Published on November 20th, 2017 | by Chuck11
Reminder: Give Yourself Extra Time for Online Purchases to Post
There are lots of deals and credits we use which are time-limited deals with an expiration date. Examples include credit card signup bonus, Amex Offer deals, credit card travel credits, and credit card quarterly bonus categories. We wrote about this some time ago in the post Online Credit Card Purchases – Transaction Date and Post Date which is worth a read.
With year-end coming this begins to matter more, and a reader asked for a review. In this post, we’ll try to rehash the details briefly for people with limited time or attention spans.
The most important distinction is between swiped transactions and online transactions. Swiped transactions should show the transaction date being the day of the swipe. That’s the date that should count for most things. There have been examples of banks/merchants who don’t show swiped transactions on the same date so it’s not a guarantee – always worth going an extra day or two when possible. (Credit card travel credits are also an exception, as discussed below.)
Online transactions are trickier: even when you see an instant pending charge, for some reason that’s not always the purchase date shown on the card. For example, if you make an online order on 12/31/17 and you see a charge pending instantly, it might show up on the card statement as a transaction date of 1/1/18 and a posting date of 1/2/17. (See real-world examples here.) Even worse, sometimes the merchant won’t run the card immediately at all, especially if it’s a smaller merchant or it’s done on non-business days. Always leave yourself a few days to spare.
Let’s run a brief review of various deals:
- Amex Offers It used be people had problems with offers done near the end of the deal. We haven’t heard of this recently, and my understanding is that Amex has now built-in some sort of buffer to account for this. Hopefully that means you can even do online Amex Offers at the last minute and still get credit, just be aware the official terms aren’t on your side in case it doesn’t go as planned.
- Quarterly Categories These are often swiped in-store. For online purchases, give a few days leeway or risk not getting the rewards.
- Credit Card Signup Bonuses In these cases there could be real money/rewards at stake, never leave it to the end. That said, some banks unofficially give a few days leeway, notably Chase, Citi, and Amex. Again, these should go with the swipe date. For online purchases give a few days leeway.
- Credit Card Travel Credits First make sure to figure out which date each travel credit uses as it varies a lot; we dedicated an entire post to reviewing how it works on each card. Also note that travel credits work differently than all other deals with regards to swipe date versus post date. While everything else goes with the swipe date for in-person transactions, many travel credits will go with the Post Date since they calculate it based on statement closing. Chase and Citi will go with the Post Date, and online transactions might even need extra days beyond that. Amex will probably go with the transaction date for swiped purchases.