Have you been charged twice for an item you purchased from a vending machine?
You're probably upset about it, and rightfully so. But we're here to inform you that it's nothing to worry about. In fact, it's a common occurrence for many credit or debit card transactions and not just limited to vending machines.
The charge you see is called an authorization hold, a well-known practice within the banking industry.
What is an authorization hold?
It's the practice of verifying a credit or debit payment and placing a hold on that account until the funds are transferred.
Here's how it works:
When you purchase a Coke or Pepsi from a vending machine with a credit card, the funds from your account are not immediately transferred to the vending company.
As a result, your bank or credit card company places a temporary hold on that balance (the amount of the item you purchased), so if you were to max out the card right after buying your soda or snack, they would know that the available balance is less than what is currently stated.
It's not until the merchant (in this case the vending company) submits the credit card payments at the end of the day in a 'batch transfer' (sending all the transactions over at once) that the funds are actually deducted from your account.
So if you purchased an item then looked at your statement right after, you're going to see both the actual charge (which hasn't been processed yet) and the temporary hold.
Once the vending company receives the payment from your credit card service, the temporary hold is removed. This process typically takes 1-2 days, but sometimes longer. If the hold is never removed, we suggest you contact your bank or credit card provider.