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Understanding your balance

Checking the balance of your current account regularly is a great way to stay 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 some of the key terms you might come across when checking your balance:

What’s the difference between your balance and your available balance?

What are pending transactions?

Unrecognised transactions

Balance After Bills

What’s the difference between your balance and your available balance?

Your balance shows how much you're in credit or overdrawn.

You may notice a difference between your balance and your available balance. That’s because your available balance includes some pending transactions. These could be things you’ve bought with your debit card that haven’t yet been processed.

Other 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. Read our handy guide explaining how overdrafts work.

What are pending transactions?

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

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 one 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

Unrecognised transactions

A pending transaction might 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 for confusion is that some shops and retailers show as different names. 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. 

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.

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 1 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.

What next?

Find out more about the difference between setting up a Direct Debit and setting up a standing order.