Keeping up with your credit card payment each month is necessary to maintain a healthy credit score, not to mention available credit on one or more cards. However, it isn’t uncommon for due dates to sneak up, creating a sense of urgency and causing people to question how long it takes for a credit card payment to go through.
Last-minute payments on credit cards still count as on-time transactions in most cases, but there are a few things to understand about the process. If you’re getting ready to make a last-minute payment to avoid a late charge or other negative consequences, here’s what you need to know about credit card payment processing times.
Credit Card Payment Processing Times
Many credit card users do not realize that making a credit card payment, either online or over the phone does not necessarily impact the account immediately.
Most credit card companies process payments over the course of a few business days as opposed to right that moment. This is because card issuers need to clear the transaction with your bank or credit union, ensuring the funds posted for the credit card payment are actually available in your bank account.
Typically, the payment you make isn’t immediately posted to either your bank account or the credit account because of this accounting requirement. This can be a little nerve-wracking when you are making a payment at the last minute before or on the due date. After all, no one wants to miss a payment and suffer the consequences.
Adding to some of the confusion around credit card payment processing times is the reality that each credit card issuer has its own timeline for posting payments to a cardholder’s account. Below are a few examples from popular credit card companies regarding payment processing timelines.
For payments made online for American Express credit cards, the company shares that one-time payments can take place immediately but the statement balance is updated within 24 to 36 hours. However, the payment may not clear the delivering bank account for four to five business days.
Online Capital One credit card payments made before 8 pm EST Monday through Saturday are posted to an account on the same day, while payments after 8 pm are posted the next business day. Any payment received after 8 pm on Saturday is posted the following Monday, with credit availability adjusted on Tuesday. The same is true for Sunday payments. Online payments for credit cards are not processed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.
Credit card payments for Discover credit cards post on the same day when they are made online before 5 pm (EST). Any payments made after 5 pm are posted to the account the next business day.
Bank of America
Cardholders making payments on Bank of America credit cards with a Bank of America checking or savings account have the payment credited the same day, so long as the payment is requested by 11:59 pm EST. However, account balances and credit availability may not be updated for two business days. Paying with an account other than a Bank of America checking or savings means the transaction posts within 24 hours, with the same two-business-day update to balances.
Payments on Citi credit cards received by midnight on a regular business day are credited to the account the same day. However, it can take one to two days for account balances to be updated. Payments sent by mail can take five to seven days to be processed, with an additional five-day delay in some cases.
Payments on Chase credit cards received by 8 pm EST are credited to the account the same day, and the transaction posts the same day. Payments received between 8 pm and 11:59 pm are credited the same day but may not be reflected in account balances until the next business day.
What Can Go Wrong with Credit Card Payments?
The biggest issue with making last-minute credit card payments is the timing of processing behind the scenes. If there is a glitch in the system or the credit card company cannot verify that funds are available for the payment amount, a payment may not be received in time to count for on-time payment.
Fortunately, most credit card issuers accept payments at any time online, making last-minute payments on the weekend or a holiday a non-issue. Just note that while the payment may be credited to your account, it may not be reflected in credit line availability or minimum payment balances until one or more business days after the weekend or holiday.
Are You Charged Interest While the Payment Is in Process?
Typically, you are only charged interest after the grace period of your credit card billing cycle ends. This may mean that the balance that remains unpaid incurs a finance charge based on the total amount outstanding and your interest rate.
However, because most credit card issuers credit your account with your payment the same day, you are not charged interest for that timeframe on the amount you submitted as payment. If your payment is ultimately late, you may be charged a late fee, as well as incur a penalty APR for paying after the due date.