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How Long Do Credit Card Refunds Take (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 Weeks

A credit card is a modern facility that allows the credit card holder to borrow a line of credit from the concerned credit card company for one’s purchases, payments, and other obligations. As credit cards enable the user of the service to avail credit money, the borrowed amount has to be repaid usually with interest after a certain period.

Owning a credit card can help one build and maintain a good CIBIL score. The major difference between a debit card and a credit card is the fact of where the amount for the payment is being deducted. In the case of a debit card, the amount is deducted from one’s bank account whereas, in the case of a credit card, the credit card issuer pays for the transaction which the cardholder to repay on a future date.

How Long Do Credit Card Refunds Take?

Types Of RefundsDuration
Credit card refunds1 – 2 weeks
Debit card refunds2 – 5 days

Whenever one purchases any item or makes payments for any particular product or service, there are chances of making mistakes. In the case of online shopping, refunds are fairly common as the customer might not always receive what sees online. In all such circumstances, refunds come as a savior for the customer.

Refunds in layman terms mean demanding back the money which one had paid earlier for a specific item or service due to a variety of reasons like non-requirement at the time of delivery, sizing or quality issues, defects, etc. Thus, refunds ensure that the customer does not hesitate to purchase in the beginning as with the facility of refund he can always get his money back in case he thinks his purchase was a bad idea.

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Thus, when one makes a cash payment or payment from one’s bank account, the refunded money will eventually go back in the same way it was originally remitted. Hence, one might wonder how long would credit card refunds take as they would not technically be refunded to one’s bank account.

A credit card refund usually takes a longer time than debit card refunds that typically get processed in a few days. Credit card refunds could take about 2 weeks but can vary accordingly as per the merchant and credit card company held in consideration.

As a credit card is a facility that connects the credit card company and the merchant when the transaction is paid, the refunded money will also follow the same path and thus, could take weeks to successfully process the refund. Thus, depending on the efficiency of the parties involved, one can estimate how quickly credit cards refunds can get reflected.

Why Do Credit Card Refunds Take This Long?

When the credit card holder makes any transaction via his credit card, the credit card company makes the payment to the concerned merchant on the behalf of the credit cardholder. Thus, the line of credit available on the credit card of the person is reduced by the amount the company paid on his behalf for his transaction.

However, in the case of refunds, this entire process has to be reversed which would take time to get completed. Credit card networks work as intermediaries for processing the transitions between the credit card company and the merchant to whom payment is to be made by the cardholder.

When a refund of money is demanded by the customer from the merchant, the merchant has to send back the money previously received by that same customer. All types of refunds are generally sent back to the same payment mode through which they were paid. Thus, credit card refunds too will be routed back to the original payment mode.

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Hence, when a refund is initiated from the merchant’s end, it will first reach the credit card company and then it will restore the credit balance to the level it would have been if the payment to the merchant had not been made by the credit cardholder.

Thus, as the refunds do not directly get reflected in the payer’s bank account as the payment is made through a credit card which involves the credit card issuer too, this process can take time but is typically completed within 14 business days.

Conclusion

Refunds are common these days as impulse buying is on the rise. One might regret one’s purchases or it could be a genuine reason for asking for a refund. Thus, it is essential to know how long can credit card refunds could take.

The refund duration is typically based on factors like how quickly one initiates the refunds, how fast the merchant processes them, how efficient is the credit card company in posting the credit after receiving the refund, etc.

Hence, the exact time of refund for each type of transaction can not be determined with substantial accuracy but it is pertinent to note that the majority of credit card refunds take approximately 2 weeks for finalization.

References

  1. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/app.2.1.193
  2. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3098854
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