What are the pending transactions on my credit or debit card?

Last Updated: 11 Jun 2020

What is a pending transaction?

Whenever you make a purchase with your credit or debit card this is deducted from your available balance immediately.  This is called a pending transaction until the purchase has been processed by the merchant (i.e. retailer). A pending transaction occurs whenever the following happens:

  • When you make a purchase to your credit or debit card, this will be pending (waiting for) overnight processing. In most instances if a transaction is made before 8.30pm it will process overnight. Purchases after 8.30pm will be processed the following night. However, sometimes it can take a few days for the merchant (i.e. retailer) to complete the transaction; in this case purchases will appear as pending until the transaction is completed.
  • Payments to your credit card account will also be pending overnight processing. To prevent your account from becoming overdue you need to pay at least the minimum due before 8.30pm on your due date.  After 8:30pm payments will be processed the following night.
  • Sometimes merchants apply a ‘holding’ transaction called a ‘pre-authorisation’ – for example hotels, when you receive the goods or services before the final payment is requested. The pending transaction should disappear once the final transaction is processed.


How do pending transactions affect my credit or debit card account balance?

Pending transactions affect your available balance immediately, and once the processing is complete the transaction will show on your account and your current balance will include this transaction. 

For credit cards, you are not charged interest on any purchases until the processing is complete and they are no longer pending.


Examples of Pending transactions:

  • A hotel may apply a ‘pre-authorisation’ of $100 to ensure your credit card can be used to cover any hotel charges. These amounts usually clear when the final amount of the transaction is known and processed or will drop off if there were no additional hotel charges.
  • Companies can charge a $1 pre-authorisation to verify your credit card details (such as energy retailers, or iTunes etc).
  • You have made a payment of $200 to your credit card at 9pm at night, this will remain as pending until it is processed after 8.30pm the following night.




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