What is a pending credit card charge?
You may notice pending charges on your credit card statement or online banking. A pending charge, also known as a ‘hold’, is an approved transaction that your issuer has yet to post to your account balance. This may be because a merchant wants to check you have enough funds available or you made the transaction outside of your issuer’s business hours.
It’s important to understand pending charges as they will affect how much credit is available on your account.
What causes pending credit card charges?
Pending charges can occur when merchants request authorization of payments to ensure you have the funds available but still need to confirm the total amount. You may see two charges for one transaction on your credit card as a result; one for the authorized amount and one for the final total. Your issuer will clear the pending charge once processing is complete.
Hotels or car rental companies may require card pre-authorization to guarantee payment for bookings. These will appear on your account as pending transactions, even if you choose to pay with a different method.
Credit card payments made outside of business hours will remain as pending until your issuer can process them. If the merchant has yet to process it on their end, a hold will show on your account, as your issuer will be unable to confirm the transaction.
How long can a charge be pending on my credit card?
A charge can be pending on your account for up to five days. There are several factors that affect how long a pending charge will appear on your credit card. These include when you made the transaction and how long it takes the merchant to process it.
Card pre-authorizations may also show on your account for longer. If you use your credit card to make a hotel booking, the hold will typically last up to 24 hours after check-out.
How does a pending charge affect my balance?
Pending charges immediately reduce your available balance by the amount due. For example, if you make a hotel booking with your credit card, the front desk may put a hold of $150 on your account to reflect the room rate. Although they are not charging you yet, the amount is still deducted from your available credit.
Once processing is complete, the transaction will show on your current balance as normal. If you choose to pay for bookings with a different card or method, pre-authorization holds will clear once the merchant confirms this to your issuer. As long as a transaction is still pending, no interest will be due.