There are instances where the amount on a pending charge changes when a charge is actually posted. For example, when you leave a tip at the restaurant, your pending charge shows the pre-tip amount, and when it posts, the charge is for the full bill, with tip included.

Let's say I called my credit card company and told them to stop further payments to a merchant that currently has a transaction pending for $50. Although they can no longer make another charge to my account, will they be able to increase the amount of that charge when it posts? Is there any way to ensure that $50 is the maximum they take out for that charge?

  • 1
    I'm relatively familiar with the credit card industry, and I've never even considered this question before. Now I'm curious, too.
    – Bobson
    Oct 24, 2017 at 2:53
  • what problem are you trying to solve? Oct 24, 2017 at 10:40

1 Answer 1


NO. The authorized amount cannot be increased after the fact, this is true for all credit card transactions. The authorized amount is the limit. They can capture a lesser amount when the charge settles, but not more. When you go to a restaurant or gas station, the auth amount when they swipe your card is always higher than the capture amount because they want to leave room for tips, the final amount of gas pumped, etc. Whatever that auth amount is ($100 for gas? Bill plus 20% for restaurants?) is the limit for that specific transaction.

Related anecdote - you can also prevent future transactions: I had a subscription service (phone company, back when people paid for long-distance calls) that I tried in vain to cancel and could not get a hold of anyone at the vendor. They were automatically charging my Amex $3/mo as a maintenance fee.

I called Amex: there was a current pending $3 charge that I didn't want to cancel, but I also wanted to make sure that vendor couldn't charge me again with any future transactions.

The Amex rep took care of it in like 30 seconds. That last charge went through and they were unable to post any new transactions. So I effectively cancelled the server by contacting the credit card company.

  • I'm not sure about the restaurant/tip part of your answer. Whenever I pay at a restaurant, the bill total shows up as the pending charge on my card and then the bill total + tip is what ends up being charged.
    – BobbyScon
    Oct 24, 2017 at 19:26
  • So it's a little nuanced: Visa and MasterCard, for example, know which of their customers are restaurants and automatically allow a capture of the auth amount up to a certain overage, often +20%. Same end result, and the restaurant is unable to charge more than this predetermined amount without another authorization and charge.
    – Rocky
    Oct 24, 2017 at 19:36
  • Here are the Visa guidelines, see page 12: usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/download/merchants/…
    – Rocky
    Oct 24, 2017 at 19:39

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