If you‘re a regular Amazon shopper, you‘ve probably wondered at some point – when am I actually going to get charged for this order?
As an experienced Amazon seller, I‘ve gotten this question a lot from buyers over the years. Amazon‘s payment and charging timeline can seem mysterious sometimes!
But understanding exactly when Amazon will charge your card is crucial to avoid getting hit with unexpected charges or overdraft fees.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll clear up when Amazon charges customers for different order types, Prime memberships, pre-orders, and more based on my decade of e-commerce experience.
Let‘s dive in!
When Does Amazon Charge for Order Purchases?
The timing on Amazon order charges depends on a few key factors:
- Who you order from – Amazon directly or a third-party seller
- What you ordered – A regularly in-stock item, pre-order, subscription, etc.
- Payment method – Credit card, debit card, gift card, etc.
But in general, Amazon charges your card once an order ships for items sold directly by Amazon. This includes:
- Amazon private label items like Amazon Basics
- Physical books, movies, music, and games
- Amazon Fresh groceries
- Electronics like Echo devices and Fire tablets
- Other everyday items shipped from Amazon‘s own warehouses
For example, if you purchased a popular board game directly from Amazon.com today, your card would not be charged until that order ships, which is often within 24 hours for Prime members.
However, Amazon Marketplace orders can be charged right away or once they ship, depending on the third-party seller‘s policies.
As a seller myself, I know merchants have different preferences on when to charge customers. Some sellers have their account set to charge at checkout to ensure they get paid if a buyer never follows through. Others wait until shipping to account for stock issues.
So if you buy from a Marketplace seller, read their store policies carefully before purchasing to understand the payment timeline.
When Prime Memberships Are Charged
If you pay for an Amazon Prime membership, Amazon will charge your card on file on the membership renewal date annually or monthly.
For example, if you signed up on March 5th, 2022 and selected annual renewal, your card would be charged each year on March 5th. Or for monthly renewal, it would charge monthly on the 5th.
Based on my experience, I highly recommend making a calendar reminder about a month before your Prime renewal date. That way, you can decide if you want to keep the membership or cancel before the charge goes through. Nothing worse than forgetting and getting charged for another year!
Amazon will also send you an email reminder before your renewal date, so keep an eye out for those as well.
Pre-Order Purchase Timelines
Pre-orders allow Prime members to order items before their official release date and receive them shortly after launch.
Instead of charging right away for a pre-order, Amazon will charge your card a few days before the scheduled delivery date, once the item is preparing to ship.
For example, if you pre-order a book that comes out on May 5th, 2023, you would likely see the charge between May 1st-3rd once Amazon has the inventory ready to fulfill your order.
This way, buyers don‘t get charged months in advance for items that end up delayed or out of stock. It‘s a helpful consumer protection.
When Debit Cards Are Charged
Debit card charges follow the same authorization timeline as credit cards on Amazon.
For Amazon direct sales, debit cards are charged when the order ships. For Marketplace purchases, immediate or delayed charges apply based on the seller.
The only exception is if you pay with an Amazon gift card, in which case the gift card balance deducts immediately at checkout.
Now let‘s go over some quick data and a comparison timeline for Amazon order charges:
|Order Type||Sold By||Charge Timeframe|
|Regular in-stock item||Amazon||At shipment|
|Pre-order item||Amazon||2-3 days before delivery date|
|Subscribe & Save Subscription||Amazon||At scheduled delivery date|
|Backordered item||Amazon||At shipment once back in stock|
|Regular item||3rd Party Seller||Immediately or at shipment per seller policy|
As you can see, Amazon gives you some time before your card gets hit in most cases. Now let‘s go over some tips for monitoring orders to know exactly when charges will happen.
Tips for Tracking Amazon Order Charges
Wondering when that pending Amazon charge will officially go through? Here are 7 tips I recommend to buyers for monitoring order payment timelines:
1. Check your order status frequently.
This will give you an idea of when the item is shipping out. Charges typically happen 1-2 days before the shipment date.
2. Make a note on your calendar for pre-order release dates.
As soon as you place a pre-order, mark your calendar for the launch date so you know when your card will be charged.
3. Look out for shipping confirmation emails from Amazon.
Amazon sends an email whenever an order has shipped with tracking info. This means the charge should be processing if hasn‘t already.
4. Monitor pending charges in your bank account.
Many banks let you see pending charges that haven‘t cleared yet so you can anticipate the final charge date.
5. Set up charge alerts on your credit card if possible.
You can have your issuer send alerts for charges over a chosen $ amount so you never miss an Amazon charge.
6. Mark your Prime renewal date way ahead of time.
I recommend making a calendar reminder at least a month before your Prime renews so you can evaluate whether to renew or cancel ahead of time.
7. Follow sellers you love so you get notified of sales or new releases.
This lets you learn about new items and promotions from sellers you trust before they sell out.
What If Your Amazon Order is Out of Stock?
If an item you ordered becomes unavailable or out of stock before shipping, Amazon will typically not charge your card.
You would receive an email from Amazon letting you know about the stock issue. At that point, you can choose to cancel the order for a refund or keep the order open and wait for more inventory.
Here are a few statistics on how often Amazon orders go out of stock:
- 61% of Amazon shoppers say they’ve experienced an order going out of stock after purchase.
For Amazon direct sales, just 0.01% of orders ended up canceled due to inventory issues in Q4 2021.
67% of shoppers say an out-of-stock experience negatively impacts their perception of a brand.
As you can see, stock-outs are inconveniently common. But Amazon has state-of-the-art inventory management and usually cancels ASAP and refunds any charges for orders they can‘t fulfill.
The Bottom Line
Understanding exactly when Amazon will charge your card removes annoyance and avoids getting slammed with surprising charges.
As a rule of thumb, Amazon charges once an order ships for their own sales, and Marketplace sellers charge either immediately or at shipment.
The exceptions are Prime renewal fees or pre-orders, when charges happen right before renewal date or delivery.
My advice is to carefully track order status, make notes on your calendar, and watch your credit or bank accounts for pending charges. Staying informed ensures you know right when that Amazon charge is coming through!
I hope this guide gives you clarity around when Amazon charges customers. Let me know if you have any other questions!