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How to Cancel a Pending Credit Card Transaction Without Hurting Your Credit Score

Irina Tsymbaliuk
How to Cancel a Pending Credit Card Transaction

When you make an online transaction, your money is not transferred to the seller instantly — it remains in a pending status, and occasionally stays that way for some time. In such cases, the payment has been initiated and authorized but has not yet been fully completed and processed by the bank. The reasons for this temporary hold can be different, from billing error, duplicate charge, purchase cancellation, and user errors to fraud suspicion. Still, the solution is always the same — contact the merchant or financial institution to discuss this matter.

In this article, you will learn everything about how to cancel a credit card transaction that has a pending status — how to stop a pending payment, whether to contact the merchant or the card issuer, how long it can take, and in what cases it is possible at all.

Transaction Status Check

Transaction Status Check

So, before we talk about how to stop a credit card transaction, we must figure out how to determine its status — whether it is still pending or has already been posted.

A pending payment is an approved financial transaction that has not been processed yet, which means that the money is in the process of being transferred. To check the status of a transaction, you should check your account balance — pending payments typically appear at the top of your latest statements. These transactions show up in your bank account’s available balance but don’t show up on your monthly bank statement.

Depending on each individual transaction, the duration of its pending status can vary greatly — some payments may become posted in one or two days, while others may take several days or even a week to be fully processed. The factors that determine the waiting time are seller processing speed, transaction type, holidays, bank special rules, and more.

Important! Pending transactions affect your available balance and may reduce your available credit limit. For example, if you have $500 on your card and you have made two $200 payments that are in pending status, then your available current balance is $300.

Get in Touch With the Seller

Get in Touch With the Seller

The first and foremost thing you should do if you are wondering how to stop a pending transaction for any reason is to contact the merchant immediately — this is often the easiest, fastest, and most effective way to resolve any problem with the transaction.

So, the seller who issued the charge can cancel the pending transaction by submitting a stop payment request to your card issuer. Another reason to contact the merchant is that you can only withdraw a pending transaction once it has been posted. It is best to do this as soon as possible — within one or two days. Remember that the sooner you initiate communication, the greater your chances of reversing a transaction are.

Be patient and polite when dealing with the seller, store, or supplier where you have made the purchase. In order for communication to be effective, you need to first prepare all the information about the transaction you want to dispute — details of the purchased item, order number, payment data, as well as the reason why you want to cancel the payment. In addition, we would also recommend you document the conversation and save all messages, chats, and recordings. However, do not forget to coordinate this with your interlocutor.

While the merchant has the option of asking the card issuer to remove the hold so you can get your funds back, in some scenarios, they may refuse to issue a refund. In this case, you may need to dispute the transaction with your bank, providing valid reasons why you want to do so.

Reach out to the Card Issuer

Reach out to the Card Issuer

So, if you’re looking for how to cancel a pending transaction in case you can’t resolve the issue with the merchant, you may need to contact your card provider. Has the seller not responded in time? Contact the card issuer directly. Additionally, if you want to cancel a transaction because you suspect fraud, you should call your card issuer or bank immediately without contacting the merchant.

So, can a bank cancel a pending transaction? The answer is yes, but while merchants can provide a refund within a few days, banks may take several weeks to process this operation. In practice, card issuers are more likely and more willing to help stop a transaction that has already been successfully posted, rather than a pending one.

Scenarios where a card issuer may reverse a transaction

  • Unauthorized transactions;
  • Duplicate charges;
  • Product or services not received;​
  • Clerical errors.

Scenarios where a card issuer may not reverse a transaction

  • Buyer’s remorse;
  • Disputes over quality;
  • Non-fraudulent authorized use by family/friends;
  • Transactions within the return policy period;
  • Subscription services.

Important! If you’re wondering, “How to cancel a transaction from my bank account?” remember that you can even do it online or from the issuer’s app.


Understanding the difference between pending payments and posted transactions is a vital point in effectively managing your finances and resolving banking problems. So, if you ever find yourself asking, “How can I cancel a pending transaction on my debit card?” then you have two options — the first step is to contact the merchant, and if for some reason this does not solve the problem, then you should contact the card issuer.

Remember that you can avoid or minimize the need to reverse a pending transaction in the future. Although not all factors are within your control, you should make payments carefully and thoughtfully, make purchases only on secure and reliable websites, protect your card information, and regularly review your bank account and card statements.


What is a pending credit card transaction?

A pending credit card transaction is a payment that has been approved by the card issuer but has not yet been fully processed by the merchant. In fact, it is the process of a merchant contacting the card issuer to ensure that your card balance is sufficient to charge the transaction. The payment may be pending for up to 5 days.

How long does it take to cancel a pending credit card transaction?

So, how to stop payment on a credit card, and how long does it take? It all depends on the stop-payment method you choose and the specifics of the bank and merchant involved. If you try to resolve the issue by contacting the merchant, it will take a few days, but doing so through your bank or card issuer may take longer — up to several weeks on average.

Can I cancel any type of credit card transaction?

Yes, you can cancel any type of credit card transaction — you can either cancel a transaction with a pending status or dispute the payment after it has been posted. Depending on your specific situation, you may need to contact either the merchant or your card issuer to resolve the stop-payment issue. Contacting the merchant is often the easier method of how to stop a pending payment, but if this does not work, you can always contact your bank.