchant doesn’t qualify as restricted as per the Restricted expenses section above.
  • The merchant’s industry is allowed by Brex.
  • You’ve previously transacted with the merchant (i.e., we can’t allowlist a merchant preemptively).

We can only add a merchant to the allowlist on a card-by-card basis. By default, we can only allowlist the merchant for the card that was used for the original attempted expense.

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