Last updated Jan. 24, 2023 by Peter Jakes

How to Cancel a Pending Transaction on a Credit Card, Debit Card, and PayPal

How to Cancel a Pending Transaction on a Credit Card, Debit Card, and PayPal

You’ve undoubtedly noticed a “pending transaction” on your account if you’ve ever paid for something using a credit or debit card. These charges display at the top of your most current statements, and while they aren’t always permanent, they impact your overall available balance.

Depending on how the person you’re paying prefers to receive their payments, you can also find pending transactions in your PayPal account. So, what is a pending transaction, exactly? And, what does it mean to have a pending transaction? In this article, How to cancel a pending Transaction on a credit card, debit card, and PayPal, we will answer all the questions.

What Is a Pending Transaction?

Typically, your account is charged by the merchant whenever you swipe your debit or credit card. What happens behind the dashboard is that the charge proceeds through steps, including payment networks, your bank, and the merchant.

Your transaction will remain pending until it is processed via the system. It’s only completed and posted to your account after your card issuer has sent the funds to the merchant.

It might be surprising to see those pending transactions, especially if you weren’t anticipating them. This article explains pending transactions and how to cancel them.

When is it a Pre-authorization Charge?

You may see a pending transaction on your account higher than a recent purchase (or intend to make). This hold situation can happen while buying petrol or renting a hotel room.

To allow an extra-large fill-up, gas stations may post a huge pending transaction on your account. The merchant will charge your account for the actual quantity of petrol you purchased when the transaction posts.

Hotels sometimes require a deposit at check-in to cover any incidental expenses or damage to the room. The hotel will reimburse your deposit less any costs you have paid after you have checked out. The entire pending transaction will fade away if you have no extra expenses.

Possible Reasons for a Pending Transaction

A little exposure to some instances or plausible explanations for your transaction’s pending status will help you understand your situation and keep calm. Not only that, you will also understand the reasons for knowing when and how to cancel the pending transactions.

1. Payments Made After Regular Business Hours

You realize that you can make payments anytime you want due to the widespread availability of online financial transactions. However, payments made outside of regular business hours, such as on weekends or late at night, will appear pending on your account.

This transaction status will disappear as soon as the usual working hours resume.

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2. Operational Protocol of a Company or a Merchant

Different people respond to other things. Some merchants will not accept your money until your order has been dispatched. For example, Amazon will hold your money pending until your purchase has been sent. They will then charge your card and automatically transmit the funds from your account.

3. When Making a Big Purchase

You will likely see a pending transaction when you make a significant purchase. The rationale for this is that making substantial purchases on credit puts the merchant at risk. Businesses will mark your payment as pending to protect themselves from damages.

4. Tip Giving at Restaurants

Because restaurant employees deal with many tipping clients, it isn’t easy to input the tips as they come in. As a result, most workers wait until the end of their shift to register their tips, making your payment a pending transaction until then.

Pending Transactions on Credit Cards

How to Cancel a Pending Transaction on a Credit Card, Debit Card, and PayPal

Pending charges can appear on your credit card statement or online banking. This delay is mainly because a merchant wishes to double-check that you have adequate cash on hand or because you transacted outside of your issuer’s business hours.

What Causes Pending Credit Card Charges?

When merchants seek the authorization of payments to verify you have the cash available, but you still need to confirm the whole amount, pending charges might occur. Consequently, you will notice two charges on your credit card for the same transaction: the approved amount and the final total.

Once processing is complete, your issuer will remove the pending charge.

Hotels or vehicle rental firms can request card pre-authorization to ensure payment for bookings. Even if you opt to pay using a different method, they will display on your account as pending transactions.

Your account will show credit card payments as pending outside of business hours until your issuer can process them. If the merchant hasn’t processed it yet, your account will be put on hold since your issuer won’t be able to validate the transaction.

How Long Can a Charge Be Pending On a Credit Card?

