Let's say one morning you get up, you get ready for work, and stop for gas along the way. You use your Netspend card to pay at the pump, fill up your tank, and you're on your way. Later in the day you check your balance and notice that your balance is almost $100 dollars less than where you left it!
This is called an authorization hold, and it's one of the most common things we hear about from cardholders. Sometimes, transactions like car rentals, hotel rooms, or pay at the pump require a pre-authorization, which means a hold is placed on some of your funds until they know the final amount owed.
Often, the funds are released within about 3 business days, but it can sometimes take a couple of weeks. Regardless of how much time it takes, it's time that you don't have access to your money, and it can be very frustrating. Here are some tips to minimize the impact of authorization holds, or avoid them all together.
- Pay inside instead of at the pump – When you pay the cashier inside, you can specify the amount of gas you want to pay for. That way, your card will only process that exact amount.
- Find out how much the hold is – When booking a car rental or hotel room, call the business and ask them how much the authorization hold will be so you aren't surprised by the amount later
- Plan for the hold – If you know you have a trip coming up and will be making reservations with your card, plan ahead to make sure you have sufficient funds to cover the cost of the hold and any other expenses, especially bills, you expect to coincide with the authorization hold
Authorization holds aren't always avoidable, but planning ahead and being aware of when they might occur can help you stay on top of them.