How to help a customer trace their refund

After you initiate a refund, Stripe submits the refund request(s) to your customer’s bank or card issuer. Your customer sees the refund as a credit approximately 5-10 business days later, depending upon the bank.

A customer may contact you if they do not see the refund. A refund may not be visible to the customer for several reasons:

  • Refunds issued shortly after the original charge appear in the form of a reversal instead of a refund. In the case of a reversal, the original charge drops off the customer’s statement, and a separate credit is not issued
  • Refunds can fail if the customer’s bank or card issuer has been unable to process it correctly. The bank returns the refunded amount to us and we add it back to your Stripe account balance. This process can take up to 30 days from requesting the refund

If a customer is asking about a refund, it can be helpful to give them the Acquirer Reference Number (ARN) corresponding to the refund. An ARN is a unique number assigned to a card transaction as it moves through the payment flow. Your customer can then take the ARN to their bank, which will be able to provide more information about when the refund will be available. Having a reference number can also increase your customer’s confidence that the refund has been initiated.

ARNs are available under the following conditions:

  • They are only supported for Visa and Mastercard transactions
  • It takes 1-3 business days after initiating the refund to receive the ARN from downstream banking partners
  • An ARN is not available in the case of a reversal, since the original charge is not processed

Where available, Stripe shows the ARN corresponding to a refund in the Dashboard on the payment detail page of the refunded payment.

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