I purchased an item which the merchant then refunded to my credit card. However, the payment due date is coming up, and my credit card has still not been credited with the refund on my credit card statement.

What can I do to avoid paying for the item that I was already refunded for?

  • 2
    There are rules and time-frames the merchants have to follow when it comes to refunds. I assume they are within their bounds, but could you mention the time period of when you purchased, and when you were promised a refund?
    – MrChrister
    Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 23:56

3 Answers 3


The refund transactions can take a few days to take effect depending on the merchant's agreement with their bank and the bank's systems. You should check with the merchant to confirm that the refund has been issued and check with your credit card provider to see if the refund has been received yet and if not how long it might take.

Regarding the payment of your credit card bill it is your responsibility to pay it on time if you do not want to be penalised with interest and/or fees for late payment. If you think that the refund will not be received in time for your due payment you should pay the amount yourself.

  • 11
    Understand that a credit card balance can be negative; if you zero the balance and then the refund comes in, the balance will go negative in the amount of the refund; that money's yours and will be applied to any future purchases you make, or if the card is closed (subject to the cardholder agreement) you'll get a check for the debit balance.
    – KeithS
    Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 15:32
  • 1
    You can often also call the card's customer service number to request a check be sent without having to close the card, if you're still at a negative balance. Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 20:28

I have run across the issue where the return for credit comes during the grace period. For example the statement closes on the 4th with a balance of $1000, and the payment is due the 25th. If an $300 item is returned on the 10th I can see it on the credit card website, but the amount due is still $1000 not the hoped for $700.

Most of the time any return credits have been a small percentage of the total bill, and I have paid the higher amount. In one case I did contact the bank to clarify the amount I had to pay. I was told to:

  • Don't make the payment late, that will trigger fees and can change the interest rate.
  • Make sure that the payment exceeds the minimum amount on the statement. Failure to pay the expected minimum can trigger fees.
  • If the goal is to pay the balance each month in full then pay the billed amount minus the credit but then round up to the nearest $10.

Keep in mind if you use the card regularly the balance is never zero. If you use the card between the closing date and the due date, you will still have a balance on the day your payment is processed.

  • "...a balance of $1000, and the payment is due the 25th. If an $300 item is returned on the 10th I can see it on the credit card website, but the amount due is still $1000 not the hoped for $700." Are you sure about the amount due being $1000? I think that as long as the total amount received by the card company by the due date of the 25th, whether as (cash) payment by card holder or as a return credit from a merchant, equals the balance due ($1000), no fee or charge of any kind is triggered. Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 14:00
  • I called to get clarification, the bill in my hand said $1000, the webpage said $1000. I wanted to confirm the amount they were expecting. Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 15:08
  • Yes, Dilip, the balance at statement closing is a snapshot of the bill amount due. It doesn't change for anything. When I pay the bill infill, the "min payment" is zeroed out, but that "last statement balance" is still the same as the paper one. Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 16:41
  • @JoeTaxpayer I read my current credit card agreement and it matches what you and mhoran_psprep state: merchant credits reduce current purchases but not the last statement balance which must still be paid in full by the Due Date to avoid finance charges. It didn't used to be that way about 20 years ago (and yes, being a pack rat, I still have that agreement filed away). Curiously, the current agreement says that a payment that makes the total balance negative can be refused by the credit card company, so that if the current charges are $100 and there is a merchant credit of $300 ... Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 11:46
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    ...the credit card company is entitled to refuse the timely payment of the last statement balance in full payment since it would make the total balance negative! Nice Catch-22 there! Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 11:47

I'm sorry to sound like I'm repeating myself, but "did you call the card issuer?" They may go either way, if they see the credit, they'll tell you the balance you need to pay to avoid interest, or if the credit hadn't hit, they may tell you to pay in full. As Victor stated, since at any moment my balance is greater than zero, even when paying in full each month, I just pay the bill, and see credits hit next month.

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