A credit balance refund applies when you have a negative credit card balance. You may need to apply for a credit balance refund for several reasons.
There are several methods to apply for a credit refund as well. As such, a negative credit card balance does not affect your credit score. As an alternative, you can utilize the negative balance instead of applying for a refund as well.
Let us discuss what is a credit balance refund, reasons, and methods to apply for it.
What is a Credit Balance Refund?
A credit balance refund is a process to receive funds against the negative balance on your credit card account.
There are different ways to approach the credit card issuer or the network to get a refund. The refund will only occur when the transaction has resolved all issues.
The negative balance may occur due to several reasons as discussed below. If it is a temporary transaction or an error, you are unlikely to receive a refund.
Once the transaction dispute is resolved and the balance is confirmed in your credit account, you can apply for a refund. There are several methods to apply for a refund.
How Long Does It Take to Receive a Refund?
It depends on the refund process, as there are several parties involved in a disputed transaction. However, once the negative balance in your credit account is confirmed, you can expect to receive the amount in 3-5 business days.
If you have requested the refund in your checking account, it shouldn’t take long. However, if the amount is significant and you requested through a check, it may take longer than an electronic funds transfer.
What is a Credit Card Negative Balance?
A credit card negative balance occurs when a credit card account owes money to its customer. It can happen due to several reasons. Transaction reversals and cancellations are prime reasons behind negative credit card balances.
Usually, when customers spend money through credit cards, they owe money to credit card issuers. Most of the customers pay their bills in installments. Some of the customers opt to settle their bills in full within the allowed period at 0% APR.
In some cases, when a customer has settled the full amount of the credit card bills, it may receive a reversal or canceled transaction amount. The amount will show as a negative balance on the credit card statement of the customer.
There are several reasons why a negative balance appears on a credit card.
This is the most common reason for a negative balance on a credit card. Many customers return purchased items due to damaged goods or bad quality. The reversal may take time from the seller’s side and through to the credit card issuer.
Similarly, canceled online transactions such as flight or hotel bookings can result in a negative balance as well.
Fraudulent Charge Reversal
If you detected and reported fraudulent activity on your credit card, you can get that transaction canceled. If you had already paid the bills in full, the reversal transaction may result in a negative balance as well.
Overpayment or Double Payment of Bills
Most customers pay their credit card bills through fund transfers from their checking accounts. Sometimes they send a check by mail as well. It may result in double or overpayment of credit card bills that can result in a negative balance.
Errors in Statement
In some rare cases, the credit card statement may include some errors as well. For instance, a credit card statement may show bank charges or commission that wasn’t supposed to be on the billing line.
If you opt to convert your credit card rewards into cash, it may arrive at a time when you had zero credit balance. In that case, the transaction will result in a negative balance as well.
Should You Request a Refund Immediately?
A negative balance on your credit card statement does not harm your credit history. Also, it does not offer any benefit to you.
A negative balance is shown as zero on your credit history. Your bank or the credit card issuer does not report the negative balance to any of the credit score bureaus.
In some ways, a negative balance may give you a little benefit. If you make an immediate purchase, it can reduce the total outstanding bill. It can also help you in credit utilization.
In short, it does not harm if you apply for an immediate credit balance refund or not.
How to Get a Credit Balance Refund?
You’ll need to make a formal request to get a credit balance refund in most cases. If there was an error from the credit card issuer, it might get resolved automatically. However, you should opt for the safer route here.
There are several methods to apply for a credit balance refund.
Through Credit Card Issuer
One of the easiest and direct methods to get a credit balance refund is by contacting the credit card issuer. It can be your bank, financial agency, or any other financial institution.
Every credit card issuer has its own procedures. Some of them allow an application in-person, by email, or through the mail. You may need to present transaction dispute evidence here as well.
Through a Credit Card Network
Another way of handling the negative balance is by contacting the credit card network directly. You can use the same mediums to contact the network such as by mail, email, or by phone.
In the case of the supplementary card, the master cardholder can contact the network on behalf of the minor applicant as well.
Using a Third-Party App
You may have applied for a credit card through a financial agency or a financial application. In that case, it is wiser to apply for the refund through the same medium as well.
Also, there are credit recovery and management third-party platforms that specialize in disputed transaction handling.
Spending the Negative Balance
An easier and useful alternative to applying for a credit balance refund is to spend the negative balance.
You can use the negative balance to make new purchases directly. Else, you can wait until a monthly bill or subscription expense occurs on your credit card statement. Either way, your negative balance can be adjusted against the new expense.
Consequences of Negative Balance
As discussed earlier, a negative credit card balance has no effects on your credit history or credit score. Thus, there are no negative implications of having a negative balance on your credit card.
In some situations, you may end up with a large negative balance. For instance, if your travel agent charged you $ 6,000 instead of $ 600. It means your negative balance will be $ 5,400 after the transaction is reversed as it may take time to reverse the transaction.
In such scenarios, it is wise to apply for an immediate refund. Also, it is important to keep an eye on the credit card statement to keep it clean to build a good credit score.