5 ways to avoid holds on your credit cards

Indulgences are not off limits to your credit card

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – If you have a credit card, chances are you’ve probably heard “it didn’t go through.” It could have happened while shopping, at dinner or worst yet, during vacation.

International travel can often alert your credit card company. If you book a vacation overseas, make sure your credit card provider is in on the plans, too. If not, any international purchases could suspend your card. Bank of America recommends it customers alert them when they travel internationally. Consumer Action says even an online purchase to a foreign country could raise an alert and stall your credit card.

Besides international purchases, certain suspicious activity can lock down your credit card, too. Purchasing items such as large electronics or jewelry may raise an alert. These are things that would be unusual and the things a thief would do if they got a hold of your card. Credit card issuers lose millions to fraud every year, so they’re very sensitive when your spending pattern changes. They want to be sure it’s a legitimate charge.

Indulgences are not off limits to your credit card. You can still splurge on that diamond necklace. Just call your credit card company and notify it of your purchase.

You also have to keep tabs on your spending.  Your credit limit caps your spending on your credit card. Once you reach the cap, you’re cut off. So, track your spending and try capping it to below 30 percent of your credit limit to ensure you don’t exceed it. Repeatedly going up to your credit limit could hurt your credit score.

This is an obvious one, but if you’ve been too busy to realize you’ve fallen behind on payments, you must get caught up before your card will work again. The number of cycles you can go past due before your issuer shuts you down varies by credit card and by your history. The experts say, the spottier your history, the shorter your leash and missing your credit card payments will hurt you beyond simply having your credit card declined.

Have you ever paid for gas at the pump with a credit card, and noticed there’s a hold on your account for an amount much larger than what it cost to fill up? That reminder should be a red flag. Your card can be declined if you have a pending hold on your account.

Credit managers says this often happens when people are on vacation and they have made two purchases within moments of each other. You’ve gotten a rental car and then just checked in to a hotel. Both of these activities put a hold on a certain portion of a card’s limit. So, while traveling and only using one card for your entire vacation can be a problem. Credit managers advise travelers to take two credit cards with them.

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