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Pending Card Authorizations now in online banking

Actual balance. Available balance. What's the difference? Quite a bit actually, and up until now you couldn't see who was applying pending authorizations to your account and how much they were applying, but you can now. First, an explanation...


Actual Balance is what is actually in your account at the moment.


Available Balance is what is in your account minus any outstanding authorizations.

When you use your CREDIT or DEBIT card, the merchant will authorize the transaction to confirm you have the funds to cover the purchase (or cash advance), which creates an authorization on your account.

While the money hasn't actually been paid to the merchant YET, your available credit or balance is reduced by the authorization amount, so that the funds (or credit) are set aside and can't be spent again.

The actual charge to your account is completed one to five days later, when the transaction is processed, and HCU transfers funds to the merchant's bank account.

If the transaction isn't processed within a certain number of days, the authorization will expire and the "on-hold" amount will become available to you again.

Authorizations may not equal actual charges!

Authorization mismatches occur in situations where the total transaction amount is uncertain. For example, when renting a car, the rental agency will immediately request the credit card authorization in an amount that THEY estimate will cover the total potential bill. Many hotels do this as well, because a guest might stay longer than planned, and would be liable for the extra daily charges. Gas stations may also do this too, many times authorizing larger amounts than your actual charges.

If you're running "thin" in your account, the available balance is important. It could be a trigger point for overdrafts or denied transactions.

Now that you've learned more than you wanted to about authorizations and balances, how do you go about seeing them? Simple; just log in to HCU online banking, choose "Electronic Services" from the top menu and then choose "Pending Card Authorizations". This is a new feature and it promises to be a popular one. It's simple, fast, and informative. Give it a try.