If a merchant puts a hold on your debit card, you won't be able to use the card or access the funds in your account. You may experience a merchant hold if you make a purchase but don't know what the price will be at the time of the transaction. For example, if you rent a vehicle, purchase gas or reserve a hotel room, the merchant doesn't know how many miles, gallons or days to charge you at the time you run your card. For this reason, it might put a hold on your account that is much larger than the amount you actually owe and will pay. Contacting both the bank and the merchant is the best way to get a hold removed from your account.
Call your bank's customer service center and ask which company placed a hold on your account. Ask for and record the date, time and amount of the charge. You'll need this when discussing the charge with the company. Write down the name and Identification number of the customer service representative you spoke with in case you need to call back about the same issue. If the hold has caused an overdraft, you may want to explain this so the bank can make notes on your account. This may help you convince the bank to waive fees if necessary.
Call the merchant that placed the hold on the account and give the customer service representative the information the bank supplied so that it can locate the transaction in its records. Ask if the hold can be reversed or if you can make the reservation or purchase another way, such as with a credit card. If not, ask how long the hold will be active.
Call your bank back, ask to speak to the customer service representative you spoke with before, explain the situation and ask if the bank can waive any overdraft fees that occur. If possible, arrange to transfer money from a savings or other account to cover the hold until it is removed. This will give you access to some money and will stop overdraft fees or bounced checks.
- To avoid having holds placed on your debit account, ask if the merchant generally places a hold on your purchase before you make the purchase. If so, discuss whether you can make the purchase using a credit card or with a cash deposit.
- In some cases, holds may appear on your account for transactions that you didn't authorize. If this happens, you can file a dispute form with your bank and the merchant. Most banks and merchants will refund transactions that you didn't authorize and the resulting overdraft fees. However, the process may take some time.
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