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It's the day your credit card payment is due. You log into your online account, submit the payment ... and that's it, right? But wait, why aren't the funds showing as debited from your bank account? And why hasn't your available credit limit changed?
The time delay between when a credit card payment is submitted and when that payment gets processed might be confusing and a bit stressful, especially if you want to avoid late fees, and even if you're just looking to free up some available credit or get your budget balanced. If your bank account and your credit card account are with the same bank, that digital transaction usually happens almost instantly. But if your payment account and your card issuer are at separate institutions, you can generally expect the transaction to take up to three business days after you submit a payment digitally — and longer if you're paying by mail.
Here's what to know about how long credit card payments take to post to your account, and what you need to do to ensure on-time payment.
Credited vs. processed: What’s the difference?
If you're paying digitally (online or via app), the good news is your credit card payment only needs to be submitted — not processed — by the due date to be considered on time. So while it can take up to three days for a digital credit card payment to be processed, that doesn’t mean that you have to make that payment days before your due date.
Your payment is credited when the credit card issuer acknowledges that you’ve made the payment. As long as you make your digital payment by 5 p.m. on a business day, your payment should be credited that same day. If you make a digital payment after 5 p.m., it may be credited the next business day.
Your credit card payment is processed when the transaction is complete and your issuer has received the funds from your bank account. Again, that can be instant or take up to three business days, depending on where the money is coming from for the payment. You’ll know the processing is complete when you see the funds removed from your bank account and when your available credit limit changes to reflect the payment.
Though almost all issuers accept payment via mail, it can be more difficult to control the timing of such payments. A mailed payment must be received by the issuer by 5 p.m. on your due date to be properly credited. Then, it may take five to seven business days to be processed. When possible, paying electronically or by phone will help to ensure on-time payment and reduce processing time.
Tips to ensure your credit card payment processes quickly
Although the time it takes for your credit card payment to post to your account doesn't impact things like late fees or your payment history, there are other reasons cardholders may be eager for a payment to post quickly. For example, you may be looking to free up some available credit on your card or to simply ensure that you'll have sufficient funds in your bank account at the time the payment is processed. Ultimately, only your bank and your credit card issuer can determine how long your credit card payment will take to process. But there are a few steps you can take that may help speed things along.
Pay electronically. As noted above, payments submitted through your credit card issuer’s website or mobile app will process more quickly than payments sent by mail.
Pay early in the week. Though this depends on the issuer, some payments are processed only on weekdays. That means a payment made over the weekend — or at 4:59 p.m. on a Friday — may take longer to process. Making your credit card payment early in the week will help you avoid a weekend processing delay.
Ensure funds are available. If you issue a payment from a bank account that has insufficient funds, that will obviously cause a delay in payment. Before you make your credit card payment, ensure that you have enough funds available in your bank account, and/or that you're taking into account any payments that may not have been fully processed yet.
What to do if your credit card payment is delayed
If it's been a few days and you haven't seen funds removed from your bank account, there are some steps you can take. First, think about whether a weekend or federal holiday could be delaying processing time. Next, log into your credit card's online account and make sure the payment was actually submitted. Once you rule out a clerical error, it may be worth making a call to your bank to ask about the processing delay.
For the most part, though, if your credit card issuer is having trouble processing your payment, they will reach out to you — and as long as the payment has been credited, you won’t incur penalties. In the meantime, simply make sure the allocated funds remain available in your bank account. The two financial institutions will take care of the rest.