How long does a credit card payment take to process

By Sarah R
Modified on April 24, 2023
how long does a credit card payment take to process

If you are making your credit card payment last minute, you may be wondering, “How long does a credit card payment take to process?” Depending on factors like the method of payment you choose, your credit card issuer, and the time of day you submitted your payment, you may find it takes anywhere from one business day to 72 hours (the equivalent of three business days) in order to fully process payments for credit cards.  

How Does Credit Card Payment Processing Work? 

When borrowers acquire credit cards, they are given a set credit limit they can use to make purchases throughout their billing cycle. Once a borrower reaches that credit limit, they must either pay off some of what they have already spent or wait until their next billing cycle for their credit limit to renew. 

At the end of each billing cycle, borrowers are given a credit card statement that shows their spending history for that month, the balance (if any) the borrower has accumulated for that particular month, as well as the total unpaid balance. Borrowers are then responsible for making monthly payments in order to clear out that balance. 

What Is a Pending Credit Card Transaction?

When account holders make payments or purchases using their credit card, there is a period of time between the initial transaction and when the transaction is finalized; during this time, the credit card transaction is considered pending. After you have submitted a credit card payment, you can track its progress via your online account. 

When Is the Best Time To Make a Credit Card Payment?

Borrowers can make payments on their credit card at any time on or before their designated due date. While some forms of funding, like payday loans online same day, may come with prepayment penalties that discourage borrowers from making early payments, credit cards generally do not! 

Who Is Involved in the Credit Card Payment Process?

There are several parties involved in the credit card payment process. First, a credit card company must have a merchant account set up with an acquiring bank, work with a payment processor, as well as the account holder’s issuing bank. Then, these parties can work with a payment association to finalize credit card payments. 

Credit Card Merchant

The credit card merchant is simply another term used to refer to most credit card companies. The merchant is the entity that receives compensation for selling goods or providing certain services.   

Acquiring Bank

The credit card acquiring bank is the bank that processes credit card payments for the merchant. This bank is the financial institution that manages the merchant’s business account and manages payments from business-related transactions. 

Credit Card Payment Processor

A credit card payment processor is a financial institution that helps credit card merchants receive payments and other credit card transactions. 

Credit Card Account Holder (AKA You!)

The account holder is the person whose name is listed as the owner of a particular credit card account. A credit card account holder is the person who has access to make credit transactions and who is responsible for paying off the credit balance as well as any other fees associated with the account. 

Customer’s Issuing Bank

The customer’s issuing bank refers to the bank where the customer has their personal checking account. This checking account is where the credit card company will draw funds from when the customer makes payments on their credit card bill. 

Customer Credit Card Payment Association

A payment association for credit cards is an entity that acts as the middleman between the customer’s issuing bank and the acquiring bank. This association handles transaction details and paperwork, as well as collects fees for providing payment processing services. There are currently four major credit card payment associations in the United States. They are: 

  • Visa. 
  • American Express.
  • Mastercard.
  • Discover. 

Which Credit Card Payment Process Is the Fastest?

Need to make a payment on your credit immediately? There are a few methods consumers can utilize when it’s time to make a credit card payment. They are: 

  • Online payments. 
  • Mail-in payments. 
  • Phone payments. 

Online Payments

Electronic payments are by far the most efficient way to make a credit card payment. Credit card payments made virtually can process in a few hours or less, given the customer has sufficient funds to cover the payment.  

With mobile and online banking options available with most credit card issuers, you can submit a payment via a mobile app or web browser. Simply log into your account, where you should see all your account details, like your balance, minimum amount due, as well as your current and past credit card statements. Once you’re logged in, you should be able to make a payment or pay off your balance completely directly from your virtual account. 

Mail-in Payments

Mail-in payments are probably the slowest way borrowers may submit a credit card payment. Depending on post office conditions, it can take anywhere from a few days or a few weeks for mail-in credit card payments to fully process.  

If you aren’t in a rush and have plenty of time before your due date, you may be okay with making mail-in credit card payments. However, to ensure your payment gets processed quickly and efficiently, you may want to consider virtual payments or over-the-phone payments instead. 

Over-the-Phone Payments

When it comes to processing speed, a phone payment probably falls somewhere after virtual payments but well before mail-in payments. Most consumers can expect over-the-phone credit card payments to take approximately 24-28 hours to process. But, if you need your payment to go through ASAP, you can ask your account agent to expedite your credit card payment for a small fee. 

Simply call your credit card issuer and ask to speak with an agent. From there, you can give the agent some identifying account information and let them know you would like to make a payment. 

How Am I Protected When Using a Credit Card?

Consumers are protected against predatory lending practices under the Truth in Lending Act of 1968. Under this legislation, credit card companies are required to abide by restrictions like: 

  • Providing customers with monthly credit card statements that contain a breakdown of transactions, interest rate charges, and accumulated balances. 
  • Credit card companies must send customers their monthly statements no less than 21 days before their payment due date for that month. 
  • Due dates for credit card payments should fall on the same numerical day of the month and should not change unless specifically requested by the account holder. 

Can You Get a Credit Card if You Don’t Have a Bank Account?

Issuers need a way of ensuring that customers have a way of making credit card payments and paying off their balance. In doing so, they will typically ask consumers for their bank account information during the application and approval process. While it may be possible to get a credit card without having a bank account, it will most likely be difficult. 

Tips for Working With a Credit Card Issuer 

At the end of the day, credit cards should provide a convenience to customers, not hold them back financially. As long as you keep track of your balance, make payments on time, and avoid overspending, you should find that a credit card can be a helpful financial tool. 

Below are a few tips on you can follow to wisely manage your credit card!

Sign Up for Autopay

Take the stress out of remembering to pay your credit card issuer on time by signing up for automatic payments. When you have autopay, your minimum payment will automatically be taken out of your bank account on its designated due date. If you are currently carrying a large balance, you may consider making a manual payment in addition to the automatic payment so you can knock down your balance faster. 

Try Not To Carry a Balance

If possible, try not to carry a balance on your credit card bill. Instead of paying your minimum amount due, just pay off the entire balance. By paying off your balance completely each month, you can save a significant amount of money on interest rate charges over time. A good rule of thumb to spend by is if you don’t currently have enough money in your bank account to cover a purchase, do not make the purchase. 

Freeze Your Credit Card Instead of Canceling 

If you have accumulated quite a bit of credit card debt, you may be thinking about canceling your credit card. However, by doing so, you may inadvertently lower your credit rating. Credit bureaus care about how long consumers have had active financial accounts and reward consumers who have a lengthy history. If your credit card is your oldest account on file, you may negatively impact your credit score by canceling the card. Instead, you can limit access to your credit card by freezing the account and then reactivating it once you have your balance under control.

How Long Does a Credit Card Payment Take to Process?

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