Although Steam is free to download and use, the platform provides you with plenty of opportunities to make purchases.
The social and community aspects of Steam are important parts of why it is so special and unique. In addition to purchasing and playing games from the Steam Store, there is a vast Community Market to explore, responsible for a large percentage of the purchases made on the platform.
This is all great, but what happens when Steam fails to process a transaction or when it seems to remain on “pending” status forever?
Find out more in this guide.
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The Steam Pending Transaction Error Explained
Steam processes millions of transactions every day, and only a tiny percentage of these transactions result in errors.
However, it’s frustrating when it happens to you, especially if the error means you miss out on playing an anticipated new release or joining a multiplayer session with your friends.
So, why does it happen?
According to Steam, this error occurs when you’ve successfully requested a purchase on your end, but they haven’t received confirmation from your payment provider that the funds will be released to pay for it.
As you can see in this Steam Community Forums thread, this problem has existed for a long time and has affected many Steam users.
Here are some quick methods you can apply to fix this problem.
Fix 1: Manually Cancel Your Pending Transactions
You can cancel a transaction with a “pending” status and create a new one that will hopefully process more quickly.
Here are the steps you need to follow.
- Open the Steam app and log into your account. Click on your account name in the top-right corner, then select “Account details” from the dropdown menu that appears. See the image below for more information.
- In this panel, click “View purchase history”, which should be at the top. This will open a list of your previous transactions, and you can click on the one you need help with.
- Once you find the transaction with pending status, select the “Cancel my purchase” option. You can now attempt to make the purchase again and, hopefully, that transaction will complete.
You can try a different payment method when you repeat the purchase, reducing the likelihood of the transaction stalling again.
If this doesn’t solve your problem, it’s possible that the issue is on Steam’s end and it can’t process the purchase. Read the following section for more information on that.
Fix 2: Check If Steam Is Down And Unable To Process Your Transaction
Steam and its associated services are very reliable, but even they encounter unexpected outages. This is normal, especially for such a large and complex platform.
You can check Steam’s status by visiting steamstat.us, a website that shows any current issues with Steam and its related services.
Another useful website is issteamdown.com, but it doesn’t show detailed information about each service individually as steamstat.us does.
Fix 3: Disable Your VPN Software If You’re Using It
Some Steam users use virtual private networks (VPNs). Usually, this is to gain access to certain game servers or because games are cheaper to purchase in particular regions. It might also be because access to Steam is restricted in their country.
Steam sometimes detects the use of a VPN as possible “abuse” of the platform’s policy. If the address associated with your payment details differs from the location of your IP address, it might automatically freeze your transaction.
Try making the purchase without a VPN and see if you still receive the pending error.
Although this is an easy error to solve, it’s can be frustrating, and it’s especially worrying when money is involved.
You should be able to solve the Steam Pending Transaction problem with ease by applying the methods in this guide.