Why Don't Credits for Returned Merchandise Post Immediately on a Debit Card?

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Debit card purchases are fast. You buy something, the business swipes your card and your bank account balance goes down. Processing a refund often takes longer, because the retailer -- and your bank -- want to double-check that you're not trying to get something for nothing. Even if someone used your card illegally, it may several days before the bank accepts that you deserve a refund.

Challenges Ahead

Your bank can tell you how long it will take to process the refund. The bank can't, however, just take the money from the merchant's account: you need to start by going to the retailer and asking for a refund. If the retailer won't give you a credit -- the store doesn't do refunds for what you bought, for instance -- your bank can't help. If you do get a refund, call the bank's customer service if your account isn't credited.