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Understanding your balance

Checking the balance of your current account regularly is a great way of staying on top of your finances. But it can be confusing if you have lots of different payments going in and out of your account.

Here's a guide to help you understand what the different terms mean, so you know where you stand.

Pending transactions

When you log on to online banking or the HSBC UK Mobile Banking app, we'll show you any pending transactions for your current account.

These are payments or deposits that haven't yet been debited from or credited to your account.

Pending transactions can include:

  • Direct Debits
  • debit card transactions (you can see these in the app, but not in online banking)
  • salary, pension and dividend payments made by Bacs
  • cheques due to be paid into or out of your account that haven’t yet cleared

A pending debit card transaction is a recent card transaction that hasn’t yet cleared or been debited from your account. Debit card transactions can take several days to be processed and will show as pending until then.

Pending transactions don't include:

  • future-dated payments from your account, for example a payment to a friend you’ve scheduled for a few days’ time
  • payments to your credit card
  • standing orders
  • Faster Payment transfers

Balance vs available balance

Your balance is the amount you're in credit or overdrawn. It only includes transactions that have been debited from or credited to your current account. 

You may notice a difference between your balance and your available balance. That’s because your available balance takes into account some pending transactions. These include things like debit card purchases which haven’t yet been processed.

Some pending transactions won’t be reflected in your available balance, such as cheques that haven’t cleared and Direct Debits. Please note, your balance and available balance don't include any arranged overdraft limit either. You can find details of any arranged overdraft limit you have separately in online and mobile banking.

Balance After Bills

Your available balance can give you a better idea of what money you actually have to spend.

But our Balance After Bills feature brings you an even clearer understanding of your finances. It takes into account regular outgoings such as standing orders and Direct Debits and estimates your likely balance after those bills.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can use Balance After Bills to help manage your money until payday. 

Just log on to the HSBC UK Mobile Banking app to activate Balance After Bills on a current account that has at least one standing order or Direct Debit. 

It shows you how much you could have left for the month ahead, once scheduled bills (based on previous spend) are taken into account.

Please note, Balance After Bills isn't available on Android yet.

Unrecognised transactions

A pending transaction may show something you don't recognise. 

If you have a joint account, first check whether the other person recognises the transaction. You can also check out our query transactions page to help you work out why you might not recognise a payment.

A common reason is that some shops and retailers show as different names, which causes confusion. For example, things you’ve bought from Argos or Homebase might show as Home Retail Group. To help, we’ve put together a list of companies (PDF, 56KB) whose transactions are often disputed. 

Please note, you can’t stop or cancel a pending transaction. If you’re still not sure about a transaction, you can go here to raise a dispute

You’ll have to wait until it’s been processed before disputing it.  

What next?

Stay on top of what’s going in and out of your account by finding out more about the difference between setting up a Direct Debit and setting up a standing order.