Pending charges disappear, return the funds, then post 2 days later!

Is it normal for debit card charges to appear as pending then disappear only to post up to 3 days later?

After this weekend, we have found ourselves overdrawn on our Meritrust checking account, due to charges suddenly appearing out of nowhere. These charges are genuine, but I did not see them until yesterday, giving us the impression that we had more funds available than we actually had.

This has happened a number of times over the years causing us to go overdrawn. The charge will initially show as pending with a release date, showing our current balance, and available balance, the latter showing our balance including any pending charges. However, after 4 to 12 hours, any pending charge will disappear from our statement, showing a balance, which does not include the pending charges.

Is this standard practice for banks, or is this specific to Meritrust? Not all charges show as pending, some debit charges are immediately posted, which is how I would think it would work as it’s a direct digital transfer of funds. I cannot think of a good reason why a debit should not post immediately.

I wouldn’t mind if the charge remained pending until the release date, before posting, we’d know how much money we have available. it’s the fact that the pending charge disappears, the money is refunded, only to post 2 days later, making managing a budget difficult when your base information is incorrect.

The issue is that I don’t check our online banking daily, so sometimes, my wife will buy something, I never see the pending charge, then days later, a charge comes out of seemingly nowhere, which becomes a problem when you are running low on funds. My wife always checks the balance on her phone before spending, but if the balance is incorrect because of the vanishing pending charge, what can we do?

We have thousands of dollars in funds being deposited into our checking account within 36 hours, despite this, I fully expect Meritrust to hit me with a $32 insufficient funds charge before that time.

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