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January 21, 2009


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Try a credit card that is linked to your BOA account. I have a AAA card (I use it for the gas rewards) that is somehow owned by BOA. In my online banking center I can toggle between my checking account updates and credit card updates. Plus I can even pay off the balance with a simple money transfer. Pretty sweet.

I think that believing that you'll always have an accurate and instant balance can be misleading because of the way that the credit card industry works.

A payment may not be posted to your account for a day or three after you purchase something, depending upon how often the merchant settles their account and whether they preauthorize the card or batch authorize everything.

A better solution would be to record your transactions in quicken/money/quickbooks/etc so that you'll have a running total of your current balance. That's what I do, and I make sure that my credit card balance is always lower than my checking account balance. If it isn't, then I wait until I have put more money in my checking account before using the credit card.

My 2 pence.

I hope that my memory is serving me correctly but my Wachovia CC, now managed by FIA card services would show transactions as soon as I got hom from making the transaction. It would put a (pending) flag on it also. This may not be the case anymore or I may be wrong about the card. I haven't made a charge on it in like 2 years.

For the record, I do agree with Blaine. Some merchants may not even charge your card fully that day. It can be misleading to realy on even the quickest CC website.

I've always found my Amex to be much better than my Chase Visa. Chase Visa is usually 3 days, and Amex 1-2 days. I find this is good enough.

As mentioned, your balance does not automatically change with a card swipe, it could be a few days before it is actually presented for payment by the merchant. Some accounts are good showing the pre-authorizations as pending withdrawls, which I assume is why the BOA looks automatic, but these are really only used for reducing credit limits, they don't actually change your balance, and merchants sometimes pre-authorize larger amounts than the actual charge (to make sure there is room for any later added that the merchant normally deals in) or don't pre-authorize at all. I had to deal with this stuff a few years ago, so maybe these pending charges are more accurate and will do the trick now.

The only guy I know that desires this kind of precision seems happy using pocket quicken and recording everything (it would drive me crazy).

Does it really matter? One of the main draws of a credit card is that you can handle the payment of everything once a month (instead of a debit card where each transaction needs to be managed in your account immediately). Sure, it's important to track that you were charged correctly and watch for fraud on your account, but that can be done by saving receipts and checking once a week.

The difference is debt card and credit card. I have a Chase debt card and they post my transactions instantly. But it takes at least one day for credit card transaction, because it depends on the merchants how long they take to finalize the transactions. There is a pending amount but it cannot give you any detailed transaction.

I think that is the common practise for credit card. Even Hong Kong has a very efficient banking system, they still need at least one day to post credit card transactions.

Try MBNA. It instantly update transactions.
MBNA is part of Bank of America.

Ditto on the BoA credit card. I've had a BoA checking account since 2005, and I applied for and received a BoA credit card in February 2006.

In all that time, I've not had one problem with the card. I have no idea what the interest rate is since I pay it off in full constantly. Transactions post to your account rapidly. In cases where there's a pending transaction on the card, such as when you buy a meal at a restaurant and the tip isn't reflected there, you can always just pull out the receipt to jog your memory.

The ease of the online use is really the only reason I have the card. I can pay it off instantly and always know what the balance is.

By their nature, credit card transactions do not post as quickly as debit. While I can't see immediate transaction detail on my different cards (and I have at least six of them from different institutions I use regularly), one thing you will notice is that "available credit" should go down *immediately* after a charge is authorized.

For example, if you have a $5,000 credit limit and the website shows $500 in the transaction detail, the website may show available credit of $4,500 if you haven't made a charge for a few days. If you then make a charge of $200, the available credit will immediately dip to $4,300 even though the charge detail remains at $500. Eventually the $200 posts to where you can see the transaction detail and the available credit remains at $4,300.

So--if your card's website displays available credit (and most if not all do)--you should be able to update your actual balance accordingly by subtracting the available credit from the credit limit, and then get the missing transaction details later as they post to your account. Try it out and report back.

There may be exceptions for preauthorization "holds" put on your available credit for things like gas purchases, rental cars and hotel rooms. In that case, your balance would likely be overstated using this method until the hold is released a few days later and the actual charge amount is processed.

Still, nothing beats Quicken for maintaining checkbook-style entries on all your accounts, combined with the discipline to actually do it.

I LOVE my MBNA card for that very reason. The second I swipe, it shows up as pending.

I am however in Canada and YMMV in the US.

Not a single bank I know provides instant transactions updates for for a credit card. My european bank usually updates my ballance in three days or even more. It disappoints me much :-(

My Fidelity MySmartCash debit updates in "real time." That means a few hours, next day at the latest.

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