How Long Does It Take for a Credit Card Payment to Process?

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Person insert a credit card into a machine - How Long Does It Take for a Credit Card Payment to Process.

When you set up your merchant account you may want to know a few things. One of those is how long it takes to completely process a credit card payment. This will be vital information for not only you but your customers. The first thing you must understand when answering this question is the process that the card payment goes through. So, in this article, we are going to go over the multiple options when it comes to credit card payment processing and eventually the time frames for completion.

Different Processes

There are two different types of processing that your business can use. Below we will give a quick overview of each.

Batch Processing

This process is usually done at closing and is where the credit card payment information us store throughout the day. Then through the closing process, the info is sent to the processing company which in turn sends it to the issuing bank.

Real-time Processing

This process uses internet connections to do the same process in real-time. This process will take away the need for understanding the length of time the process takes to clear,

Steps of Credit Card Payment Processing

Understanding the steps of processing will help you understand why it takes so long for the complete cycle to complete. This will help you be able to have better customer service regarding answering the frequent questions. This will also help with customer service regarding reruns too. All in all, understanding the process and the time frame it takes will help you run your business more smoothly both on the front end and the back end.


This is the part of the process where you the merchant gets authorization and approval from the cards issuing bank. At the POS your customer will swipe or insert their card allowing you’re the merchant to send the details of the transaction to the bank. The bank will then make sure that the cardholder has enough money or credit line to complete the purchase.


Now that they have authorized the transaction and authenticates all the necessary information they then approve or decline the purchase. This then will return to your system approval and authentication that you may complete the transaction.


Then at the end of the night when you close out your POS system the credit purchase is batched and sent to the issuing bank account for clearing and settlement. Most companies do it this way to save money and allow freedom for their staff to concentrate on what is important. This process can take several days (that is unless you have opted for real-time processing). Once it is completed you the merchant will receive the final payment less any charges. This is also when the charge will appear on your customer’s account statement.

With the beginning steps of this process taking a mere second, it is the final section of the process that requires such a lengthy amount of time. Now that we understand the full cycle of the payment process just how long does it take to complete?

How Long Does It Take?

Every retail worker has had to deal with customers asking why or when the charge will appear on their statement. It is also important to know how long questions answer for your bottom line as well.  Most processing is usually completed between 24 and 48 hours. The process itself is done within 24 but it may take up to an extra day for it to show on your statement as well as the customers. This is dying to the connection and speed of the issuing bank’s system.

The lag in completion could cause issues with the return process and the accounting process as well. Though some systems maybe work more rapidly than others the typical length of time is as well said 24-48 hours.

So, what if you use real-time processing? As you can imagine this limits the amount of time it takes to settle and clear the process completely. This method allows for almost instantaneous clearing of the transaction. This method does offer this as great pus but will mean that you must have more hardware and software and a reliable connection.

Final Thoughts

So now you have an idea of how long this process takes. By understanding the overall process and the reasons why each step takes as long as it does. This will help you make many decisions regarding running your business swell as offer heightened customer service.


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