- April 12, 2008 at 3:46 pm #257316
I think there is a misunderstanding between a “hold” and the account just reflecting your transaction.
Every purchase with a debit card – used as credit or with your pin – is typically reflected in your bank balance within minutes. As someone else stated, it will either be an immediate post (meaning the funds are taken instantly) or listed as pending but reflected in your available balance. Either way, if that purchase amount is reflected in the exact amount you paid, that is NOT a hold. That is just the super-quick age of banking technology.
A hold is when an establishment – typically gas stations, hotels, rental cars etc. – put through to your account a much larger amount of money than the actual expense. So if you stay two-nights at a hotel at $100/night they might put through $300 instead of $200 to cover possible phone calls, room service etc. Or the gas station might pre-approve or “hold” $150 even though you only put through $50 at the pump because it didn’t know how much you would need to fill up. They are called “holds” because they are holding more money than the purchase price in case its needed. And the problem is that it can really mess you up if you have limited funds or live paycheck-to-paycheck.
The original poster was concerned – if I understood correctly – about debit card holds at these establishments. We all know when we pay at a hotel, they will charge our entire balance and we expect to pay the entire balance due. It’s the extra hold that can mess you up. Most hotels – definitely all those that I have frequented – have only charged the exact amount without a hold when I have used my Visa debit card as a credit card (no pin). You need to ask ahead of time what the policy is – on a credit card purchase do they put an additional hold above the room rate? If you are using a credit logo debit card, it should be treated exactly like a credit card and fall under the same policy. If you have a debit card without the credit logo, your only option to avoid the hold is to pay cash. They will lock the phone to outgoing calls so you can’t run up the bill and leave.
“If you put garbage in a computer, nothing comes out but garbage. But this garbage, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and none dare criticize it.” – Anonymous
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