What exactly is a hold on a debit card?

Let's say I have about $400 on my debit card and I stop for gas. To fill my car I might need about $30 max. I heard that gas stations could put a $200 hold on my debit card if I use it to buy gas.

Does that mean I'm having like $230 in my checking account that I'm not able to use? And then in a few

Let's say I have about $400 on my debit card and I stop for gas. To fill my car I might need about $30 max. I heard that gas stations could put a $200 hold on my debit card if I use it to buy gas.

Does that mean I'm having like $230 in my checking account that I'm not able to use? And then in a few hours or days or whatever it will give me the $200 back?

Other answer:

Abby:
Yes, you are correct (although very rarely if ever is the freeze $200 – usually it is between $50 and $100). As for what you cannot use, it is just the freeze amount – say your station freezes $75 and you pump $25 – the exchange will show up as pending $75 which basically means you cannot use that $75 sicnce it looks like you have already used it. Then when the transaction is complete, the $75 is wiped out and the transaction posts as $25.

Here's a short article you might find useful – http://www.cleveland.com/business/index….

Literal:
Yes. It is not the gas station but rather your bank that issues the hold. Ask them about how an amount is determined and when the money is released. It is often better to use a credit card for purchases and pay it off in full every month. This is especially true when traveling. You can also use an ATM to get cash so you can pay cash for gas and other small purchases.
Dan B:
Yes, you can't use that hold money until the hold is released (usually in 2-3 business days or less). However, I've never had $200 hold for a gas purchase. Usually is about $50-$75. If you ask the bank, the bank tells you that the merchant places the hold on your funds to ensure payment. If you ask the merchant, they'll say the bank requires the hold to ensure payment.
Richard:
There is no reason to put a "hold" on a debit card since it is a guaranteed transaction taking money immediately from your account – companies may put a "hold" on a credit card as an advance payment protection.
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