credit card advice
If there is ever a credit card charge on your statement you don’t recognize, you should normally call your issuer to ensure it isn’t fraud. However, there are actually a few types of credit card charges that my look suspicious at first but are legitimate and will go away on their own.
Here are the two most common types of credit card charges you can ignore.
1. Gas station preauthorizations
It’s very common for gas stations to charge a $1 preauthorization when you fill up your tank. This small charge allows the merchant to verify that your credit card is active and working.
According to The New York Times, this $1 charge will disappear once the final purchase is placed and processed. You can ignore the $1 charges from gas stations because they are simply a method of verification and will go away shortly after your purchase.
“If there’s a charge you didn’t
make, you may be a victim of fraud.”
To get the most bang for your buck at the pump, considering applying for a gas rebate credit card.
2. Hotel blocks
When you make a reservation at a hotel, they will often put an authorization hold on your card called a hold or block. This is often much higher than $1 — sometimes it’s as high as the estimated cost of your entire stay.
They do this in order to ensure you have sufficient funds to pay for the hotel, so you can ignore these charges and know they will charge you the correct amount after your stay.
When exactly will it go away?
According to the FTC, “If you pay your bill with the same card you used at check-in, your final charge most likely will replace the block in a day or two. But if you pay your bill with a different card — or with cash or a check — the block may last up to 15 days after you’ve checked out because the card issuer doesn’t know you paid another way.”
If you want to avoid this, consider opening a credit card with points and gifts. That way, you could simply pay for your hotel with your earned points without having to swipe your card.
Report any oher charges
If there is ever a charge on your credit card you didn’t make other than the two types of transactions above, you may be a victim of fraud or identity theft. Call your credit card issuer immediately to have them look into the charge.
If unauthorized purchases have been made on your account and it is determined the card has been compromised, they may need to close the card and issue you a new one.
If you aren’t sure if it’s a preauthorized purchase or fraud, just call your bank. They can investigate and let you know.
Photo source: budgeting.thenest.com