Credit Cards Q&A
Q: I'm traveling on vacation and I was just told I'm over my credit card limit, even though I know I had credit available. Why did that happen?
A: Your card might have been "blocked." When you use a credit card to check into a hotel or rent a car, the clerk may give the card issuer an estimated total, causing your available credit to be "blocked," or reduced by that amount. Some companies also call this placing a "hold" on those amounts.
If you pay your bill with the same card you used to check in, the final charge on your credit card will most likely replace the block in a day or so. But if you pay with a different card, cash or a check, the issuer of the card you checked in with might hold the block for up to 15 days, since they weren't notified of the final payment.
To avoid this, next time you check into a hotel or rent a car, ask if the company is "blocking," how much will be blocked and for how long.
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