Understanding debit holds


A close-up of a hand holding a fuel nozzle at a gas pump

What is a pending transaction?

A pending transaction is an approved debit or credit transaction that has not yet posted to your account. The pending amount is deducted from your available balance but is not yet reflected in your posted transactions.

Transactions made with your Debit Card using a PIN are typically processed and posted to your account on the same day, or within 2-3 business days of when the transaction was made.

A transaction made with your Debit Card, but without your PIN, will not show that it is pending and may take several business days to post to your account.

Pending transactions may expire after a few days, but that does not mean they are gone. A pending transaction can show on an account, fall off, and then post later.

What is an authorization?

When you use your Debit Card for a purchase and use the card as credit, the merchant will request an approval or “authorization” for the transaction. The authorization confirms that an account is open, and the purchase amount is approved at the time of request. Each authorization will show as a pending transaction. Usually within two to three business days you will see the actual purchase amount deducted from your account.

What could cause a pending transaction or authorization amount to be different from my actual purchase amount?

An authorization may vary from the final purchase amount when there is an estimated authorization amount, or a tip is involved. The final purchase amount will include the tip and will be deducted from your account.

When will the actual purchase amount replace the pending amount and be posted to my account?

It may take several business days for the actual purchase amount to replace the pending transaction amount that is showing. The pending transaction is generally removed when the final purchase amount has been deducted from your account.

How do I avoid “pay at the pump” holds?

At the gas pump, an initial authorization is requested prior to dispensing fuel and determining the final amount of the purchase.

To avoid gas holds on your account you can either pay inside before you get gas or run your card as credit when you pay at the pump.

When you run your card as debit and enter your PIN, this allows the merchant to put a $50-$100 hold on your account.

How do hotels determine how much to authorize?

Hotels can request an authorization for an amount based on your length of stay, applicable taxes, as well as additional expected dollar amount. Cruise lines and car rental companies typically follow the same practice.

What is the difference between a hold or a pending charge on my account? Ask Tim!


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  1. Michele says:

    I subscribed to something I didnt mean to and cancelled the membership but it’s still showing pending on my checking account. How long until I know if my money has been replaced to me?0

    • ConsumersCU says:

      Hi, Michele! Thanks for reaching out to us. As for the subscription, one of two things will happen: 1) The pending transaction disappears and you’re all set! 2) The pending transactions posts to your account and the merchant reverses it and gives you a reimbursement.

      If the transaction does post to your account and you don’t see a refund within 5-7 business days, please reach out to the merchant and let them know you have not been refunded for the subscription.

      If, after speaking with the merchant, you do not receive a refund please reach out to us or stop by an office and we can help you dispute the transaction. Our phone number is 1-800-991-2221 if you have any further questions or concerns. Thank you for being a member!

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