14 Nov How long does a merchant have to charge my credit card?
Q. In May while on vacation in the Bahamas, I made a purchase on my American Express account. The charge has yet to appear on my statement. Is there a statute of limitations for retailers to submit charges to credit card companies?
A. It’s a great question.
We’re going to assume that the purchase was made through a card swipe and that you signed a receipt for the transaction.
When you make a charge on your credit card, the merchant electronically contacts the credit card processing company for authorization, said Howard Hook, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with EKS Associates in Princeton.
He said this authorization is considered pending.
“The charge moves from pending to authorized fairly quickly but could take a bit of time depending upon complexities of the transaction which could include an overseas merchant,” he said.
How long something stays in pending status varies by card processor.
“I contacted American Express who said that they will leave charge in pending status for eight days and if nothing is confirmed by merchant it will drop off,” Hook said. “They also said that the merchant, according to Federal regulations, does have one year to confirm charge even if it drops off.”
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This story was originally published on Nov. 14, 2019.
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