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I have been in a foreign country for the last week and none of my purchases have been posted on my online banking statement and i "still have the same amount of money in my account" (put in quotes because i know it's false) that i came to the country with. does anyone know why this possibly takes so long??

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    I suspect you mean a transaction history, not a statement. Statements are typically generated only once per month, so it's not only possible but incredibly common to have a 32 day delay between transaction and its appearance on a statement. – Ben Voigt Mar 25 at 4:35
  • Are you using a credit, debit, or ATM card for these foreign expenditures? – Ben Voigt Mar 25 at 4:36
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  • Depending on which country you are in, they only collect card transactions all day, and type them in during the evening, or the weekend, or whenever they feel like, depending on their workload and their urgency in getting paid.

  • Once the transaction is electronically registered somewhere, there might be multiple steps, through different banks, payment providers, and countries, until it makes it to your account in your home country; many of them are only transacting once per day, and not on weekend days or holidays.

  • your bank might take hours or even another day to show them online

Typically, credit card transactions are completed within seconds (you can sign up for an email for every transaction, and see it ten seconds later). But it depends a lot of the business you buy something, and the country you are in.

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As I understand it.

Many countries have debit card systems that process transactions very quickly. However these systems tend to be localized to a single country or a small group of countries. So international transactions tend to be processed by the credit card networks, even if the card is a debit card.

Transactions on the credit card networks are typically split into two parts. Initially there is the "authorization", this is usually pretty fast and reserves money but does not actually transfer it. Some time later the actual payment winds it's way through the credit card and banking systems.

Depending on your on-line banking setup payments that have been authorized but haven't yet completed may not show up at all or they may show up in a separate section (my bank calls this "pending transactions").

Also some merchants may be taking payments off-line, in this case there may be a delay before your home bank sees anything at all.

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