if a deposit is pending can i use the money

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

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

It’s payday and you are rushing to check your bank account. But you’re in for a nasty surprise — there is no money available! Next thing you know, the deposit is pending and you are unsure what to do. It doesn’t feel good knowing that money is on the way, just not quite there yet. So you might find yourself asking — if a deposit is pending, can I use the money?

Before spending money you don’t really have yet, you should first take a step back and think. While it might seem obvious that pending deposits are not available, some banks let you overdraft your bank account.

But what happens if your deposit bounces and you end up being out of money and in debt? Take a look at the guide below, and find out what the do’s and don’ts of banking are.

Banking Terms

To understand what a pending deposit is and how it works, you must first learn the basics — terminology. In case you ever googled if a deposit is pending can I use the money, you might already be familiar with some banking terms.

Usually, banks use a lot of simple terms to describe complicated bank operations. But how could you know what a pending deposit is when nobody explained the basic terms to you?


The deposits, or credits, section of your bank account refers to the money you have received. However, most banks don’t include the pending deposits in your overall deposits tab. Those pending transactions have a special section, independent of deposits.

Pending Transactions

As the name suggests, a pending transaction is a transaction not yet approved by the bank. Don’t confuse this with a deposit, as transactions usually refer only to money moved or spent from your bank account. Banks allow users to view pending transactions separately so that they don’t think they own more money than they actually do.

Although they might look similar, pending transactions and pending deposits are two different things. The biggest difference is that the former will be subtracted from your available balance, while the latter will be added to it.

Available Balance

The available balance is usually what makes people happy or sad. Whenever you make a transaction, you use your available balance. Spend money, and the balance goes down, or deposit and the balance goes up instead. Overall, the available balance is the core of your bank account, with most of your decisions being made around it.


As it has been mentioned at the beginning of this article, spending money you don’t have is called an overdraft. While it may not seem like a huge deal, overdrafts are dangerous and can ruin you financially.

Luckily, most banks have what’s called an overdraft protection. In other words, whenever you spend more than you have, you get notified by your bank. Some banks have a similar system that allows you to receive money from other linked accounts, to avoid an overdraft.

But be careful not to fall into the overdraft trap, as the cost can quickly snowball and overwhelm you. Let’s hope that now you don’t turn that if a deposit is pending can I use the money into how to pay an overdraft.

Posted Transactions

Any amount of money approved that you spend or move from your bank account will be considered a posted transaction. Once a transaction is posted, the overall account balance updates to reflect the operation.

Business Day Cutoff

Some banks have a cutoff hour, meaning that every deposit initiated after it, will enter processing the next business day. The cutoff hour varies between banks but it’s usually no earlier than 2 P.M. for bank deposits and noon for off-site deposits. The reason banks do this is so they can send that day’s worth of work to the processing center.

Ending Daily Balance

Simply put, the ending daily balance is the total amount of money remaining in the account after processing all transactions and deposits. Keep in mind that it does not always reflect the available balance as there might still be some pending deposits.

Pending Deposits 101

Every bank needs to check and approve transactions on a case-by-case basis. To avoid confusion, the bank moves the amount of money that awaits approval to its own area — pending deposits. You can easily check for any pending deposits on your bank account. You are slowly but surely getting all the facts you can use to answer the question — If a deposit is pending, can I use the money?

Pending Deposits Objective

The purpose of pending deposits is to let the bank account holder know which money transfers are still being processed. Every deposit you make undergoes the same verification process. This applies to direct deposits, mobile transfers, and so on.

Deposit Declined

Waiting for a deposit but it got declined? Banks do background checks before approving any pending deposits. To do so, they must get in touch with the bank that holds the transferred money. That way, the source bank account is verified to see if it has enough funds for the deposit.

In case there is not enough money in the source account, the bank will decline and immediately delete the pending deposit. Likewise, if there is enough money, it will be added to your available balance as soon as everything is greenlit.

Waiting Time

The waiting time is actually the origin of your if a deposit is pending, can I use the money question. Thanks to laws and regulations, most banks should approve or decline any pending deposits within two business days. While there are rules in place so you don’t wait more than you have to, sometimes banks choose to investigate the deposit a bit more thoroughly.

That usually happens with deposits that involve a large amount of money. To avoid fraud, banks may need to do some extra research. Although that might be unpleasant, you don’t need to worry about waiting too long. Most banks will delay the transaction by a few days — nine at most, but you will eventually get your money.

Using a Pending Deposit

One of the most commonly asked questions among account owners like yourself is, If a deposit is pending can I use the money? The simple answer is no. However, there are ways to sort of use money you don’t have.

As mentioned previously, an overdraft can help you use some of the money that’s on the way. While technically you aren’t using the pending deposit, the debt created by an overdraft will be paid off once the deposit is approved. That is, of course, only if the deposit is big enough to cover your overdraft fees.

Funds Availability Policy

Almost every bank has a funds availability policy. As a result of such a policy, banks make their own rules when it comes to using the pending money. You can take a look at American Bank & Trust for an example of such a policy.

In that case, funds received from electronic deposits are available on the same day — while everything else usually takes one to two days. They also mention special restrictions for new bank accounts as a way to avoid fraud. For example, any deposit over their predefined limit will be delayed for up to nine days.

Although you can’t use your pending deposit, some banks offer a quick approving process. It’s important to research multiple options when it comes to banking and see which one offers the best deal.

Quick Tips

• Stay up to date with your account — it’s better to know about any bank mix-up as soon as possible.

• Be aware of exception holds as some banks delay deposits that go over a fixed amount of money.

• Business day cutoff — always know your bank cutoff hour as it determines when the deposit will be available.

Conclusion: Don’t Withdraw

Overall, pending deposits are something that everybody will experience at some point in their life. It’s important to know everything about your bank policies so you can avoid fees and problems down the line. What might be common knowledge for some is a total blur for others.

Now that you know the basics, try and answer — If a deposit is pending can I use the money? If you chose no — congratulations, you now understand the basics of banking.

Otherwise, try and do more research when it comes to deposits. Banks might try and trick you using overdraft and hidden fees but overall, you can’t touch anything that’s pending. Keep what you have learned in mind and next time you will dodge every bullet coming from your chosen bank.