How to Cancel a Pending Transaction


One of the worst things to find is a financial transaction that you do not remember making. You’re probably thinking, where did that come from? Do not worry, no one stole your credit card and maxed it out. In the case that you find a transaction that your account held out, you can expect that it was a pending transaction. If you have ever faced this situation, then the first thing you should do is calm down. There is a way out of it and it does not need to resort to violence. This article will tell you all about pending transactions and what you can do to make sure that you do not lose money.

What Is a Pending Transaction?

Let’s say that you are buying something and you bought it with your credit card. When you use your credit card, the seller issues a fee to your card. That is the first step and then a whole process takes place to clear the charge. (You probably do not want to know about the clearance process, too many complicated terms to keep up with.) The whole idea is that this charge goes through a network of financial entities, including your bank.

It is not a secret that it takes a while to happen; even though all you did was that you swiped your card. Throughout the clearance process, you will find that the transaction remains pending. Once your card issuer transfers the money to the seller, then your transaction is finalized. That is when you will find that the transaction is posted on your account.

Pre-Authorization Pending Transactions

Every once in a while, you will find that there are pending transactions that hold amounts that are different from the amount that you purchased. This could happen when you buy gas for your car or when you rent a hotel room. Gas stations tend to place a large amount for the pending transaction on your account, in case you might plan to fill up on an extra large amount of gas. When your bank posts a pending transaction, then your account will only charge the actual amount you bought for the gas. As for hotel rooms, they hold more pending transactions, in case you caused any damages to the hotel room. Once you leave your hotel room, the hotel will refund your deposit and no longer place the extra charge on your account.

Pending Transactions with Debit Cards

If you use a debit card to buy something, instead of a credit card, then you are putting yourself in a risky position. This is because a pending transaction on your credit card will only hinder your available credit balance in your account. However, pending transactions on your debit card will limit your access to the actual funds in your bank account until the transaction is cleared. This could be an issue, especially if you have other financial obligations and you cannot pay for it because of the pending transaction.

Pending Transactions with PayPal

Just like with credit and debit card, PayPal accounts can face pending transactions. However, PayPal places pending transactions based on the payments sent through the PayPal system. If you manage to send money to another PayPal account, then the transaction will appear as a pending transaction in your account. Before the transaction is posted, there is a possibility to change or cancel the transaction.

How to Cancel a Pending Transaction for Your Credit Card or Debit Cards

If you want to cancel a pending transaction on your debit card as soon as possible, there is a way. However, it is not going to be easy and it is definitely not going to be soon. Once your bank finalizes the pending transaction, your card issuer can cancel or change it. Before it is finalized, you can cancel the pending transaction. You can contact the seller who placed the transaction. Let them contact your card issue to reverse the pending transaction. There is a possibility that the seller can ask your card issuer to release the pending transaction.

How to Cancel a Pending Transaction for Your PayPal Account

If you decide to send money to someone through your PayPal account, then you might find a pending transaction in your account. There are two reasons for the pending transaction. The first reason is that you might have sent funds to someone who does not have the right phone number or email address that coordinates with your PayPal account. In that case, you can always cancel your payment in the Activity section of your PayPal account. Another reason is that you might have sent money to someone who does not accept automatic payments. With these types of merchants, you will not be able to cancel the transaction.

How to Go Up Against a Posted Transaction on Your Credit Card or Debit Card

If you faced a pending transaction that was wrong and was still posted as a transaction, then you should not worry. It is better and easier to go up against a posted transaction rather than a pending transaction. Due to the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), banks need to acknowledge a complaint on a transaction after receiving it in 30 days. The bank must resolve the complaint on the transaction within two billing cycles, or not longer than 90 days from the complaint date. We suggest that you dispute a transaction online, rather than sending a complaint letter in the mail.

Prevention With Pending Transactions

A pending transaction that you want to cancel or change is harder than preventing a pending transaction. With a pending transaction, you might face rejection in future purchases and overdraft charges. It would be best to avoid dealing with any unwanted or unaccepted pending transactions.


A pending transaction is a transaction that your account did not clear. However, you cannot alter or cancel a transaction while it is pending. Once the transaction is finalized, then you can cancel or alter a transaction.