Hotels and rental agencies like to carve out the full cost of their services on your credit or debit card before you pay in full. This credit blocking can catch anyone who sticks near their minimum or maximum balance off guard when they try to use their card. Inside, learn how to keep retailers from unexpectedly clogging your credit and debit cards with unwanted blocks.
- When you check into a hotel or rent a car – or if a restaurant or other business asks for your card in advance of service – ask if the company is “blocking,” how much will be blocked, how the amount is determined, and how long the block remains in place.
- Consider paying hotel, motel, rental car, or other “blocked” bills with the same credit or debit card you used at the beginning of the transaction. Ask the clerk when the prior block will be removed.
- If you pay with a different card, by cash, or by check, remind the clerk you’re using a different form of payment and ask them to remove the prior block promptly.
- If your debit card issuer allows blocks, make sure you have overdraft protection.
Of course, keeping sufficient funds in your debit account and steering clear of maximum credit limits is the easiest way to make credit blocks painless and irrelevant.