In the call center we often get calls from members who are confused by the difference between their current and available balances. Frequently, the difference is due to gas stations placing a hold on anywhere from $50 to $100. Gas stations aren’t the only ones to place holds, rental car companies also take authorizations to secure payment. While holds can be frustrating for members, a member service representative found this information on Visa’s website which explains their legitimacy:

Why do gas stations, restaurants, and hotels put holds on Visa check cards?

“To meet consumer demand for payment conveniences such as express/video check-out at hotels, pay-at-the-pump fueling and one-swipe payment at restaurants, Visa has established processes to protect Visa check card issuers, merchants, and cardholder. Similar to how check deposits can’t be immediately withdrawn, account deductions can’t immediately be cleared when the final amount isn’t known—this typically applies to hotel, restaurant, and pay-at-the-pump gas station purchases. For these types of purchases, check card issuers may earmark cardholder funds to cover the estimated cost of the transaction. This process, known as a hold, safeguards both cardholders and merchants, ensuring cardholders don’t spend more money than they have and merchants are paid for the transaction. While most transactions have a less than a 24-hour hold, Visa protects cardholders by ensuring that all holds must be removed within 72 hours.”

Le Ann Langston

Hello! I’m Le Ann Langston and I’m the Director of Member Services Northgate for Verity Credit Union. Member Service Manager is another name for the call center manager. Talking on the phone was a hobby of mine as a teenager and now I have made a career of it. If only I had a cool headset when I was 13! In my spare time I enjoy yoga, writing and reading just about anything. I am slightly addicted to TV and am currently hooked on a number of shows. Given this list of indoor pursuits you may find it hard to believe that I enjoy traveling to new places. Most people would never know that at one point I almost moved to London just for a change of pace.

2 Responses

  1. kd7ign says:

    Did you know that you should call Verity and let them know if you will be using your debit card in another state, say on vacation? Otherwise thay may put a hold on your card just in case it has been stolen? You can call them and tell them you will be on vacation and they will put a not in your account.

  2. Laurel McJannet says:

    Actually, Shari Storm mentions this in a previous blog post, “Give us your phone number people.” You can find this in the May 2006 archive.

    Every year before the summer season hits, we try to remind our members to call us if they intend to use their credit or debit cards out-of-state or out of the country for an extended amount of time. We have a security feature in place that alerts us of card activity that is out of the normal scope of our members. So, it’s not really a ‘hold’ on the account. What happens is that we get the alert and then we attempt to contact the member to make sure the purchase is truly being made by them. That’s why it’s important for Verity to have our member’s up-to-date contact information! (Which should always be called in or mailed in. Verity will never ask for personal information via email.

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