Debit card “holds”, otherwise known as a “blocking” lead to overdrafts and bounced checks for many unsuspecting bank customers. Debit card holds are a common practice among merchants. Although debit cards are in many ways treated in a similar manner to credit cards, merchants are aware that the cards are tied to bank accounts rather than a line of credit. Many merchants are concerned that consumers may not have enough money in their bank accounts to pay for the transaction by the time it is processed. Consequently, they use card holds to ensure that the money for the transaction is reserved until the purchase is processed.

The problem with card holds is that the held amount rarely mirrors the true price of the item. Gas stations, for example, may automatically hold $75 on each debit card. This can cause a serious problem for the customer who may be unaware of the card hold. Later transactions may overdraft the account or simply be refused by the bank, even though the customer technically has the funds. Holds may remain on the customer’s account for several days after the transaction is completed.