Have you ever made your credit card payment, then eagerly waited for the payment to be applied to your account? Maybe you needed to clear up some available credit for a large payment or you're hoping to reduce your balance for a credit report update.
Both the timing and method of your credit card payment affect how quickly the payment is applied to your account.
The amount of time it takes for a payment to post to your credit card account depends on how you pay, when you pay, your credit card issuer, and your bank.
Which Payments Post Faster?
Electronic payments made online or by phone on a business day and during business hours will post to your credit card account faster than a mailed check. With electronic payments, you don’t have to wait for the mail to reach your credit card issuer.
Since payment posting and processing times can vary by the credit card issuer, the best way to figure out when your credit card payment will post to your account is to contact your credit card issuer. They’ll be able to give you a precise answer. If you already have a pending payment, your card issuer can let you know when you can expect that payment to post to your account and reflect in your available credit.
When Will an Online or Phone Payments Post to Your Account?
While electronic payments are faster, they’re not instant. It can take 1 to 3 business days for an online or phone payment to post to your credit card account and reflect in your available credit. That’s because payments made using a checking account and routing number are processed in batches overnight and not in real time. Payments made on Friday nights or over the weekend may not post to your account until the following business week.
After you've made your payment, you can call or check your online account to see whether the payment has posted, along with your current balance and available credit.
When Will a Mailed Payment Post to Your Account?
Mailed credit card payments take the longest to post to your account. The credit card payment has to be delivered to your credit card issuer. Then, the payment processing center has to open up hundreds of envelopes, retrieve payments, and post the payments to each account.
Increased mail volume and postal holidays can delay mailed payments around holidays. Make sure you consider this when you mail a credit card payment.
Linked Checking and Credit Card Accounts
If your credit card is linked to your checking account, that is both accounts are with the same bank, your credit card payment will post to your account the same day. This is the case with Bank of America, for example. As long as the funds are available in your checking account, of course.
Payment Posting vs. Timely Payments
Even though your credit card payment may not reflect in your available credit immediately, as long as you submit the payment information online (or by phone) by the cut off time on the due date, your payment will be considered on time. However, if the payment is returned by your bank, for example, because you don't have enough money in your account, you’ll be charged a returned check fee up to $40.
Freeing Up Credit in a Certain Timeframe
To guarantee your payment posts to your account by a certain date, it’s better to make the payment a few days before you need the available credit. Or, if you need a certain amount of credit available to make a purchase, contact your credit card issuer to ask that a phone payment post to your account right away.
When you need additional credit for a larger purchase, you might also consider asking for a credit limit increase. You may qualify if you’ve used your credit card responsibly, you have a good credit history, your income can support a bigger credit limit, and it’s been enough time since your last credit limit increase. Alternatively, your credit card issuer may allow you to temporarily exceed your credit limit for the purchase, especially if you’ve already made a payment that’s waiting to post to your account.