On 2/10 I bought petrol at Morrisons. My online credit card account shows the correct price of the full transaction for £45.11, but also a pending transaction of £1 on the same date (which are both 6 days ago). Is this normal and why? I thought they took £100 from it and refunded what you didn't buy (to make sure you have the funds before you fuel)
- where does £1 come into it?
Was this a "pay at the pump" affair? If so, it may have been checking
that your card was genuine before giving you any fuel.
If you "pay at the kiosk" at most petrol stations, you fill up *before*
presenting your card - but there is then a person there to deal with any
problems. But you can often pay at the pump when the kiosk is unattended
- so I suppose it makes some sort of sense of check your card up front.
For all I know, when you do a trial authorisation for £1, your card
company may possibly tell the pump how much available credit you've got.
I don't know whether this happens - but I see no reason why it shouldn't
be technically possible.
In article , firstname.lastname@example.org says...
If they carried out a trial transaction of £100 you would lose access to
that amount of credit until the transaction expired a few days later so
be grateful that they, like many other companies, just tie up the £1.
Surely they can send a request, "Is there £100 there?" without actually tying it up? Or even take the £100, but then alter the transaction down to whatever amount of fuel I took, so it's back in as soon as I leave the petrol station. Credit card transactions can't be this badly thought out, surely?
Credit card transactions don't work quite like that.
From a security standpoint it wouldn't be a good idea to reveal how
much remaining credit was available on a card in case some fraud was
going on. Besides, your credit limit is a personal thing and should
remain confidential between your and your card-issuing company. You
wouldn't expect someone to be able to find out what your bank balance
is when you make a payment to them, and I don't think I'd want every
trader I dealt with knowing what my credit card limit was.
When the exact amount of a transaction is unknown in advance, the way
it works is the merchant will request authorisation for an amount at
least as much as he an anticipates you may spend. The credit card
company then comes back with an authorisation for the card to be
charged that amount and blocks that amount from your remaining credit.
Just be thankful they only asked for authorisation for £1 and not
£100, or else you would have had your remaining credit blocked for an
even larger amount for a couple of weeks.
I didn't say they should. I said they should ask for the max the pump would give you, which is £100. It wouldn't know the difference betwen me having a credit of £100 and £10000.
Yes, that's what I thought they would do, but clearly they don't if it's only £1. Nobody buys £1 of petrol.
But when I only fuelled with £60, then £40 should be refunded immediately. If it can come out immediately, it should be able to go back in immediately. For example, if I'm in a shop and for some reason they want to cancel the transaction (I've changed my mind or the merchant typed in the wrong amount), surely it can be cancelled on the spot, and all my credit is there for the next shop I walk into?
For some reason, that I have never really worked out, although it may
relate to the fact that, historically, at least, many transactions were
not pre-authorised, the transaction that actually debits the account can
take several days to go through the system. I think only when that goes
through is the authorisation removed.
In this context this would mean that, if they authorised the full £100
maximum, you would lose access to that full £100 for the best part of
the a week. If they only authorise £1, and do the main transaction
either unauthorised, or with a separate authorisation for the actual
amount, only £1 that you wouldn't otherwise spend would be tied up,
albeit it tied until the authorisation times out, rather than until the
payment is settled.
I suspect that reversing a transaction only affects the settlement
stage, and still leaves the authorisation on file.
In the days when cards were imprinted, the merchant would have to pay
for a phone call, to have a transaction authorised, so they would only
get authorisation if the amount was over the floor limit or the customer
Broadly speaking, yes, that's correct. The credit card system is still
fundamentally based on the monthly billing/statement cycle that dates back
to when it was all done with paper imprints, and, although some aspects
of it have been modified to work in real time (or near real time) when
carried out electronically, there is still no guarantee that any
transaction will be processed before the end of the billing month. So the
assumption has to be made that it may not.
 Which, as Uncle Peter points out in his reply, can still be used.
I agree that is a weakness in the system. There appears to be no
linkage between the original authorisation request and the actual
charge to the card.
I've noticed this when staying at hotels where they sometimes
authorise your card for quite a large amount when you check-in. After
you pay your account at check-out they charge your account with the
bill total, but in addition to that the card still has the
authorisation amount blocked as well.
In article , email@example.com says...
No idea what they can theoretically do, all I know is what happens in
practice in my dealings with various companies (including Tesco when I
order a home delivery and am not actually charged until it arrives up to
3 weeks later) and that it seems to work.
but are you sure that it's not actually reserved.
Often I can see my "amount available" has decreased by the value of the
purchase immediately, even though that purchase is not debited until
The debit card for my NatWest current account is like that too. The
sort-code is shown on the front of the card, but not the account
Of course the account has a number, it's just that it's not printed on
the debit card. Maybe it's some kind of security. Surely your friend
must have some other way to find out what her account number is.
In article , tims_new firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, I am completely sure as my credit card's website lists
pending/reserved transactions as well as those that have been completed.
But anyway, Tesco do not know how much my shopping is going to cost
until it is picked and then delivered on the day - price changes,
unavailable items and substitutions make it a literal moving feast - so
how could they?