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

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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, when a deposit is pending, you cannot use any of the money. Since every deposit must be verified and authorized before it becomes available for use, you must wait until a pending deposit is added to your ‘available balance’ before you can access it.

Let’s be honest, there is something wonderful about depositing money into your bank account. But, before you try to spend your next deposit, be sure to give it enough time transition from ‘pending’ to ‘available’. Otherwise, you are at risk of overdrawing your account.

For the rest of this article we will explore how deposits work behind the scenes. Additionally, we will answer a few other personal banking questions.

Side Note: Here at Be The Budget, we understand how frustrating it can be to wait for a direct deposit to become available. That’s why we highly recommend opening an Axos Essential Checking Account. With their Direct Deposit Express feature, you can get paid up to 2 days earlier than most traditional checking accounts allow. Plus, with no minimum monthly balance fees, no overdraft fees, no monthly maintenance fees, and unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements, we can’t seem to find a checking account that competes with this one. Click here to learn more about an Axos Essential Checking Account.

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

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 it the funds are verified and added to your available balance. 

The reason banks show pending deposits, is so that you know the actual deposit is processing. It lets you know that the bank is working on verifying the funds, and that they will be available soon.

Additionally, 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 Know If I Have A Pending Deposit?

Typically, when you log into your bank account, there will be a line-item that shows any pending deposits. Just be sure you don’t mistake your pending deposits for your available balance.

How Long Does A Pending Deposit Take To Post?

In general, you can expect your pending deposit to clear within 2 business days. In fact, there are regulations (source) surrounding the amount of time a bank can place a hold on a deposit that ensure you gain access to your money in a timely manner.

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 (source), but this would be a very rare circumstance.  Rest assured, banks cannot place indefinite holds on your deposits.

Can A Pending Deposit Get Declined?

Yes, a pending deposit can be declined. For instance, a deposit may get declined if there are insufficient funds, 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.

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 — unlike pending deposits — will be subtracted from your available balance. This ensures the funds remain available for the payee, and also keep 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.

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About The Author

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.

One response to “If A Deposit Is Pending, Can I Use The Money?”

  1. Norma bobst says:

    This expiation was very helpful

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