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

by Fraser Sherman
If you return an item, the purchase money may take a while to be credited to your account.

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.

About the Author

A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.

Photo Credits

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