FORT MYERS, Fla. - With Christmas a week from Tuesday, you may still be buying those last minute gifts. But if you're not checking your credit card and bank statements, you'll want it. Some stores are putting a hold on funds.
We know it's been happening with debt cards but now we're seeing it with credit cards as well.
Sometimes these holds on funds look like a double charge on your statement. It's how stores make sure the money is in your account for what you just bought. When the transaction clears, everything evens out. But if you need that money, or credit in the meantime, you could have a problem.
Shopping online is a convenience for many, like Eli Natan.
"What's better than sitting at home in your bed, while you're watching 11 o'clock news, and shopping," said Natan.
While Natan shops online, what he may not realize is stores like Macy's are putting a hold on charges. According to Macy's website, if you use a debt or credit card, they request authorization from your bank for the transaction amount immediately after you click submit. Then your bank places a hold on the funds in anticipation of receiving the actual money from your account.
Macy's says "we do not process the actual charge to your debit card until your order is shipped; however, we will request another authorization from your bank to verify that the funds remain available if there is a delay from your order date to our shipping date."
But WINK News found out, they're also placing holds on funds for credit cards too. WINK News reached out to one credit card company, Capital One, and they told us that holds on credit cards are nothing new.
To make sure a hold doesn't happen to you, suggestions from the experts are:
- Pay with cash. If you're buying something online however, you may not be able to avoid the holds.
- If you do use your debt card, use your pin number. That allows an immediate withdrawal to cover the cost.
Banks say while they do happen, large debit holds aren't very common. A hold can stay on your account until a business puts the sale through. That's when your bank records or credit card statement will show you what you actually spent. But if your account or credit limit is low, a purchase may not go through if you don't have enough money to cover the hold.
The best thing you can do? When shopping online, make sure you know the company's policy when it comes to payments. It should be clearly stated on its website. Also, keep checking your statements and make sure you ask questions if something doesn't look quite right.