A charge on your account can be pending for up to five days. Several factors influence how long a pending charge appears on your credit card. Two significant factors were when you made the transaction and how long it took the merchant to process it.

Card pre-authorizations can stay on your account for a more extended period. If you reserve a hotel with your credit card, the hold will typically stay up to 24 hours after you check out.

What Impact Does a Pending Credit Card Charge Have on Your Account?

Pending transaction charges diminish your available balance by the amount payable. If you make a hotel reservation with your credit card, the front desk can place a $150 hold on your account to reflect the room pricing. Even if you haven’t been charged yet, the money has been removed from your available credit.

Once the transaction has been processed, it will appear on your current balance. Pre-authorization holds will be released after the merchant verifies this to your issuer if you opt to pay for your bookings using a different card or method. There will be no interest due as long as the transaction is pending.

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Pending Transactions on Debit Cards

You’ll see that when you have pending debit transactions, your account’s available balance decreases by the amount of the pending transactions. However, this does not suggest that money has been taken from your account; instead, the available credit estimates what you’d have if those pending transactions were to post successfully.

Pending Transactions and PayPal

PayPal pending transaction

Pending Transactions and PayPal

PayPal can have pending transactions, much like debit or credit cards. On the other hand, PayPal has another side to its transactions: transferring money through the PayPal system.

If you send a payment to a friend or merchant, your PayPal account may show the transaction as pending. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to amend or cancel the payment before it is claimed.

Should a Pending Transaction Be Cancelled?

While your exchange is being processed, you decide you no longer want the item you purchased. Then there’s whether or not to cancel the transaction while it’s in the queue.

The answer remains that the procedure must be completed since there is still a pending transaction where both banks (your bank and the merchant’s bank) interact before sending the fund to the merchant. As a result, canceling the pending transaction won’t be feasible.

This cancelation is feasible only when the purchase duplicates the same transaction, which might be a mistake. It’s always advisable to contact your card issuer or the store and explain why you want the transaction canceled.

However, you can only do this after the funds have been sent to the merchant. If the merchant refuses to issue a refund, you’ll need to file a dispute with your bank for valid reasons before it is processed.

Canceling Pending Transactions Through Merchant

You’ll need to contact the merchant most of the time to cancel the pending transaction on your behalf. If this is possible, it will depend on the purchase, the fulfillment stage, and the merchant’s regulations.

For example, suppose you placed an order for clothing that hasn’t been processed or sent yet. In that case, the merchant can cancel it, and your financial institution will remove the pending transaction immediately.

If you were charged twice or have any difficulty with the purchase amount, the merchant should correct the problem. Alternatively, he can reimburse you for crediting the correct amount to your account.

Other outstanding transactions can be more challenging to convince merchants to cancel. If the shop has declared all sales as final, you could be out of luck. While you can’t cancel the purchase, you can request to return the item after it arrives. However, the merchant would charge restocking and shipping fees.

Canceling Pending Transactions Through Bank

Keep a watch on your bank account activity and contact your bank if you see a pending debit transaction that you don’t recall making. Your bank may need to provide you with a new card or account number in addition to putting a hold on that transaction to investigate for fraud.

They would also instruct you to call the establishment where the fraudulent charge occurred and file a police report.

In cases when you haven’t been able to address a billing problem, such as a double charge, your bank can step in with the merchant. Be prepared to present a receipt or invoice as evidence of purchase.

Suppose you have a Visa or Mastercard-backed debit card. In that case, you will be eligible for additional protections that would assist you if you are eventually invoiced for a purchase that was not as represented or never delivered.

How to Cancel a Pending Credit Card or Debit Card Transaction

How to Cancel a Pending Credit Card or Debit Card Transaction

How to Cancel a Pending Credit Card or Debit Card Transaction

If a hold is placed on your debit card and your bank account, you would want to terminate it as soon as feasible. Unfortunately, that’s not straightforward to do. Until the transaction is completed, your card issuer has no authority to cancel or change it.

