Information adapted from Department of Professional & Financial Regulation
What is a debit card hold?
When you use a debit card, the store clerk, using a credit/debit card machine, usually contacts the financial institution that issued your card to get an authorization. When the approval is given, the balance in your checking account is reduced or "blocked" by the amount of the purchase or in the case of a credit transaction, an estimated amount. This is known as a pre-authorization hold. The merchant determines the amount of the hold and is typically the amount of the purchase or an estimate in the case of a transaction (e.g., gas purchase) where the final amount is unknown at the time the pre-authorization is requested. Your financial institution will typically keep the hold on your account until the funds are actually transferred to the merchant from your financial institution, often 3–4 days but weekends, holidays and system "glitches" could lengthen this time. If you look at your account online, it will show as a "memo" transaction with a red asterisk next to it. Since transactions done with your PIN (personal identification number) are processed the same day and most often within seconds, they do not require a hold.