Help Centre Sending & receiving payments

Why is my payment taking so long?

Waiting for a payment to process is frustrating. Delayed payments can cause embarrassment and impact business operations.

It's always important to allow for unexpected delays when making business payments.

Let’s look at the main reasons why payment delays happen:

Incorrect payment details

Most delayed payments are the result of human error. Entering the incorrect payment information is an easy mistake to make. 

Payment failures can have a significant impact on small businesses. Large businesses may have fallbacks, but don't leave anything to chance.

It's important to always double-check the details before paying.

The payment method fails

Payments decline for insufficient funds are common but easily avoided. Checking the balance of an account before making a payment is a no-brainer.

Card issuers and e-wallet providers often apply payment terms to their products. Different transaction types, such as online payments, may be declined. Additionally, some businesses don’t accept credit card payments via their payment gateways. 

It’s essential to use and accept alternative payment methods to avoid rejections. This also increases payment times for consumers and business partners.

The payment network is slow

There are thousands of global payment systems, and every region will have a preferred provider. Using unfamiliar networks can impact the speed and efficiency of payment processing.

Intercontinental systems such as SEPA can process cross-border Euro payments in real time.

Some countries are only accessible through networks such as SWIFT. Payments made through SWIFT can take five to seven business days.

Weekend and bank holiday trading hours

Weekends and bank holidays can create delays when sending and receiving payments. This happens because corresponding banking networks may be closed.

Transfers will still process. However, the funds may not clear on, or be credited to, the respective accounts. This delay can cause frustration, especially for recipients.

In the UK, Faster Payments makes transfers possible 24/7, 365 days a year. Payment usually happens instantly but can take up to two hours. At 3S Money, we use Faster Payments for all GBP transfers made in the UK.

Standing Orders and Direct Debits do not fall under Faster Payments. In these circumstances, the funds will transfer the next working day.

Recipient bank

The banking provider of a recipient may also impact processing times. Some banks may take longer than others to process and clear any funds they receive. 

This happens due to outdated infrastructure, banking restrictions or closures. Many banks tend to process payments in 48-72hr backdated batches.

Therefore, debited funds show as pending, despite clearing with a merchant or recipient.

Always try to schedule any payments during weekdays or bank opening hours. This will ensure the fastest possible transfer times and fewer failed payments.