Why is my available credit not equal to my credit limit minus my current balance?

I was checking my financials today, and noticed something odd.

For the credit card I have with my bank, I have a $4,000 limit. I have a $0 balance. My available credit is $3943, or $57 less than my limit. My facial expression is :confused:

At first I thought it might be limiting based on last month’s balance, but that was $68, not $57 (also, it was paid off like 20 days before payment was due). Then I wondered if it was counting purchases made this cycle, but that’s not it either (I made purchases of $17, $17, and $15, which I paid off in two chunks, one $34 and one $15, since I pay my balance down to zero once a week just to be safe. That’s a total of $49, not $57).

I realize I could call my bank and ask, but A) I am not a big fan of hold music and B) the poor phone jockey probably has no idea and nobody to ask and C) I don’t really want to explain my question 18 times (“You want your credit limit increased?” “No, I want to know why the available balance is that way” “You need the credit to make a purchase?” “No, I want to know where the numbers came from” “Oh, you want a balance check” “No, I want to know… nevermind”)

Anybody have an idea?

It’s likely a hold on your credit card. When you buy gas, for example, the moment you stick the credit card in the pump, a hold is placed on your account, often for about $100. Then, the charge runs through for, let’s say $43. That charge hits the account and you pay it off. Your balance is zero. But there is still a hold on your account for the remaining $57. For reasons I can’t explain, it often takes a week or so for these holds to clear. Hotels and car rental agencies also often place holds on your account to cover potential damage and again, it often takes longer to clear the hold than it takes for the final charge to be paid in full.

Not a bad explanation but I don’t think it applies in my case.

My three purchases were a pizza, a haircut, and the co-pay for a doctors visit - all of which are “pay this exact amount”, not “put a hold and then let a certain amount go through”.

Incidentally, it has been two weeks since my last purchase, so even if it was a hold, I would think it’s been cleared up by now.

I think you’re being too pessimistic about the phone agent’s ability to answer your question. I have asked similarly difficult questions and they usually were able to give me a good answer or transfer me to someone who could.

Ditto. Provided you have patience - I’m with the OP re the hold music.

Which bank?

Does this card have any fees?

Do you have any recurring charges directed to this card, such as they know X am’t is hitting it monthly so to prevent a recurring charge from being blocked, they lower your avail credit to leave room for it.


Wells Fargo


This was it. My electric bill is paid off that card, and had made a pending transaction that wasn’t showing up in the list of transactions. It posted today, so now the limit - balance = available. The “pending” transactions are hidden for some dumb reason.

Thanks everyone that responded.