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What is a credit card pre-authorization?

An Authorization hold (card authorization, preauthorization, or preauth) is the practice within the banking industry of authorizing electronic transactions done with a debit card or credit card. A credit card pre-authorization is much like any other charge to a credit card, except instead of actually debiting funds from the cardholder, the funds are temporary on "hold" until the final invoice amount is confirmed. Authorization holds typically fall off the account (thus rendering the balance available again) anywhere from 1-5 days after the transaction date depending on the bank's policy. 

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