Do all banks take forever to process transactions?

If I make a purchase with my debit card on Friday, it takes two business days to show up on my online statement (i.e. it shows up on Tuesday). On any other day, it takes one business day.

I’m not even really sure why it shouldn’t take zero business days for most transactions. But what about that two-business-day thing over weekends? Is that common to all banks? Or do I just have a slow bank?

I should note when I say “show up” I mean it appears under what it calls the “processed transactions” part of the online statement. It will also have sat in the “unprocessed transactions” part from the time of purchase until it gets processed. But transactions in “unprocessed” don’t get downloaded when I download the statement, and it’s a good thing because they are occasionally (but often enough to matter) inaccurate until they get processed.

For me debit purchases show up within an hour. Credit purchases show up whenever the business gets around to batching out their machines.

My bank shows transactions immediately.

Ugh, changing banks will be a hassle. But the delay has become pretty inconvenient given I’ve begun checking the thing every night.

As completed and processed? If you download the statement, does it show the transaction?

Citibank posts right away except some gasoline station purchases, which I think is the seller’s issue not Citibank’s.

Mine shows up immediately as pending. Except for my cell phone. It shows up immediately, then disappears for two days and then finally shows up as processed.

Yes, but it’s an Australian bank.

Edit; Also it doesn’t apply to credit card transactions, they appear immediately as pending but take a day or too to show in the completed transaction history.

It depends on several factors - what bank does the business’ transaction processing and their schedule, as well as how your bank processes them. Most business favor large institutions because they promise the fastest processing and they get your money quicker.

If you’re with a small local bank, they likely outsource processing to a larger bank or financial services company and receive a transaction file at various intervals; being smaller, they likely don’t have people processing the files on weekends (sometimes not even nights). Where I worked, image processing was 3 shifts of about 50 people processing files every hour or so; a friend left to work at a small bank doing all the same tasks with two people. Changing to one of the big banks will speed things up, but they aren’t known for customer service and ease of use.

I wish there was a transcript of this podcast, which discusses the ACH system here in America, and why money transfers* take so damned long. While I don’t remember the details, it comes down to: We’re still using a system that was built around physical courier deliveries of magnetic tape back in the 1970s. Other countries have modernized the system and transfers are almost instantaneous.

  • Routine money transfers, I mean. Wire transfers are also slow (though on the order of hours, not days), but for other reasons.

I’ve personally never heard of a bank that works faster than that. I expect the weekend thing is because at least one day of that weekend is not a business day. I’ve not seen a bank that was open on Sundays yet.

I mean, in theory a bank might be handle transactions even though the main bank isn’t open, but it’s definitely not unusual for Sunday to really be a day off for that sort of thing.

I use Bank of America and almost all debit card transactions show up online immediately (as in complete). Using it as a credit card can slow down the transaction posting but I don’t do that very often.

The bank can make $36 for the first overdraft in case you forget one of your transactions and that adds up to over 55% of the banks earning powers are in over draft fee’s.

If I go to the grocery store and use my debit card (or the gas station or the tobacco store or the liquor store) and use my PIN Number, the transaction shows up on my statement immediately. If I use my card and just sign for the purchase, it is on my statement immediately, but it is listed as a Pre-Authorization Hold so the available balance is still reflected correctly. The only time it doesn’t, is at some gas stations - they’ll do a pre-authorization hold of only $1 - so if I get $20 in gas, I have to remember to back out the remaining $19 of my balance until it shows up (usually the next day).

That’s not a theory - I did various transaction processing functions in banking for over 20 years and it was always a 6-day function. We started out with Saturday as the 6th day but that meant only processing transactions done up until noon; switching to Sunday let us squeeze in everything done on Saturday.

With the debit card from my credit union, using debit, it goes through nearly instantaneously, maybe up to 5 minutes. Using credit, it takes up to two days, depending on when it is used (Friday-Sat usually two days).

I’m wondering if you’re using the debit card as a credit card?

Even with the ACH system there’s a lot of variability. When I send ACH to a client it’s an overnight process. ACH inbound, however, takes two overnights.

I’ve used a Nigerian bank for about the last 5 years. Some friends I met online deposited $2 million US dollars in it, and I’m still waiting for the deposit to show up.

It’s all done with computers, right? Why can the stock exchange clear a million transactions per second, but the bank takes 1-2 days, for every transaction, no matter what?

I can understand if I deposited a check or cash with the teller, it might take time to count the money and input records (but two days?). But if it’s just a swipe at a POS terminal or ATM, why can’t that happen at computer speeds? Minus some negligible network latencies and processing time, why doesn’t that transaction immediately update my actual balance in the actual computer system it’s stored on? What’s this “transaction processing” entail besides $PREVIOUS_BALANCE - $DEBIT = $NEW_BALANCE, which my pocket calculator from the 70s can perform instantaneously?

And that would work great if you were the only customer at your bank. :wink: Every entry point doesn’t have a live constant connection - that’d be insane to deal with. Every transaction entry is batched into a file and sent at a scheduled time, based on the bank’s desires and system requirements/capabilities. You’re getting thousands of such files a day (each with hundreds of transactions) from multiple institutions, so you try to balance the size of the files with the traffic at that time of day, processing time, etc. If every single transaction came in individually, it’d be a nightmare.

And it takes staff - they don’t just dump everything into the computer and hope for the best. All sorts of software filters look at the transactions and flag them for review based on possible fraud or compliance violations, and that takes time. Which means the days/times no one is there, the files queue until someone shows up and releases them.