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What is the difference between available balance and actual balance?


What is the difference between available balance and actual balance?

We’ve all been there – you double, triple check your account before you make a big purchase but then your heart sinks. Declined. How did this happen? There was enough in the account, or at least you thought. The culprit here is available versus actual balance.  

Your actual balance, or sometimes just called balance, is the total of all the transactions on your account including any pending transactions. Available balance is what is available for you to use out of this actual balance – typically this is your actual balance minus any pending transactions.  

A pending transaction is something that is in the middle of processing but hasn’t fully hit your account yet. The sticky thing with pending transactions is that the credit union has no control over them. They post to your account when the merchant batches out their transactions, and even have the chance of falling off and never hitting your account at all.  

Check holds are also common reasons why you might have a difference in your available and actual balance. All accounts are subject to our check hold policy and are there to protect you. If you need a check released sooner, feel free to call us. Most times we are happy to release some funds for you if needed.  

So how can you make sure you have enough funds? In the WestStar mobile app and online banking, the balance you see at the top next to your account name is the available balance. If you are ever unsure, it says “available” underneath the total. These are the funds currently available to you. If you click on the account and look at the details section, it shares a bit more info. Under Account Information, it will tell you your available balance, balance, and open date. You probably already guessed it, but the Balance is your actual balance. If you notice a difference between the available balance and balance, this means something may be pending on your account.

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