How to Stop a Pending Transaction on a Prepaid Debit Card

You can stop a pending transaction on your prepaid debit card.
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Whether you're dealing with a Netspend pending transaction or one with another prepaid card, this means that a merchant has submitted a charge to your card yet the transaction hasn't completed the posting process. If you didn't make that purchase or want to stop a charge for something you did authorize, your prepaid debit card's policies will determine whether you can stop the pending transaction and get your money back. Prepaid card issuers will often investigate fraudulent transactions and give you some protection, but you'll usually need to handle other pending transactions with the merchant directly.


Understanding How Pending Transactions Work

Whenever you purchase something on your prepaid debit card using the credit option, your account usually shows the transaction as pending for up to a few days. This gives the payment some time to fully clear with the merchant and your card's associated bank. In the meantime, you'll usually still see your prepaid card's balance reduced by the amount of that pending charge.

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After processing finishes, that charge will show up on your statement as completed. In some cases, the amount may differ for a transaction like a restaurant meal or gas purchase due to needing time to get your actual charge. However, sometimes you might have a scenario where the pending transaction just disappears and never posts. That might happen if you ended up canceling an order, and your account balance should no longer reflect that removed pending transaction.


Stopping Unauthorized Pending Transactions

If you see a Netspend pending transaction, Vanilla gift card pending transaction or another that you don't recognize, you might be dealing with fraud or stolen card information.

In such a case, your protection can vary from how it would if you had a regular debit or credit card. For example, if you made a credit purchase with a non-prepaid card, you'd have protection so that you'd be responsible for no more than $50 in unauthorized charges per the Fair Credit Billing Act. However, your prepaid debit card funds don't have protection by federal law, so you'll have to rely on your card provider's security policies and procedures for fraudulent transactions. In some cases, you have some limited protection that may exclude certain transactions or may enforce limits on transactions you can dispute.


To stop a fraudulent pending transaction, you'll want to call the number on the back of your prepaid debit card immediately and listen for a phone option to report a lost or stolen card or report fraudulent transactions. The representative will ask some questions about your account and verify you're who you say you are. They can then either lock the card down or cancel it and send you a replacement card with a new number. You can expect your card provider to do an investigation to find out what happened, and you should ask about their policies for returning your money.

Stopping Authorized Pending Transactions

In other cases, you may want to stop pending transactions for which you're responsible. For example, you might have changed your mind about something you ordered, or you might have forgotten to cancel a subscription.


In these situations, you should first reach out to the merchant to ask about canceling the order or subscription. As long as the order hasn't completed processing or shipped, you have a chance of having the option to cancel it online or by phone and seeing the pending transaction fall off by itself after the cancellation goes through. However, if you've waited too long, the merchant may require you to return the item once it arrives or may not be able to refund you at all. The latter case can happen if you simply forgot to cancel a recurring purchase for a digital product like a video streaming service or another nonreturnable item.


Once the pending transaction completes, you can consider contacting your card issuer if the merchant can't help you. For example, this might be necessary if you end up paying the wrong price or receiving a poor quality item. You'll need to check your prepaid debit card's specific policies to learn about all the purchase protections you have.