In the call center we often get calls from members who are confused by the difference between their current and available balances. Frequently, the difference is due to gas stations placing a hold on anywhere from $50 to $100. Gas stations aren’t the only ones to place holds, rental car companies also take authorizations to secure payment. While holds can be frustrating for members, a member service representative found this information on Visa’s website which explains their legitimacy:
Why do gas stations, restaurants, and hotels put holds on Visa check cards?
"To meet consumer demand for payment conveniences such as express/video check-out at hotels, pay-at-the-pump fueling and one-swipe payment at restaurants, Visa has established processes to protect Visa check card issuers, merchants, and cardholder. Similar to how check deposits can’t be immediately withdrawn, account deductions can’t immediately be cleared when the final amount isn't known—this typically applies to hotel, restaurant, and pay-at-the-pump gas station purchases. For these types of purchases, check card issuers may earmark cardholder funds to cover the estimated cost of the transaction. This process, known as a hold, safeguards both cardholders and merchants, ensuring cardholders don’t spend more money than they have and merchants are paid for the transaction. While most transactions have a less than a 24-hour hold, Visa protects cardholders by ensuring that all holds must be removed within 72 hours."