• Loans and Credit

Four-plus ways to Avoid Credit and Debit Card Blocking



How to Avoid

To avoid the aggravation that blocking can cause, follow these tips:

  1. 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.
  2. Consider paying hotel, motel, rental car, or other “blocked” bills with the same or card you used at the beginning of the transaction. Ask the clerk when the prior block will be removed.
  3. 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.
  4. Ask your current debit card issuer if they permit blocks, for how long, and from what types of merchants. If they do, you may want to consider getting an overdraft line of credit from your bank. Ask about a plan that always automatically covers the overdraft and does not involve a separate bank decision on whether or not to pay it each time. Although you might incur some interest on this plan if you don’t pay off the amount fairly quickly, you would not have an overdraft that is not paid. Ask your bank if they offer an overdraft line of credit, how it would work, and how much it costs.

In addition, if you are considering a credit or debit card, shop around. When comparing credit and debit card offers, ask issuers if they permit blocks, for how long, and from what types of merchants. You may want to consider an issuer that uses shorter blocks.