If A Deposit Is Pending, Can I Use The Money?

By Zach Buchenau

Last Updated: September 13, 2022

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Can you use the money in a pending deposit? | Be The Budget

Whether it’s a weekly paycheck, a stack of cash you earned through a side hustle, or birthday money, it feels great to deposit money into your bank account. But if you need some quick cash, you might be wondering, if a deposit is pending, can I use the money?

No, pending deposits are not available for use until they have been authorized by the bank and added to your available balance. In most cases, a deposit will clear and become available for use within 1-3 business days.

As frustrating as this waiting period may be, it is important for your bank to verify each and every deposit made into your account.

This process is designed to protect both the bank and you, the account holder, from fraud.

So, while it may be inconvenient at times, it is a necessary part of keeping your money safe.

What Is A Pending Deposit?

A pending deposit is money that has been deposited into a bank account but has not yet been authorized for use. When you deposit money into your checking or savings account, the money will show as ‘pending’ until the funds are verified and added to your available balance. 

The reason banks show pending deposits, is so that you know that the money is processing.

It lets you know that the bank is working on verifying the funds and that they will be available soon.

Every deposit you make, including mobile deposits, in-person deposits, and direct deposits, will go through the authorization process and initially show as ‘pending’.

This verification process protects the bank from giving you access to money that doesn’t actually exist.

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How Do I Check For Pending Deposits?

To check for pending deposits, simply log into your online banking account summary and look for a section labeled “pending.” Within this section, you should see any and all of the pending deposits and transactions that are currently being processed but have not yet been approved by your bank.

If you don’t see a pending section, or if you’re unsure where to find it, you can always contact your bank directly and ask them for assistance.

If a deposit is pending, can I use the money? | Be The Budget

How Long Do Pending Deposits Take?

Pending deposits typically take 1-2 business days to go through. This timeline will vary depending on the dollar amount and deposit method you use. For instance, a small in-person deposit may take less than 24 hours to post, while a large mobile deposit will typically take a couple of business days.

However, there are certain exceptions.

For instance, a bank can place a hold on funds that raise any suspicions.

So, if you deposit an unusually large amount, or make a series of deposits that are outside your normal behavior, a bank may place a hold on the deposit to investigate further.

That said, holds placed on a deposit will only extend the length of time they take to process by a few days, max.

Worst case scenario, you can expect a pending deposit to become available within 9 business days of the original deposit, but this would be a very rare circumstance.

At What Time Do Pending Deposits Go Through?

In most cases, pending deposits will officially go through between 12 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. EST on the day they are approved. While every bank is different, this is a fairly common timeframe for banks to refresh and update their accounts.

For instance, if you make a deposit on Monday, you’ll typically have access to the money by early Wednesday morning.

Why Does My Direct Deposit Say Pending?

If your direct deposit is marked as pending, it simply means that the funds have not yet been authorized by your bank. In most cases, your direct deposit will take 1 to 2 business days to post to your available balance.

That said, there are some bank accounts that offer early access to your direct deposit. For instance, Axos Bank and Chime both offer checking accounts that allow you to access your direct deposit up to two days early.

This can be a really nice feature if you’re tired of waiting those extra couple of days each pay period.

Can A Pending Deposit Get Declined?

Yes, a pending deposit can get declined if there are insufficient funds in the payor’s account, incorrect account details, or your bank is unable to verify the deposit for any reason. In most cases, pending deposits will go through without any problem, but it is possible for them to get declined.

If there is enough money, your bank will approve your deposit and add it to your available balance. If there is not enough money in the payor’s account, the bank will decline the deposit, and remove it from your bank account, entirely.

Why Did My Pending Deposit Disappear?

There are a few reasons why your pending deposit may have disappeared. In some cases, the deposit may have been canceled by the sender. Alternatively, the deposit may have been returned due to insufficient funds or an incorrect account number.

If you’re not sure what happened to your pending deposit, your best bet is to contact the sender or your bank directly.

They’ll be able to give you more information about the deposit and help you figure out what to do next.

Do Pending Deposits Show In Available Balance?

No, pending deposits do not show in your available balance until they are processed, authorized, and posted by your bank. Once a deposit is approved, it will be added to your available balance, and you’ll be able to use the funds.

Pending deposits can be confusing because it may appear as if the money has already been added to your account.

However, it’s imperative that you don’t try to spend the money until the deposit is actually posted. Otherwise, you may end up overdrawing your account and putting yourself in a difficult financial situation.

To put it simply, you should never spend more than the amount shown in your available balance.

All other funds, including pending deposits, should be considered unavailable until they are officially posted to your account.

Other Bank Account Terms You Should Know

In order to properly handle your money, it is important for you to understand some personal banking terminology.

The more you know, the less likely you will be to get confused.

So, what follows are a few banking terms with which you should familiarize yourself.

Hopefully, this helps you understand your bank account a little better the next time you log in, or read your monthly statement.


When you log into your bank account or look at your bank statement, you will likely see a column called Deposits or Credits. This column refers to the amount of money that was added to your account.

Though, it is important to note that pending deposits will not show up in this column until they are actually authorized.

Available Balance

Your available balance is the most important number in your bank account. This is the actual amount of money available for you to use. Whether you want to transfer money from one account to another, or spend money, you will be pulling it from your available balance.

As I mentioned earlier, when your bank approves a pending deposit, they add the money to your available balance.

Pending Transaction

A pending transaction is the opposite of a pending deposit. A pending transaction is any money you spent or moved from your bank account, but hasn’t officially been approved. Similar to a pending deposit, every purchase you make must be approved. And until it is, it will appear in your bank account as a pending transaction.

It is important to note that pending transactions are immediately subtracted from your available balance.

This ensures the funds remain available for the payee and also keeps you from thinking you have more money in your account than you actually will when the transaction gets approved.

Posted Transaction

Simply put, a posted transaction is any money that you moved out of your bank account (whether for a purchase, or anything else) that has been officially approved by the bank.

Ending Daily Balance

Every day, your bank adds up your transactions and any approved deposits in order to determine the remaining amount of money in your account. They then include this number as a line-item in your account to show your total available balance at the close of each business day.

Final Thoughts

Pending deposits are an important aspect of personal banking for you to understand. In fact, in order to make the most out of your money and avoid mistakes it is important to educate yourself on the ins and outs of your bank account.

Hopefully this article has provided you with some useful information.

Understanding your bank account is an important part of personal finance.

Zach Buchenau

About The Author:

Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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