How Long Does A Credit Card Payment Take To Process?

By Bruce Boswell •  Updated: 12/14/21 •  6 min read
Filed under: Credit Cards

Do you ever await keenly for your credit card payments to appear on your statement? And do you ever wonder why it takes as long as it does? It can be irritating waiting to find out exactly how much you’ve spent and not knowing how much you’ve actually got left to spend. After all, if you overspend it can increase your interest rates which would be a problem you’re expected to fix even though it might not technically be your fault that you may be over spent.

Credit Cards work differently than say debit cards, a refund for a debit card can take up to two weeks to process and appear in your account. But with credit cards it can be a little different, this is dependent on what method of payment you may use, if you paid with a check it may take a little longer to process from your account as well, you used a check it’s a slower method of payment than say if you just used the card for a cashless transaction, the reasoning for that is simply because electronics are quicker than a postal service. 

How Long Does A Credit Card Payment Take To Process

Processing Transactions

To determine the amount of time that it takes for a transaction to be processed is entirely based upon how you made the transaction in the first place. Payments that are made electronically either online or on a phone will normally be expected to post to your account the fastest and probably on the same day depending on if you made the purchase during business hours.

However if you have paid with a physical check it can take a little bit longer because you will have to wait for your physical check to reach your credit card issuer. This is also affected by who your credit card issuer is also, it will vary depending on this. The easiest way to work out when you will know if your data has been processed is by contacting the issuer.

They can give you the most accurate answer. If for example you have a current pending transaction the card issuer that you use can tell you exactly when to expect the payment by.

Online Payments

Online payments are the fastest to appear in your account however this will not appear instantly either. It is expected to take at least 1-3 working days for the online payment to appear in your account and show in your available credit.

This is simply because if you make a payment this way it is processed in a group overnight and not instantly, like mentioned earlier, it is not done in real time so for example, if you make a payment on a Friday night it most likely will not appear until the next business week. If you are desperate to know you can in fact call the creditor and simply ask about your account, they should be able to tell you when it will appear. 

Mailed Payments

These are the lengthiest to appear in your account, This is probably for the reasons that you would expect. After all, what’s quicker, sending a text message to your friend, or writing a letter and posting it to your friend? This is the issue with mailed payments also.

To use a card and pay for something electronically is simply a much quicker way of making a payment and seeing the money appear in your account than a merchant mailing a check to your creditor. After your issuer receives the check, you should also take this into account, they then have to open up hundreds of envelopes, then go and actually retrieve the payments and then they can post the individuals payments to their account.

You should also note that during the holiday periods this can be a much longer process based on the sheer volume of payments being made.

Freeing Your Credit 

The best way to ensure that the payment gets posted by a specific date you need it to is by making the payment a couple days earlier than you would normally. You could also contact your issuer by phone to ask if they can post the payment to your account straight away.

If for example you need to make a bigger purchase than you normally would you could contact them and ask them for a credit increase, if you are a responsible user and haven’t missed any previous payments with a reliable income you should be eligible for this.

Another way is to contact your issuer and explain that you have already made a payment and are awaiting it in your account, if you can prove this your credit card company will authorise you to momentarily exceed your credit limit.

In Summary

As you can see from the above article it is dependant on what type of transaction that you initially make on when the payment will appear in your account, that being said there is a few procedures that you can partake in to alert your creditor of maybe a larger purchase you might have to make or by requisition that the payment appear in your account the day of the transaction (This is only available if you have made an online payment and not by mailed payment) 

However, if you are having difficulty because you used a mailed form of payment then you can speak to your creditor as long as you have a good credit history they should allow you to temporarily exceed your credit limit. An online payment can take up to three business days to appear in your credit card account.

While if you have made a payment by check you are going to be waiting because your creditor has to manually process this which is dependent on when they receive the mail and how long it takes to process the mailed check before you will see it appear in your account. But like mentioned before you can contact your creditor.

Bruce BoswellBruce Boswell

Bruce Boswell

Bruce Boswell enjoys researching and writing about all things related to investing and saving money. Whenever he has a chance, Bruce loves travelling all around the world with his wife and trying new foods.