Personal Finance

Why do online bill payments take so long to go through?

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 1st, 2018 7:41 pm
[OP]
Banned
Jun 6, 2016
361 posts
252 upvotes
Scarborough, ONT

Why do online bill payments take so long to go through?

So I always assumed it took a few days for a bank to send / for a merchant to receive and process a payment made through online banking.
However, now I have an Amex and notice I can pay the bill via online banking at night, and the payment will be there the next day. It's always lightning quick.
So what's the deal? Is like a scam among banks / big companies to remove money from your account and hold onto it as long as possible before crediting accounts, effectively creating a massive cash float? Kinda like banks holding cheques for 5 days?
Maybe a stupid topic... But I'm curious.
8 replies
Sr. Member
Jun 19, 2015
778 posts
695 upvotes
95% of mine are 1 business day. Weekends and holidays obviously don't count
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
11485 posts
7762 upvotes
Edmonton
Alex383 wrote: So I always assumed it took a few days for a bank to send / for a merchant to receive and process a payment made through online banking.
However, now I have an Amex and notice I can pay the bill via online banking at night, and the payment will be there the next day. It's always lightning quick.
So what's the deal? Is like a scam among banks / big companies to remove money from your account and hold onto it as long as possible before crediting accounts, effectively creating a massive cash float? Kinda like banks holding cheques for 5 days?
Maybe a stupid topic... But I'm curious.
Speaking to your point on the Amex payment specifically... You can have Amex pull directly from your bank, and it happens virtually instantly. I no longer push payment from my bank to them.

C
Deal Addict
May 16, 2017
1415 posts
1750 upvotes
Archaic systems and transaction protocols. I've noticed recently that some of my inter-credit union transfers in BC are going through by next day, even on a weekend, where it used to take extra days for Sat/Sun/Holidays.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Aug 18, 2005
19722 posts
4322 upvotes
Burlington-Hamilton
robsaw wrote: Archaic systems and transaction protocols. I've noticed recently that some of my inter-credit union transfers in BC are going through by next day, even on a weekend, where it used to take extra days for Sat/Sun/Holidays.
I have also noticed that payments may go out to at different speeds to different payees.
For example, I've noticed that payments to the CRA during tax season show up LIGHTNING fast, at least from Simplii / PC Financial.
It is possible that AmEx has some kind of priority deal where payments are remitted more quickly.
What if there were no hypothetical questions?
Deal Addict
Jun 24, 2015
4010 posts
1171 upvotes
Woodbridge, ON
I noticed CIBC takes FOREVER to show a payment is received, even when its done online or at its own branches, however RBC will see the payment immediately when I make one online or even at an ABM (some of you call it an ATM)
Hi
Sr. Member
Jul 19, 2007
841 posts
150 upvotes
Be lucky when it goes thru on 3 business days....yawn...so slow.
[OP]
Banned
Jun 6, 2016
361 posts
252 upvotes
Scarborough, ONT
CNeufeld wrote: Speaking to your point on the Amex payment specifically... You can have Amex pull directly from your bank, and it happens virtually instantly. I no longer push payment from my bank to them.

C
I really prefer to just pay things manually... Not really comfortable giving a company carte blanche over my bank account.
That said, I literally can pay Amex around 8-9 pm, and by the time I wake up the following morning there's a notification on my phone saying payment received. No other account goes this fast. I can pay from RBC or Simplii, they're both just as quick. On the flip side, paying my CIBC Visa / CT MC / internet / cell phone from either Simplii or RBC consistently takes 2-3 days.

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