Filers using a debit card as their payment type should be aware of how payment processors handle pre-authorization holds on the estimated fees displayed in the Filing Fees Section.
What Is a Debit Card Pre-Authorization Hold?
When you use your debit card as the payment type to submit a filing to the court, the payment processor handles this as a signature debit transaction (you do not enter your PIN). You may use debit cards with a MasterCard or Visa logo on it just like using a credit card to pay for your fees. However, debit cards are linked directly to a bank account instead of a line of credit. The hold helps banks determine the available balance on your account through internet banking, mobile banking, automated teller machines, etc.
Upon submission, the payment processor sends the bank the amount of estimated fees listed in the Filing Fees portion of the filing for pre-authorization. The banking institution then places a hold on that amount and immediately removes that amount from the debit card holder’s available balance. The e-filing system then sends the filing to the clerk’s queue for review. The hold remains on those funds until the filing clerk accepts the filing and settles the amount. If you correct and resubmit a rejected filing, the court immediately places a new pre-authorization hold on your bank account.
What Happens if the Court Rejects a Filing?
You are never charged for a rejected filing. When the court rejects a filing (or a user cancels it), the payment processor does NOT capture the pending pre-authorization. Most banks and financial institutions require 3 to 14 business days from the date of the filing’s rejection before they release the hold on those funds. This time frame depends on your financial institution’s policies surrounding authorization holds. When the bank releases the hold, they will not post it as a credit or refund to your bank account. The pending charge simply falls off of your statement and it will no longer appear in your purchase history.
Multiple Debit Card Pre-Authorization Holds Can Lead to Bank Accounts With Little Available Funds
Due to the amount of time it takes a bank to release the hold on a rejected filing, it is very important to note that if you resubmit your corrected filing before the first hold drops, you will see two charges on your statement until your bank releases the first hold. Resubmitting a filing results in another IMMEDIATE pre-authorization hold.
This time span may result in a series of pre-authorizations on the bank account linked to the debit card which can leave it with little to no funds available until the bank removes the initial hold(s). Filers could then have their debit card declined in future transactions in the e-filing system or other businesses.
If checks or other transactions are processed before the bank releases the hold on your e-filing submissions, you may overdraw your account and incur overdraft fees. While we know it’s not always possible for e-filers, we recommend using a credit card for a payment type over debit cards to avoid issues related to the release of holds on rejected filings.