How Long Does It Take to Process a Refund?

How long does it take to process a refund? If you want to get your money soon for any reason, keep in mind it may takes several business days to process.

It doesn’t matter what you want to refund. It could be a subscription, a product, a credit card, or your taxes. We’ve covered them all here.

The Fastest Way to Get Refunded

The Fastest Way to Get Refunded

If someone can directly process the refund for you, it may only take a few minutes. That means:

  • You contact the seller/customer-support employee by phone and confirm the refund
  • You go to a physical store with the item. You show them your receipt/ refund guarantee, and they give you the money back

For online refunds, things take a bit longer. You might, for example, qualify for refunds with payment platforms like Paypal. But 3rd parties have limited control of what you can get back.

The seller is responsible for issuing refunds, and the intermediary can’t process them without their consent. So depending on their decision and how long they take to reply, that’s what your refund will take.

A seller can choose not to give back your money even if you qualify. The 3rd-party payment company can limit their accounts, but that still doesn’t guarantee you get back the money.

Having that in mind, here’s how long it takes after all parties approve the refund:

Credit Card Refunds

Unlike debit cards, credit cards take a few business days to process payments. You also get a 25-day grace period, in case you want to undo a purchase.

The credit card bank will notify the refund to the seller. And once they approve it, you get the money in 3-7 business days.

Mind that you can’t recover 100% of your purchase expenses:

  • You revert any cashback rewards you got from that purchase
  • The seller may exclude fees from the order
  • If you used credit to pay for it, you still owe that interest at the end of the year

For the most part, it’s easy to contact your card issuer. As long as it’s an emergency (unauthorized transactions, for example), they reply fast.

In case you want something faster, you might want to learn more about credit card chargebacks.

Online Store Refunds

First, you want to make sure the store is legit. Because if it’s not, nothing of what you see is real.

A scammer could copy a famous website or create a fake store. The people who visit it and buy think they’re buying from a business. You can buy stuff and there’s a 30-day-guarantee label, but it may not be true.

You simply pay the “seller,” who then disappears with your money. When will you get refunded? Never.

As for legit stores, it shouldn’t take more than a week. You either message them through their site (with an account) or you send them an email. They will read it after one business day if they aren’t on vacation. And your money will be back in 3-5 days.

Now, refunds may not be what you expect. Some sellers don’t just let the money leave their business. So you get gift cards or store credits instead, which are only valid for articles in their store.

Annoying? Maybe. Many stores use these as a way to protect themselves against refund fraud.

Nobody can do anything if they properly disclosed it before, so make sure you learn about their refund policy before you buy.

Tax Refunds

Not everybody likes paying taxes, let alone paying way too many. The IRS won’t always tell you if you overpaid, but you can check your tax refund status on government sites like this one.

Here, you can see the tax return you filed, and how much you were supposed to send. If you paid more than necessary, you can apply for a tax refund.

After the IRS approves it, you should get the amount in your bank account within 21 days. In case you choose a repayment via check, expect a few extra weeks for the delivery.

Also, your tax refund may delay depending on when you filed your report.

Lastly, keep an eye on IRS imposter scams. The Internal Revenue Service will rarely threaten or contact you online. There’s no way to get refunded for fraud, so stay informed.

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