Contact the merchant that processed the charge if you wish to cancel it before then. Request that they call your credit card company and cancel the transaction. The merchant has the option of requesting that the hold be lifted.

Contact your card issuer if you detect a pending transaction you know you didn’t initiate, such as a fraudulent purchase. They can help you keep track of the transaction, safeguard your privacy, and limit your liabilities if the charge goes through.

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How to Cancel a Pending PayPal Transaction

If you’ve paid money to someone and notice a pending transaction in your account, there are two possibilities. You could have given money to someone whose phone number or email address isn’t linked to a confirmed PayPal account. You can cancel your payment from your account’s “Activity” section if this happens.

Otherwise, you could have transferred money to a merchant who doesn’t immediately take payments. The business must either accept or reject your cash. You won’t be able to cancel this transaction once you’ve submitted the money to this sort of business.

How to Dispute a Posted Credit Card or Debit Transaction

Don’t worry if an incorrect pending charge you observed becomes a transaction. A posted transaction is more uncomplicated to contest than a pending transaction.

Banks are obligated by the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) to acknowledge a disputed transaction within 30 days of receiving your complaint. They must then address your complaint within two billing cycles, which cannot exceed 90 days from when you filed it.

Many banks, fortunately, enable you to challenge a charge online, which is sometimes more convenient than submitting a complaint letter.

Preventing Issues with Pending Transactions

How to Cancel a Pending Transaction on a Credit Card, Debit Card, and PayPal

Preventing Issues with Pending Transactions

A pending transaction might result in subsequent transactions being denied and overdraft fees being charged. As a result, you may wish to take certain precautions to avoid dealing with some outstanding transactions that are undesirable or unlawful.

For example, if you walk inside a gas station and prepay the quantity of gas you desire, you can avoid a huge and lengthy pre-authorization hold on your debit card.

Suppose another establishment, such as a hotel or restaurant, places a handle on your account to estimate your final bill. In that case, you might inquire about any limitations on that amount and any alternatives available. If feasible, you should use another payment method at such locations.

If you’re concerned that a pending transaction will post and cause you to overdraw your account, you can utilize your bank’s services, such as overdraft protection.

Your bank’s fraud detection technologies, such as account alerts and card locks, can immediately discover pending unlawful transactions, prompt an investigation, and help keep your account balance safe.

The Bottom Line

Regrettably, canceling a pending transaction is not always straightforward. You’ll need to contact the merchant and ask them to revoke the authorization if you want to remove a hold or a pending transaction before it publishes.

However, once your transaction is complete, you have more options for reversing the fee. You can challenge any charges you believe are erroneous, and banks are compelled to react in a timely way, thanks to the FCBA.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take for a pending transaction to be approved?

Pending charges will last until the transaction is executed and the funds are sent to the merchant. This waiting period might take up to three days, but it could take longer depending on the merchant and the type of transaction.

What’s the duration of a pending transaction stays pending?

If the merchant does not deduct the cash from your account, it will usually be returned within seven days.

Does a pending transaction mean the money has already been taken out?

Pending Transactions are instantly taken from your available credit, but they are not counted against your Account balance. Once the merchant submits the transaction amount to us, the charge is added to your Account balance.

Why are my pending transactions taking so long?

This delay might be because a merchant wishes to double-check that you have adequate cash on hand or because you transacted outside of your issuer’s business hours. Pending charges are crucial to understanding since they influence the amount of credit available on your account.

Can I call my bank to cancel a transaction?

A stop payment order is usually initiated by phoning your bank. However, some institutions may need you to confirm your request in writing or fill out an application form. Your bank or financial institution will also ask you to supply certain information.

Is it possible to cancel a pending transaction online?

Normally, no. You’ll need to contact the merchant to get the pending transaction canceled unless you make a payment via PayPal to an unrecognized email or phone number.

Why can’t a pending transaction be canceled?

You cannot edit a pending transaction since it is transient and subject to change until it is finished and posted to your account.

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