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What Causes a Negative Card Balance

Negative balances can occur on PEX Cards due to unintentional overages connected to tips, fuel pump purchases or other settlement scenarios. The best way for cardholders to reduce negative balance occurrences is to routinely check their balance. This can be done via the cardholder mobile app or calling the toll free number 866-685-0898. There is no way to completely eliminate negative balance occurrences. Below is a list of situations that can cause a card to have a negative balance.

  1. Fuel Pump: Cardholder has $51 available, swipes card, our system approves transaction because it’s looking for $49 availability. Tank releases fuel, but cardholder stops fueling at $70. He/she has just obtained more fuel than they had available funds to cover. Card will show a balance of - $19.
  2. Force Posts: If merchant force posts a charge, they’re force billing the card. On very rare occasions, this could be a fraudulent charge. More often, force posts are collection activities where previous authorizations existed.
  3. Restaurant: When tips are added to bills, after payment is processed, there’s an opportunity for a negative balance to occur. When payment is made, our system looks for funds to cover the amount the merchant provided (bill total) plus 20%. That percentage is used to account for a tip that may be left. If sufficient funds exist, an approval is given. When the bill is returned for signature and the actual tip left takes the total beyond what was available on the card, the difference will post as negative. This is inadvertent and is unlikely to happen often.
  4. Other: Other settlement scenarios can cause cards to show a negative balance, but are rare. When a merchant has placed a hold on funds on the card, but has not settled the balance within the allowed time span (e.g. 3, 6 and 14 business days), the hold should drop, and the funds are released and can be re-spent. Once those merchants re-bill, and they normally don’t ask for a funds check, the card will show a negative balance if insufficient funds exist at that date and time.
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