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When Does Amazon Charge You? (Here’s What You Need to Know)

Amazon is the behemoth where many of us spend our dollars to get almost everything we need. They have a few different setups for ordering items, such as pre-orders, Subscribe and Save, backorders, and Amazon Prime membership fees. For all of these options, it is good to know when you will get charged.

For pre-orders, Amazon charges once the item ships or a few days prior to shipping. For Subscribe and Save and backordered items, Amazon emails a few days before the item ships and charges once it ships. For Prime membership fees, Amazon charges monthly or annually, depending on what is selected during enrollment.  

One, two, or all of these Amazon ordering options might apply to you. Knowing when you are going to get charged can help you plan things out and avoid surprises.

In this article, we will go into detail on what each ordering option is and when you will get charged for it. 

When Does Amazon Charge for Pre-Orders?

When you pre-order an item, Amazon charges you either when the item is released or shipped. Occasionally, Amazon may charge a few days prior to shipping. Even though you enter your payment information when pre-ordering an item, the card stays on file and is not charged yet. 

Pre-ordering is popular on Amazon since it allows customers to order items that are not out yet.

If you pre-order an item, you’ll get in line to receive it once it gets released, and the exact timing of the charge will depend on the item

Especially for high-demand items, it may be the only way to get your hands on a product without waiting for a long time after the item is released.

How Amazon Pre-Orders Work

Making an Amazon pre-order purchase is a similar process to any other Amazon purchase. The main difference is that you will not receive it right away because the item has not been released yet. 

Between the time of your order placement and when the order ships, Amazon will send you email updates so that you can keep track of what is going on.

If the release date changes, you can manage or cancel your order if you choose to do so.

Ordering an item on pre-order has the benefit of not only receiving it once it is released but getting the lowest price.

If the price does change, Amazon guarantees the lowest price as long as the item is marked with a “Pre-order Price Guarantee.”

When Does Amazon Charge for Backordered Items?

If you order an item that is on backorder from Amazon, you will get charged when the item ships. 

At times, a seller on Amazon may have a product that they are temporarily out of stock. Amazon allows them to list it as long as it will be back in stock within 30 days.

If an item is on backorder, it will show when you got to purchase it. There will also be a date for when the item will be restocked. 

Note that if there is no timeframe for when the item will be back in stock, it is not considered a backorder item, and you will be unable to purchase it. 

Ordering an item on backorder is the same purchase process. Much like a pre-order item, Amazon will email you when the item is back in stock and about to ship.

Once it gets shipped, your credit card will be charged. 

How Is Amazon Prime Billed?

Amazon has two different billing options: monthly and annually. Amazon Prime membership fees are:

  • $12.99 per month (plus taxes)
  • $119 per year (plus taxes)

Paying for Prime annually will save you money over the course of the year, but for some, the monthly billing may work better.

There is also a Prime option for students. If you are a student, you can get a 6-month free trial of Amazon Prime.

After the free trial period ends, Prime student membership cost is half the amount as a regular membership – $6.49 per month or $59 per year.

Prime will ask you what your intended graduation year is, and after graduation, your membership will change to a regular one.

You can end or pause your Prime membership at any time. Pausing your membership means you lose access to Prime benefits, but you will not get billed.

If you cancel your Prime membership without using any of the benefits, you can request a full refund. Otherwise, you may be eligible for a partial refund.

The advantage of a pause, if you won’t need Prime for some time, is if you use Amazon photos. Amazon photo gives you unlimited storage for your photos when you have Prime.

Pausing your membership versus canceling allows your photos to be where you left them once you resume your membership.

When Does Amazon Charge for Subscribe and Save?

Amazon charges you for “Subscribe and Save” items when the item ships.

There are some products out there that you know you’re going to need on a regular basis. Cleaning products, vitamins, or pet food can fall under that category.

When you buy these products on Amazon, two prices show up: the “One-time order” price and the “Subscribe and Save” price. 

Amazon has a subscribe and save option that allows you to schedule regular deliveries of the item. Sometimes, the subscribe and save price is also lower than the one-time order price.

Adding items to subscribe and save can also save you money overall. If you have enough subscribe and save options, you can save 5-15% on the item. This is a great way to unlock savings on an item that you buy regularly.

Before each delivery, Amazon will send you a reminder email. The email will show you the items coming up in your subscription, the price, and any applicable discount.

This is a good time for you to check the price of the item in case it has increased since your last shipment. They give you a few days to change your order if needed.

You can cancel “subscribe and save” anytime or delay your shipment to the next cycle if you decide that you don’t need the item yet.

A few days after the email, the item gets shipped, which is when you get charged.


Amazon has a few different ordering options out there depending on the item you want and its availability. If you place an order on Amazon that is not getting shipped to you immediately, the general rule of thumb is that you will not be charged for the item until the order ships.

Amazon keeps you in the loop via email in case anything changes. In the meantime, you have the freedom to cancel your order if you decide to change your mind. 

The ability to cancel also applies to Prime, which gets billed on a monthly or annual basis. For many, free two-day shipping is a natural way of life, especially once the pandemic started. The onslaught of Amazon boxes is a part of the routine in many homes.

Amazon makes it easy to get almost anything you may want or need. Knowing when you will get charged for items that don’t get delivered right away is a good thing to keep in mind as you make purchases on Amazon.

If you’re interested in finding out more about shopping on Amazon, check out the related articles below.

Related Articles:

Does Amazon Deliver on Sundays? (Yes, Here’s What to Know)

Do Amazon Gift Cards Expire?

Does Amazon Take EBT? (Yes, Here’s How it Works)

Amazon Fresh vs. Prime Now: What’s the Difference?

Do You Tip Amazon Fresh Delivery? (Yes, Here’s How Much)

About the Author

Joanna Smykowski is an attorney and marketing professional with over five years of experience writing for various industries, including food and drink. When she’s not working, you can find her traveling, reading, or dancing.

November 10, 2022