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Why is there money on hold in my account that I can't access?
Why is there money on hold in my account that I can't access?

This can happen at gas stations, hotels or car rental companies.

Updated over a week ago

We have some news that might surprise you the next time you go to fill up your car or make a payment at a hotel, gas station, or car rental store.

Here, we'll talk about gas stations, but this can apply to other establishments as well such as hotels or car rental companies.

If you use a credit or debit card, you might get hit with a preauthorization. Yes, it sounds like banking jargon, but it's something gas stations often do, and many people are unaware! And with gas prices through the roof, that preauthorization can affect with your purchasing power or even cause you some extra charges if you're not careful!

Why do gas stations do this?

Well, it's a kind of security measure. They don't know how much gas you plan to pump, and they want to make sure you have enough credit to cover it. So, before you know it, they lock in an amount on your card. The thing is, they decide the amount on a whim.

How does all this work?

Imagine you're at the pump, swipe your card, and bam, they send a request to the card issuer for a fixed amount, which could be more than what you intend to spend. From $1 to over $100, depending on the gas station. The blocked amount might be displayed on the payment screen so you're not caught off guard.

Now, the gas station might block, let's say, $50 when you're only spending $20. And with gas prices going up, that blocked amount could be even higher. It's like they're setting a limit so you can fill up without having to make two separate transactions.

The crucial thing to note is that when gas stations decide on the preauthorization amount, the card companies have no control over how long this money is held.

With a debit card like the Comun debit card, this money will be held, and you won't be able to use it until the final amount of your transaction at the gas station is authorized. This usually takes 7 days but can take longer depending on the gas station.

How to avoid this problem?

Well, if you want to avoid the preauthorization or minimize its impact using your Comun debit card, here's a tip:

  • Pay inside and enter your debit card PIN. This way, the funds are unlocked almost instantly. However, be aware that if the blocked amount is very high, they might still put the brakes on your gas purchase.

The next time you fill up your tank, stay alert and avoid unpleasant surprises in your bank account. Happy pumping!

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