You made a purchase but had a change of heart? Eagerly awaiting the refund so you can splurge on something new?
Luckily most refunds are processed in three to five working days, although the exact time frame depends on the merchant and your bank.
Scroll down to find out what time do refunds go into bank accounts and what are your legal rights as a consumer when it comes to getting money back from online merchants.
The amount of time it takes for a refund to be processed in the UK depends on several factors, including the payment method, the merchant and your bank.
You are refunded in the same way you paid for the item or service. In other words, if you paid in cash, you will receive a gift card or a voucher. If you paid by direct debit, credit or debit card, the money will be refunded into your bank account in three to five working days.
However, refunds on purchases made by debit card take seven to 10 business days, whereas for credit cards, the timeframe is three to seven days.
Did you know: Internet retail sales grew by 72.7% during the pandemic?
Occasionally, it can take longer. That said, if your refund is not showing up in your bank account within 14 working days, you should contact your bank or credit provider.
Processing refunds to debit cards take longer because the vendor must first approve the refund.
If your request is approved, the merchant will issue a refund to the card used for the transaction, but only after they receive the money in their account. This can take a couple of days.
After your bank or building society gets the money from the vendor, they’ll credit the refund, which may also take several business days.
Looking for the best debit card for your child? We have the ultimate list of top-rated debit cards for teens in the UK!
Since the processing time depends mainly on the merchant, here is a closer look at the average credit and debit card refund time of some of the biggest online retailers in the UK.
Amazon, the biggest online retailer, immediately processes requests for credit, debit card and bank refunds in the UK, with the funds being available in your account within 14 days. The refund will be shown in your account or credit card statement no later than seven days after the refund was approved.
If available, you could also opt for an Instant Refund and have the funds transferred within hours, either on your credit card or in the form of free Amazon Gift Cards (depending on the type you choose).
The average debit card refund time in the UK for eBay customers is two business days after the item has been returned to the seller. Your refund will be sent to your original payment method and available between three and five working days (depending on the bank)
Worth noting: if the seller has not responded to your refund request in three days, eBay might be required to step in to help. In this case, funds will be transferred about three weeks from the time your refund request was sent.
It takes three to five business days for a refund to appear on your credit card statement (if you purchased by credit card on Etsy), although in some cases, it could take up to 30 working days.
If you used PayPal for a purchase, your refunds would be sent back through the original payment method.
The refund on your Paypal account balance will show up the same day and on your bank account for up to five days. Refunds to debit cards or credit cards, on the other hand, may take up to 30 days, depending on your card issuer.
Worth noting: If you are using another BNPL service, you should take a look at their refund and return policy before signing up, as not all of them are regulated and adhere to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
Related reading: Will using PayPal affect my credit score?
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Consumer Contracts Regulations are two pieces of legislation that ensure your consumer rights are protected.
If you’ve purchased an item online, over the phone or by mail order, you have a legal right to return the item. If the product is in working order, you have 14 days to cancel the order starting from the day you’ve received the item or started the download (for digital content). You then have a further 14 days to return the item to the seller.
If the goods you have purchased are faulty, you have 30 days to return them and get a full refund. The same applies to goods purchased online or in-store, however, you don’t have a right to request a refund for a store-bought product that is not faulty. Luckily, most retailers provide a return policy offering a refund or exchange even if you simply change your mind.
Should the seller be unable to repair or replace a faulty item within six months, you are entitled to a full refund.
Under Section 75, the credit card company is legally obligated to help the consumer if something goes wrong with their purchase. This, however, only applies to purchases made by credit card that cost between £100 and £30,000.
Despite the many perks, there are more debit cards in circulation in the UK than credit cards.
Chargeback allows you to get a refund for goods or services that you did not receive, were faulty or the company which provided them is no longer in business. The scheme protects holders of Visa, Maestro or American Express debit cards as well as certain credit card providers.
If the seller is not responding to your refund request, you can make a chargeback claim or dispute a transaction (depending on what your bank or credit provider calls it). Processing a card dispute might take anywhere from 45 days to 3 months.
Once the refund is approved, the funds will be transferred to your account in a few days, depending on the bank. For instance, it takes between 3 to 5 working days for the funds to be transferred to your account with HSBC or seven business days with Santander.
Other banks have different terms for different products. Thus, Barclays refund processing time can take up to 30 days if you choose to dispute a transaction made with the bank’s debit card, however, if you are using a Barclaycard, your refund request will be processed in five working days, or longer if the bank runs additional checks.
Worth noting: Most banks will advise you to try and settle the matter with the merchant first as they are more likely to refund you faster than going through the bank.
Cancelling your debit card or bank account won’t prevent you from getting a refund, but the whole process is a bit trickier.
If you made a purchase with a debit card but, for some reason, has been deactivated or cancelled before you got your refund, the funds will be directed to the bank account linked to that card.
If you have another account with the same bank, they can send the funds there (provided they are under the same name). However, assuming your bank account is closed too, your refund may end up in “unallocated funds” or “general ledger account”. In this case, the best way is to get in touch with someone from your former bank and explain your situation so they can sort out the issue for you.
Bear in mind that a refund to a cancelled debit card will usually take longer than a regular debit card dispute.
While requesting a refund from a merchant is relatively easy, it can take quite some time for the bank to update the account, especially if you made a purchase with a debit or a credit card. Still, you should not wait too long.
It is crucial that you are aware of your consumer rights and seek assistance if the refund does not show up in your account within 15 days of the request.
My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.