How Long Does a Debit Card Refund Take? – Debit Card Return Policy

If you are a credit card owner, you certainly had some credit or debit card refund. Even if you bought clothes, you got some money refund after giving up on the product.

cash back refund from debit card

What is a credit card refund?

A credit card refund represents a process where a merchant sends money from their bank account to their credit card account equal to the original purchase amount.

Financial transactions and related monetary dealings have also come under the influence of technology. Internet banking and regular cash withdrawal or deposits have significantly improved with tech-savvy services and gadgets, making them highly accessible and convenient. Plastic money, such as credit and debit cards, cash withdrawals, and fund deposits, has allowed users to save ample time without being physically present. Fund transactions and wire transfers are now an essential and integral part of online banking services, regularly facilitating millions of account holders. It is safe to admit that credit cards and debit cards have replaced conventional banking; however, if you are looking for a refund from purchases made through debit cards, it may take up to several days to retrieve them.

In the previous article, we wrote about checking whether my debit card is active. Now, let us see how a refund on a credit card work:

How does a refund on a credit card work?

The credit card return policy represents the following process:

  • You make a purchase.
  • Money will be instantly transferred from your bank account to the merchant bank account.
  • You contact the merchant and request a refund for that purchase.
  • The merchant sends money equal to the amount of the original purchase.
  • You receive credit on your account from the merchant.

You can ask for a refund if you have purchased an item and paid with a debit card. If the item purchased is not the right size or not according to your likeness, then you can get a refund of the payment made through a debit card after several working days. Depending on the bank, the processing time for the compensation would take up to seven business days and a minimum of three days. The payment to the merchandiser gets processed immediately; however, the same cannot be said regarding a refund. It takes a while for the cash to reflect in the retailer account, making it lengthy and slow. The cash transfer is only practical when the merchant or the retailer reflects some money in their account. In addition to the purchase, you may immediately require a refund in cash transactions, which you have not authorized; however, you cannot acquire the amount instantly. The reimbursement cash depends on the Electronica Fund Transfer Act, which has established ten working days to process and evaluate the cash upfront. Therefore if you are paying through debit cards, you need to be mindful of sanctioning cash transactions to avoid future discrepancies and complications.

To learn more about Visa debit cards and how to check balances, you can read more in our article on how to check visa debit card balances.

How long does it take for a refund to go back to your debit card?

Generally, the debit card refund is 5 to 10 business days. Usually, the average debit card refund time frame is 7 days, and the best-case scenario is 2 to 3 days. Debit card refund time depends on the merchant and bank behavior.

Nimblefreelancer made a small case study (small sample) to measure how long a debit card refund takes for major US banks. We collect the following information:

Visa gift card issuerWhere to check your Visa Gift card balance
Visa Vanilla Gift Cards
Gift Card Mall
Commerce Bank
Navy Federal

The table above shows that the average time for a debit card refund is two days from the moment the merchant agrees to refund the money. Usually, the biggest obstacle to a fast refund is weekend days. If you try to withdraw money on Friday or ask for a refund, weekend days do not count, and you need to wait a few days more.

The data we got from our users that use Cash App and various merchants and banks. Please check our article Where Can I Load My Cash App Card to learn how and where you can load your Cash App.

The debit card purchase involves the transfer of funds from your account to the retailer. The money from your account is deposited into the merchant account, so you cannot request an immediate refund. Since the moved cash is no longer present in your account, the repayment must be picked up through proper channels, which may consume a few working days. You need to contact the retailer and request a refund to commence the process. If the request is accepted, the merchant will refund the cardholder through the bank used during the purchase. Before contacting the bank, the retailer needs to be contacted first if the bank credits the funds to your account, which takes several days. This route is used if the retailer accepts to return the refund; however, you can consult your financial institute and file for a dispute when the merchant does not cooperate.

Depending on the retailer and the parcel, they need to track it upon reception manually. The refund may take some time for the retailer. If the merchant gives a green signal after verifying the return policy, they will issue a reimbursement plan through their payment processor. There are third parties involved which further delays the refund process. The payment processor receives the request of the retailer to issue a refund which will contact the issuer bank to withhold money and credit it to the purchaser account or the acquiring bank. Once the result has been cleared from the merchant processor) The bank will take up the responsibility and credit the refund from the merchant to your account. The typical days of refund are about three working days, but the average may fluctuate depending on the bank’s solvency. The same policy and rules are also applied to purchasing credit cards.

The money is not directly credited to the merchant account when the retailer makes the payment. Instead, this is a part of an authorized transaction meaning the account holder has granted permission to the merchant to deduct the set amount from your issuing bank. The payment processor is a part of the payment network that deals with and authorizes payments made from and to the merchant. They process the money and send it back to the acquiring bank. The processing network involves the issuing bank and a visa, and MasterCard.

Can I get a refund on a different debit card?

No, getting a refund on a different credit card, debit card, or any other bank account except the original payment account used in a charge is not possible. However, if your bank account is closed, you can arrange to receive your funds with your bank.

Frauds and refunds

You also need to know the difference between regular and fraudulent refunds. A debit card fraud entails using the card by someone else who is not a part of the authorization. A fraud charge is also considered if you have not performed any business or purchased any item with a merchant. However, if you have signed up for a free trial provided by your bank or deliberately lent your card to someone you know, then it is not considered an activity of fraud. Whether you have become a victim of fraudulent financial activity, the bank will credit the same amount to your account, simultaneously investigating the scam. However, it is your responsibility to notify the bank regarding the fraud you have experienced. Failure to do so you will be asked to pay $50 or even more.

If you are filing for fraud, you need to arrange the required documents to catalyze the process of fraud investigation or filing for a dispute. Avoid sending the documents again to the bank; therefore, it is necessary to double-check the paperwork before submission. If you are filing for an argument, you need to prepare the invoices, confirmation emails, and the cancellation token to back up your claim.

You can also use other reliable financial platforms such as Pay Pal Our credit cards to prevent fraud. Regardless of the reason, you have the complete authority to refund an item purchased at any retail store. They are considered a necessary part of the shopping process, and the shoppers must ensure that their required refund is given to them within the due time. If the cash refund takes more than 10 days, then you should contact the bank manager or financial institution if you need any assistance regarding the refund process.


Debit card refunds can take anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks, depending on the merchant and bank. Most businesses process refunds within five to 10 business days, but some can take up to two weeks. If there is an issue with the refund, it could take even longer. Your bank may also have a different timeline for issuing refunds. Generally, the best-case scenario is that the refund shows up on your account within two to three business days.

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith is an experienced economist and financial analyst from Utah. He has been in finance for nearly two decades, having worked as a senior analyst for Wells Fargo Bank for 19 years. After leaving Wells Fargo Bank in 2014, Daniel began a career as a finance consultant, advising companies and individuals on economic policy, labor relations, and financial management. At, Daniel writes about personal finance topics, value estimation, budgeting strategies, retirement planning, and portfolio diversification. Read more on Daniel Smith's biography page. Contact Daniel:

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