How to Cancel a Pending Transaction on Your Debit Card, Credit Card, etc

Woman using phone to cancel a pending credit card transaction

Unless your bank or credit card issuer offers online transaction cancellations, you can only cancel a pending transaction with the cooperation of the merchant or payor.

Transaction cancellation policies for outgoing payments, like purchases, will vary by the merchant; deposit cancellations will vary at the discretion of the payor.

Canceling a pending transaction is not always an option, but if allowed, processing may take up to several days.

The cancellation process is similar regardless of whether the transaction is on your credit card, debit card, or is a bank transfer. However, it varies depending on whether the transaction is one you made or one that was unauthorized.

We’ve outlined more details on how to cancel pending transactions below.

How to Cancel an Authorized Pending Transaction

Once a transaction is in the pending stage, it is up to the merchant or payor to initiate a transaction cancellation, representatives from Capital One, Citibank, and Chase told us.

In the case of a payment you’ve made, the company you are paying will need to cancel the transaction. Once the transaction is canceled, the funds may be credited to your account immediately, or it may take several days to process.

In the case of an incoming deposit transaction, the payor will need to contact the customer service department of your bank and request that the pending transaction be canceled.

Online Cancellation

Some banks and issuers enable credit and debit cardholders to cancel pending deposits and payment transactions online. American Express, PNC, Chase, and U.S. Bank all offer online cancellations for pending transactions (both deposits and payments), customer service representatives told us.

Once you sign in to your online account, find the payment detail or transaction list. If your pending transaction is eligible for cancellation, you should see a “cancel payment” or “cancel deposit” option, which you can choose to proceed with the cancellation.

What to Do If You Can’t Cancel the Transaction

Banks, merchants, and payors will not always allow you to cancel a transaction while it is in the pending stage. Additionally, once a pending transaction processes, you cannot cancel it.

However, if you are not able to cancel a transaction while it is pending, you can resolve the issue by seeking a refund (for outgoing payments) or repaying the payor (for incoming deposits) after the transaction clears.

How to Cancel an Unauthorized Pending Transaction

If you find a transaction that you don’t recognize (whether it is pending or has already been processed), keep in mind that sometimes the corporate name of the biller is different than the name that you may be familiar with.

If you determine that you genuinely did not authorize the transaction, you should contact the customer service number on the back of your credit or debit card to report the fraud and determine how to proceed.

See our related research for more details on the steps to take if you suspect that someone has used your account.


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