A: Unauthorized charges appearing on your credit card or checking account statement can be alarming. If you see unauthorized charges on your account, first take a deep breath and remember that you will not be held responsible for paying charges that you did not authorize.


Next, recall if the charge is from a merchant or vendor that you previously provided your card number to. If this is the case, and the charge is different from what you agreed to or occurring beyond the timeframe agreed upon, you will need to work with the merchant or vendor to resolve the transaction. If resolution attempts with the merchant or vendor are unsuccessful, you may then file a dispute to recover the charges that were charged to your account. Access the Dispute Form(PDF) here and follow the enclosed instructions to begin the Dispute process. If the charges were from a merchant or vendor that you have never provided your card number to, please call us at 800-247-5626.

A: Preauthorization is a practice that allows a merchant to verify that a card is valid and that a specified amount of funds are available on your account. Preauthorized amounts are typically held on your account until the actual transactions are processed. Gas stations commonly preauthorized funds from your credit/debit card account prior to the actual charge being placed.


Preauthorizations fall off of an account within 3 – 7 business days.

Preauthorizations cannot be disputed.

A: At PenFed, your security is our priority. We use a fraud detection system that predicts the possibility of fraud on credit card accounts based on current fraud trends and the cardholder’s spending habits. This helps us detect fraud at its earliest stage by identifying unusual patterns in spending. When unusual spending patterns are detected, a freeze is placed on your account until we can confirm that the transactions were done by you. In addition to unusual spending patterns, there could be other reasons your card account may be frozen, such as delinquency or other matters.


If your account is frozen, contact us at 800-247-5626 so that we can determine the reason for the freeze and obtain the resources necessary to release your account.