If you are near your credit limit, you may be watching for your credit card payment to post, so that you have the amount freed up for you to use.

You could also be wondering about when your card issuer has to acknowledge your payment and post it to your account. The variety of payment methods available to consumers, with their varying speeds of transmission, can create a bit of confusion. So how long does it actually take for a credit card payment to post?

Truth in Lending Act governs card payments

Your card issuer has to follow the directives of the Truth in Lending Act in regards to when it should post your card payment. It must send your card statement so you get it at least 21 days before your payment is due.  This law sets out that your due date should be the same each month. Your issuer could set it for the same date each month, such as the seventh day of the month, or set it as the last day of each month.

And the bank should set the cutoff time to receive your payment as 5 p.m. or later. However, if you make an in-person payment at a branch that has an earlier closing time than 5 p.m., you would have to pay before that branch closes for the day for the payment to be considered on time.

In case your payment due date falls on a federal holiday or over the weekend, the issuer should consider a mailed payment received by the cutoff time on the next business day as a timely payment that does not incur a fine. However, if you choose to make an electronic or phone payment and your bank accepts such payments on the due date, you would have to get it in by the due date’s cutoff time.

If your card issuer receives your payment in a timely manner, it should be credited on the same business day. If you make your payment after the cutoff time, the bank should credit it the next business day. However, if the bank does not charge you a finance fee or other charge as a result, it could delay crediting your payment.

Follow the issuer requirements for card payments

Card issuers also could set up their own requirements for making payments. For instance, they could say that you should include your account number with your payment. They could specify that payments be made to a particular address.

In case you don’t follow the issuer’s specific requirements but the bank does accept your payment, it would have to post your payment within five days of receiving it.

And if the issuer promotes any specific method for making payments, a payment made through this channel would be considered a conforming payment. The issuer would have to credit it, according to the rules, on the day it receives the payment if it is received in a timely manner.

If the bank has made any significant changes to the way it processes your payment or the address for receiving the payment, and this change causes a delay in its crediting your payment in the 60-day period following the change, it shouldn’t impose a finance charge or fine for this delay.

Things to remember when paying your credit card bill

The Federal Trade Commission has some advice on this front as well. For one, if you are paying by mail and you have lost your payment envelope, try to find the payment address on your billing statement or contact your issuer to get the right address.

If your account is set on autopay, consider that the minimum payment due tends to vary each month. You would also need to have enough money in your account to cover this payment.

Even though a bank is required to post your payment following the Truth in Lending Act rules, it need not free up the available credit immediately. It could delay making the credit available to you in some circumstances.

However, in that case it can’t charge you a fee for going over your credit limit, even if you have opted into this feature.

The bottom line

Precise processing times vary by issuer, but call your credit card company if you’re curious about a pending payment. In general, it is safe to assume that most credit card companies process electronic payments in one to two business days. However, don’t fret if it is taking a bit longer, especially if you’ve submitted your payment on time and you have sufficient funds in your checking account.