Pending transactions

How do pending transactions work?

Pending transactions are payments that haven’t been processed yet.

Here’s what they mean for you.

What does pending transaction mean?

Spotted a ‘pending transaction’ when reviewing your bank account balance? There’s no need to worry. It’s simply a recent payment that you’ve made with a debit card or a credit card.

You may have bought something in a shop or online. Either way, the word ‘pending’ shows that the payment is still being processed by the retailer and is waiting to leave your account.

It means your bank has approved the payment, but the retailer needs to finish collecting it. Once that happens, the pending transaction becomes a completed transaction. It should then appear in your normal account balance.

How do pending transactions affect your balance?

When checking your bank account, a pending transaction might not show up in your current balance. That’s because the retailer still needs to process and complete the payment. So, it may look like you’ve got more money to hand than you really do.

To avoid confusion, banks often provide an ‘available balance’ or ‘balance after pending transactions’ too.

This gives you a clearer picture by including pending transactions that are due to leave your account soon. It shows the money that you actually have available.

As a result, your available balance could be lower than your current balance.

How can you view pending transactions?

Signed up to online or mobile banking? Depending on the bank, you may see pending transactions near the top of your account summary or transaction list.

To check them in the NatWest app, tap ‘View transactions’, then scroll to the top of the screen.

When logged in to our Online Banking service, head to the account summary page and click ‘View transactions’. Your pending transactions should appear towards the top of the next page.

How long do pending transactions take to clear?

A pending transaction may take a day or two to clear. It should then move from your list of pending payments into your current balance.

Sometimes, the process can take a little longer depending on the retailer and transaction type. So, you might want to keep a close eye on your account and check you’ve got enough cash to cover everything.

Can a pending transaction be declined?

In certain cases, a pending transaction could be declined when an account lacks the money to complete it.

There’s also the chance of dipping into your overdraft if the pending transaction is greater than your available balance.

How to cancel a pending transaction

It can be difficult to cancel a pending transaction once it’s listed in your account summary​. That’s because both you and your bank have approved the payment. And you may have received the goods or services already.

You might be able to contact the retailer and chat through potential options. And they may have their own tips on how to stop a pending transaction. But time is tight since many pending transactions clear within a couple of days.

What if you don’t recognise a pending transaction?

There are plenty of reasons why you may not recognise a pending transaction. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Does the retailer use a different trading name when handling payments?
  • If you’ve got a joint account, could your partner have made the payment?
  • Did you pre-order an item a while ago that you’ve only just been charged for?

Still a bit unsure? It might be worth asking the retailer to confirm the order details, plus the exact goods or services you paid for. Your bank may also be able to help once the pending transaction clears.

Pending transactions – FAQs

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