A credit balance occurs when your account has a balance that is owed to you, rather than a balance you owe to the credit card company. This can occur when you return merchandise or pay more than you currently owe on your credit card.
If you have a credit balance on your credit card, you may be able to:
- Keep the credit on your account and apply it towards future charges
- Request a refund
When your credit balance is less than one dollar, the credit card company is not required to send you a refund, even if you request one. If the credit balance remains on your account for more than six months, the credit card company must make a good faith attempt to refund it to you.
Most credit card companies will send you a refund if you simply call them up and ask for a check to be sent to you. Your other option is to write a letter to your credit card issuer, addressed to their correspondence address (not their payment address), and request a refund check be sent to you.
Generally, you will receive a check within 10 business days. If you request a refund check by mail, your credit card company is required, by law, to mail it to you within seven business days of receipt of your letter. If you have a large credit balance, the credit card company may take extra time to verify why there is such a large credit before issuing the check.
Occasionally, a credit balance will appear on your account because of a credit card company error. This can be caused by many things, including:
- The credit card company erroneously applying your payment more than once
- A merchant credit was erroneously posted twice
- Another cardholder’s payment was applied to your credit card account
If the credit card company erroneously applied your check, and the money was deducted from your checking account for more than you paid, the credit card company may wire the overpayment back to your bank account.
If you have had problems obtaining a credit balance refund, a credit lawyer experienced with consumer credit laws and regulations can advise you of your rights and remedies. If you have a credit on your account that you believe is yours, and your credit card issuer will not return it, an attorney can work with the credit card company to resolve the issue.