A Guide To Pending Credit Card Charges (2024)

A pending credit card charge is an approved transaction that is yet to appear on your account balance.
Find out why pending charges appear on your credit card and how long they can affect your available balance.

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.

A Guide To Pending Credit Card Charges (2024)


How do pending credit card charges work? ›

A pending credit card transaction is a purchase or charge that hasn't been fully processed. This happens when the credit card issuer has confirmed that you have the available balance to pay for the purchase but has not fully processed it yet.

How long does it take for a pending transaction to clear? ›

Pending transactions generally take between one and five business days to clear. That time can vary based on the type of transaction, the payment network, and the bank or credit card issuer.

How long can a pending charge stay on your 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.

Is a pending transaction already paid? ›

When a payment is marked as “pending” it means that the payment process still needs to be completed. In most cases, this simply means that you need to wait for this to happen.

Can I overpay my credit card for pending charges? ›

There's no penalty for overpaying your credit card. If the negative balance isn't significant and you use the card regularly, you can just spend the statement credit on purchases. Once you've spent it, you'll be using your regular credit line again. Request a refund.

How do pending payments work? ›

Either way, the word 'pending' shows that the payment is still being processed by the retailer and is waiting to leave your account. It means your bank has approved the payment, but the retailer needs to finish collecting it. Once that happens, the pending transaction becomes a completed transaction.

Can a pending transaction be declined? ›

A pending purchase made with your bank account or credit card could be declined if your account doesn't have enough funds or the merchant won't accept payment from your bank.

Can I spend money that is pending? ›

Until it processes, a pending transaction could put a hold on an account balance or credit limit. That doesn't necessarily mean you can't use your credit card or bank account. But it can affect your available balance—or the funds you're able to access.

What happens when a pending transaction doesn't go through? ›

The pending transaction will no longer show in your account and your available balance will go back. For current accounts, it's a good idea to keep enough money in your account to cover the payment. That's because some can take up to 180 days to go through. So, the money could still be taken at a later date.

How long can a card transaction be pending? ›

A pending transaction is a recent card transaction that has not yet been fully processed by the merchant. If the merchant doesn't take the funds from your account, in most cases it will drop back into the account after 7 days.

What happens if a charge is pending for too long? ›

If a transaction remains pending longer than normal, it may be from a technical issue or a delay from the merchant's end. Likewise, a quick phone call to the company may resolve it.

How long does a merchant have to finalize a transaction? ›

Generally speaking, credit card issuers don't have a time limit for charging a customer's credit card. The issuing banks, however, will often impose a limit on merchants for charging. These limits can range anywhere from three to 30 days.

Does pending mean the money went through? ›

Pending transactions are transactions that haven't been fully processed yet. For example, if you make a purchase with a debit card or credit card, it will almost always show as pending immediately when you view your account online or in a mobile banking app.

Does "pending" mean "approved"? ›

A pending credit card application just means the credit card issuer couldn't automatically approve you without taking a closer look at the details in your application.

What can I do if my transaction is pending? ›

Once a transaction appears as pending on your account, you're unable to stop or cancel the transaction until it's complete. The merchant then sends us their transaction file for settlement, and we send the merchant your transaction payment.

Are pending transactions already deducted from an account? ›

Does 'pending' mean the money has already been taken from your account? A pending transaction means it's authorised and being processed. While the amount charged is taken from your available funds, it won't be reflected in your account balance until processed.

Do pending charges always go through? ›

Pending transactions may take some time to clear for several reasons, and the process involves coordination between multiple entities, including the merchant, credit card issuer, and payment processors. Communication between these parties can take time.

Are pending transactions included in a credit card balance? ›

Pending Transactions are deducted from your available credit immediately, but are not included in your Account balance. The charge only becomes part of your Account balance once the merchant submits the transaction amount to us.


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