How Long Do Pending Transactions Take?

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how long do pending transactions take

With near-immediate access to financial information in your pocket, it’s not uncommon to see pending transactions on your statement occasionally. But just how long that pending status remains can vary, depending on your bank’s policies and the circumstances surrounding a particular transaction. 

So, how long do pending transactions take to clear? Let’s take a look. 

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What is a pending transaction?

A pending transaction is any transaction that hasn’t been fully processed as it navigates the payment networks, your bank, and the merchant. 

Your credit card or bank statement may reflect these transactions as “pending” or “processing.” Once the transaction finalizes — when the merchant receives the money – it appears as a regular charge in your account.  

It’s important to note that while a transaction is pending, the associated funds may be reserved but are not yet withdrawn from the account. The pending status provides a temporary snapshot of the transaction’s progress before it’s finalized and appears as a cleared transaction on the account statement. If you have concerns about the duration of pending transactions, try contacting your bank or credit card issuer for the best way to move forward.

Why do transactions “pend”?

A pending transaction refers to a financial transaction that has been initiated but yet fully processed or settled. It can be a purchase, deposit or payment that is still “moving” between accounts and not yet completed. 

During this interim period, the transaction’s status is “pending,” and the associated funds may be temporarily held or reserved without being withdrawn from the account.

How long do pending transactions take to clear?

Many pending charges disappear in around 5 days or less. Though some institutions may have a longer period. It ultimately depends on the type of transaction, the processor settings for the credit card program, and what’s stated in your agreement. 

While merchants typically clear their purchases daily, taking longer to process your purchase can contribute to extended pending times. 

Note that certain transactions also have longer processing times to allow time for additional purchases to be added later, such as room service bills or cleaning fees. You commonly find these extended periods in the hotel, car rental, and airline industries. 

Additionally, if your purchase is subject to further review by your credit card issuer or bank, it may take longer for the pending transaction to disappear.

After the review process for the pending transaction ends, the money may be debited from your account to complete the transaction or returned to your account following a hold period

Why do pending transactions take so long to clear?

Pending transactions may take some time to clear for several reasons, and the process involves coordination between multiple entities, including the merchant, credit card issuer, and payment processors.

Communication between these parties can take time. Security checks, merchant processing times, refunds, or payment amount adjustments may also contribute to the amount of time it takes. Holidays and weekends have also been known to cause delays. 

Types of pending transactions

Pending transactions can take various forms, and the type of pending transaction often depends on the nature of the financial activity. 

It’s important to note that the duration of pending transactions can vary, and they typically disappear once the final transaction is settled. During the pending period, the funds associated with the transaction may be reserved but are not yet withdrawn from your account. Always check with your bank or financial institution for specific details regarding pending transactions and their processing times.

Here are several common types of pending transactions:

Online purchases

Transactions made online may initially appear as pending until the merchant processes the order and submits the final transaction details.


Certain transactions, such as hotel stays or car rentals, may involve pre-authorizations where the merchant places a temporary hold on a specific amount of funds on your card. The actual charge may differ from the pre-authorized amount once the service is provided.


When a merchant initiates a refund, the pending status reflects the adjustment in your account. Refunds may take some time to process and appear as cleared transactions.

Pay-at-the-pump gas purchases

When you pay for gas at the pump, the station may place a hold on your card for a certain amount before you finish filling your tank. The final amount is determined once you complete the transaction.

Direct deposits

Incoming transfers, such as direct deposits of your salary or other funds, may initially appear as pending until they are fully processed by your bank.

ACH transfers

Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers, including bill payments or fund transfers between accounts, may be pending until the transaction is completed.

Check deposits

If you deposit a paper check using mobile banking or at an ATM, the funds may initially appear as pending until the bank verifies and processes the deposit.

In-store purchases

Transactions made in physical stores may show as pending until the merchant submits the final transaction details for processing.

How to expedite or resolve pending transactions?

Pending charges are a normal part of using a credit card, and there’s not much you can do to change that. To resolve pending transactions that seem to hang around too long, start by reviewing your recent purchases to ensure they are legitimate. If you spot unauthorized or suspicious charges, contact your credit card issuer or bank to report and dispute the transaction in question. Many issuers offer 24/7 customer support for such cases.

If a transaction remains pending longer than normal, it may be from a technical issue or a delay from the merchant’s end. Likewise, a quick phone call to the company may resolve it. 

What is the importance of monitoring pending transactions? 

You’ll want to keep an eye on pending credit card transactions to be aware of possible fraudulent or unauthorized charges early on. This can help you prevent financial losses and potential damage to your credit score. 

When you track your pending transactions, you’ll be more likely to keep to your budget and avoid overspending. In short, monitoring pending credit card transactions can help safeguard your finances and give you greater financial control and peace of mind in a digital, interconnected world.

How long do pending transactions take? Usually not long at all

Pending transactions occur for several reasons, but ultimately, it means you’ve authorized a third party to remove funds from your account. 

Generally, pending transactions should clear in a matter of days. But in rare cases, you may see a transaction take a little longer — usually when holds are involved. 


What does it mean when a transaction is pending?

A transaction that hasn’t been fully processed as it navigates the payment networks, your bank, and the charging merchant is called a pending transaction. 

Why do pending transactions take time to clear?

Pending transactions take time because they go through an authorization process to confirm available funds and involve communication between the merchant, credit card issuer, and payment processors.

How long do pending transactions typically last?

The duration varies. It can range from a few hours to several days or more, depending on factors such as the merchant’s processing time, weekends, holidays, and the policies of your bank or credit card issuer. 

Do pending transactions affect my available balance?

Yes, pending transactions may temporarily impact your available balance as the funds are set aside but not yet withdrawn. Once the transaction is settled, the actual amount is reflected in your account.

Can I cancel a pending transaction?

No, you typically can’t cancel a pending transaction. However, if the transaction is erroneous or unauthorized, you can contact your bank or credit card issuer to dispute the charge after it has been posted.

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