Definition and Examples of a Credit Card Post Date
The credit card post date is the date a transaction is applied to your account balance. In other words, it's when the card issuer has processed the transaction and recorded it on your account.
Charges that have been approved by the issuer may show up right away as “pending,” but not be included in your balance. On the other hand, some credit card issuers do show your balance adjusted for pending transactions. Either way, if the transaction doesn't have a post date, it's still processing.
For instance, if you purchase groceries on October 8, you'll see a pending or pre-authorized charge in your online transaction history right away. The credit card issuer has already received some information about the transaction for authorization, but is still waiting for the merchant to submit the transaction for payment.
Once the transaction is sent to the credit card issuer for payment to the merchant, the transaction posts to your account. That date is the credit card post date. The purchase amount is added to your credit card balance at this time.
How Does a Credit Card Post Date Work?
Because of the way credit card transactions are processed, it may take a few days for transactions to post to your account. When you swipe your card or make an online purchase, the business authorizes the transaction by checking with your card issuer to make sure the card is valid and the funds are available.
Then, as long as you haven't canceled the transaction, the merchant asks the credit card issuer to send funds for the purchase. Unlike credit card authorization, this process, referred to as payment settlement, doesn't happen in real time. Instead, batches of transactions are sorted out between the merchant, credit card processors, and your credit card issuer, typically at the end of each day.
Finally, a few days later, your credit card issuer finishes processing the transaction and posts it to your account. That date is the credit card post date. It could take several days for online purchases to post to your account. Some transactions won't post to your account until the item you purchased is shipped.
You won't accrue interest on transactions that are pending and haven't been posted yet. Pending transactions also won't affect your outstanding credit card balance. The credit card post date can, however, affect the amount of interest you pay, particularly when your card issuer uses your daily balance to calculate your finance charge. You may not owe interest on new purchases if you pay in full before the grace period ends.
With cash advances, interest begins accruing as of the credit card post date.
Unlike payments and purchases, which post in a few days, a balance transfer can take several weeks to post to your account. Because of this, it's wise to keep making payments on the pending transaction until the date the transfer is completed and posted.
If you have concerns about a purchase—for example, you were charged the wrong amount—you have a small window of time to have the business void the transaction and correct it. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until it's posted to your account to dispute it with your credit card issuer. The Fair Credit Billing Act gives you 60 days to dispute a charge.
Post Date vs. Payment Posting Date
Although similar sounding, a credit card post date and payment posting date are two different things. Whereas “credit card post date” refers to transactions you make, such as purchases, balance transfers, or cash advances, the payment posting date corresponds to when and how your credit card payments are applied to your account. The policies surrounding the two dates may be very different.
Credit card payments may be posted the same or next day, depending on the timing of your payment and your card issuer's policies. For example, if your credit card issuer posts payments made before 5 p.m. in the time zone indicated on the bill on the same business day, a payment made at 6 p.m. on your due date may not post to your account until the next day.
In addition, your credit card issuer may credit a payment to your account before it has been posted, but your available credit may not increase until after the payment is posted.
- The credit card post date is the date a transaction is fully processed and applied to your credit card account.
- Because of the credit card processing timeline, it can take several days for a credit card transaction to post.
- A credit card post date for transactions is different from a payment post date.