When you access your account online, you likely notice it reflects both a ‘balance’ amount and an ‘available’ amount for the account. Do you know the difference between the two?
The ‘balance’ amount tells you exactly how much is in the account now – but the ‘available’ amount is the key number you want to focus on because it reflects the money you have in your account that is still available for you to spend. The ‘available’ amount takes the money you have in your account currently and deducts any purchases/charges you may have made against your account that have not yet been paid out.
For example, you log into your checking account and learn that you have $250 in the account. You go online and pay your electric bill in the amount of $67 and your phone bill in the amount of $124 with your debit card. Neither of the bills have been paid out by the credit union at this time, but the funds are ‘on hold’ in your account until it is released to pay your bills.
When you log back into your account, you notice the ‘Balance’ is still $250, but your ‘Available’ amount is now $59 because the $124 and $67 charges ($191 total) are being held for payment of the two bills ($250-191 = $59). Therefore, you only have $59 available to spend. Having this information tells you exactly how much money you have available and can keep you from overdrawing your account.
Keep in mind that while debit card transactions will be reflected in your available balance, not all transactions will be ‘held’ or listed as ‘Pending’ on your account. For example, if you use Bill Pay, these transactions will not be reflected in your account balance until they are paid. The same is true for a payment that you authorize in advance, such as having a recurring payment for your cable bill that is directly debited from your checking account. In this instance, the cable company will initiate the payment – so it won’t show up as a withdraw from your account until the cable company requests it.
For more information on your account, visit our website at ExtraCreditUnion.org or call us at (586) 276-3000.
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