Understanding Card Limits

Card limits are useful for having greater control in your business spending (read more about how to set them here) be helping to ensure you stick to daily or monthly budgets. 

However, in some cases a merchant may be able to process a charge on your Mercury card above the limit you've set. Though it may be surprising to see one of these transactions occur, there are a number of legitimate reasons a charge greater than your limit may occur. 

It is worth noting that card limits for debit cards, regardless of the issuing bank, are designed for helping with spending controls rather than preventing good-faith transactions from a merchant. 

  • Recurring Charge or Subscription: Recurring charges are usually subscription-based. If a series of transactions are recurring, the merchant was usually given permission to charge you with the initial debit. This authorization persists even if you alter your limits. In these cases we recommend contacting the merchant to cancel the recurring payment - you can always re-authorize with them at a later date by re-signing up.
  • Force Posts: Sounds scary based on the name but this occurs when a merchant uses a previous authorization code to push through a transaction. Governments and utilities use force posts most commonly, but they can also be used to refund money back to a cancelled card.
  • Pre-authorizations: Fairly similar to Recurring Charges given that they happen for the same reason (technically the recurring charges are all pre-authorized). The debit card infrastructure allows a merchant to change the final charged amount by up to 20% before it will be automatically blocked. Think about paying at the pumps or using a delivery service that will charge you an initial amount and then correct said amount to reflect tax and tips after the fact. 

Regardless, if you do not believe a transaction should have occurred; is fraudulent; or was not made in good faith by the merchant,  we recommend working with the merchant in question to return the funds, or pursing a transaction dispute via the Transactions section of your Mercury's account. 

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