A “hold” or is when a financial institution blocks off a certain amount of money from being withdrawn from a checking account or a credit line. With credit and debit cards, a “hold” may be placed on a portion of a consumer’s credit limit or available debit balance if the final amount of a transaction is unknown. That can happen at gas stations, restaurants or hotels, because the merchant can’t know at the time the card is presented how much you’ll pump, how much you’ll tip or how many drinks you’ll take from the minibar. Consumers near their credit or debit limits need to watch their available balances carefully, or the hold amount could push them over the limit, triggering a fee. Holds, also called blocks, are usually released within minutes or hours, but can sometimes last days.