Am I Responsible for Pending Charges if I Cancel a Credit Card?

by Mary Jane Freeman
You are still responsible for charges, even if you cancel your credit card.

Having charges pending on a credit card is a common occurrence. Within a few days, such authorizations are usually replaced by the finalized transaction amount. Even if you cancel your credit card, you will still be responsible for any charges that eventually post to the card.

Pending Charges

A "pending" charge on a credit or debit card is an authorization hold placed on the account for a certain amount of money. On average, a pending charge lasts between 24 to 72 hours. It is typically replaced by the actual amount of the transaction. Often, the pending and final charge amounts will be the same. At other times, the amount of the final charge is unknown so the two amounts are different, such as when a person pays for gas at the pump. In either case, the estimated pending amount is later replaced by the actual purchase amount. If a transaction is never completed, the hold is eventually released and funds once again made available for the cardholder.

Liability Continues With Canceled Card

Whether you'll be able to close your account if your card has pending charges depends on the policy of the card issuer. However, even if you are permitted to do so, you are still liable for any charges made to the card, regardless of when those charges finally post. Therefore, so long as your account has a balance, you will continue to receive statements and be expected to pay off the balance.

About the Author

Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.

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