What does it mean when a transaction is pending?


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What does it mean when a transaction is pending?

Understanding pending transactions

When you see a pending transaction on your credit card or bank account, you may ask yourself: What does it mean when a transaction is pending? Essentially, a pending transaction is a transaction to withdraw money from your account or add money to your account that has been submitted but is not yet complete.

Process of clearing a pending transaction

The pending date, also known as the « transaction date, » marks the start of a process that involves some back and forth operations between the place you made the purchase and your bank that manages the credit or debit account. Once the transaction is cleared, the pending transaction becomes posted.

Differences in amounts between pending and posted transactions

It is important to note that the amount of a pending transaction may differ from the amount that is posted to your account. Merchants may pre-authorize an amount before the transaction is complete, leading to differences in posted amounts compared to pending amounts. For example, when you purchase gas, the gas station might pre-authorize your account for $100. Initially, you will only see a $100 pending transaction on your checking account or credit card. However, once the payment clears, the final posted amount will reflect the actual amount you spent on gas.

The same principle applies if you add a tip at a restaurant; the pending transaction will usually show the pre-tip total, while the posted transaction will include the tip you added.


Understanding pending transactions and the process of clearing them is essential for managing your finances effectively. By being aware of the differences between pending and posted amounts, you can avoid confusion and keep track of your spending accurately.

Next, watch why your credit card transaction may be declined or if you can use someone else’s credit card to further enhance your financial knowledge.


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