Once you raise a dispute with your card issuer, it must investigate and get back to you within two complete billing cycles and no later than 90 days. While a charge is in dispute, you don't have to pay it -- though you do have to pay the undisputed portion.
The card company can't report you as late to the credit bureaus and can't charge interest on the disputed amount, says Wu.
Not paying the disputed amount also preserves your rights to challenge the error under "claims and defenses," says Bowne .
However, the card issuer can apply the disputed amount against your credit limit, according to the FTC's website. Disputing $3,000 in airline tickets on a card with a $10,000 credit limit would leave you with $7,000 in available credit until the dispute is resolved.
If the credit card dispute is resolved in your favor, the issuer should cancel the charge and associated interest.
If the dispute is not resolved in your favor, you'll be responsible for the charge and any interest that accumulated during the dispute period, says Susswein. At that point, if you don't pay, you risk hurting your credit, she says.