What Does Pending Transaction Mean and Did It Go Through?

Financial Tips

image of a phone depicting a pending transaction
  • All Posts
  • What Does Pending Transaction Mean and Did It Go Through?
PUBLISHED BY Emilie / February 4, 2022

What Is a Pending Transaction and What Does It Mean for Your Account? 

So, you’ve made a purchase on your Moves Card. Now what? Your balance instantly reflects this transaction, right? Not exactly.

Your Moves Business Debit Card may display a transaction as “pending” until the transaction has been fully processed. In its simplest form, a pending transaction (also called a hold) means that you have committed to transferring funds from your account to the merchant whom you purchased from. The caveat is that the transaction has not been fully processed by the merchant, and the money has not been removed from your account yet.

Does Pending Mean it Went Through?
Why is a transaction pending? Merchants take time to run checks before confirming and processing your purchase to ensure you have enough money in your account to complete the transaction, and that your card is valid. Pending transactions occur nearly every time you spend on your debit or credit card.

So, how long can a transaction be pending? This varies depending on how long it takes to transfer funds to the merchant. Typically, a transaction will remain pending for two to three days but depending on the merchant and the individual specifications of the transaction, it could remain pending for five to seven plus days.

Your Account Balance and Pending Transactions
The difference between your spendable balance and account balance can make all the difference in properly managing your small business finances.

In your bank account, you should notice two types of balances. Spendable balance reflects what you have available to spend at this moment in time. It accounts for all the deposits and withdrawals in your account and deducts any pending transactions. Account balance reflects all funds in the account. It’s best practices to use your Spendable Balance as an indication of the money available to spend as a means to avoid holding a negative balance or overdrafting.

What Does it Mean When a Transaction is Pending?

You should consider a purchase with a pending transaction already paid for. At the point-of-sale, you made a commitment to pay a merchant a specific amount of money but it just has not yet ‘changed hands’.

For example, if you have $300 in your account and make a purchase for $100, your Account Balance will not immediately reduce to $200 until the purchase has settled. Instead, your Spendable Balance will accurately reflect the amount available to you. Your pending transaction will be deducted from your Account Balance once settled to match your Spendable Balance.

Can you Cancel a Pending Transaction?

Cancelling a pending transaction can be a difficult task. To remove a transaction from your account while it is still pending, you must contact the merchant directly and ask them to request your card issuer to reverse the transaction. Though merchants have the ability to assist you in cancelling your pending transactions, there can be certain challenges in doing so, especially if sales were marked as final. Your card issuer will be unable to release/cancel or alter the transaction until it has been fully processed. Banks can step in to resolve errors including double charges, or potential fraudulent pending transactions. If you choose to get your bank involved, you should be aware that the bank will likely require you to provide proof of purchase, and where the error occurred.

In summary, ‘What is a Pending Transaction?’

Here are a few key takeaways that everyone should remember while dealing with pending transactions:
• Pending transactions are transactions that are not yet reflected in your current Account Balance
• Pending transactions can take 2-5+ days to go through and settle
• Are pending transactions already deducted from your account? Pending transactions are not fully processed. They are deducted from your Spendable Balance, but not your current Account Balance.
• What does it mean when you see a transaction is pending? You have committed to spending the funds on the pending transaction
• Pending transactions take away from your existing credit
• If you see a pending transaction on your account that you think is fraudulent, contact your bank
• Can you cancel a pending transaction? If you need a pending transaction cancelled, call the merchant


Emilie has been with Moves since January 2022 as a Growth Marketing Intern. She is in her fourth year of university and is passionate about exploring the world of personal finance. As a self-identified hustler, when Emilie is not at Moves, she can be found teaching beginner marketing boot camps at her university or working at one of many local concert venues.

Join our newsletter!

No spam, just good stuff.

Thanks for signing up!

Check your email (spam too) for a confirmation from us.