When you need to return funds to a customer, there are a few different options:

  • Refund: Transfers settled funds from your merchant account to the customer’s account
  • Void: Cancels the transfer of funds from the customer to you before the transaction settles
  • Detached credit: Allows you to send funds to a customer without the original associated transaction, but is not always available as an option

Refunds

You can only refund a transaction with a Settling or Settled status. If you need to cancel a transaction that has an Authorized, Submitted for Settlement, or Settlement Pending status, you may be able to issue a void instead.

You can choose to issue a refund via the Control Panel or the API. For most payment methods, transactions can be refunded any time after the transaction has settled, as long as the associated method is still active. PayPal transactions can only be refunded within 180 days of receiving payment.

A refunded transaction goes through the typical settlement process. As soon as the refund settles, the funds are sent back to the customer’s bank account. The customer's bank may take a couple of days to deposit these funds, so it is normal for your customer to experience a small delay.

important

If a customer makes a purchase in a currency other than their home currency and later requests a refund of that transaction, their refund amount may not exactly match their original transaction amount due to variable exchange rates. See our article on single-currency setups for more information.

Issuing a refund within the Control Panel

  1. Log into the Control Panel
  2. Under Advanced Search, click Transactions
  3. Locate the transaction and click on the Transaction ID
  4. On the Transaction Details page, click Refund
  5. Adjust the amount you wish to refund your customer (if needed) and click Refund
note

If you don't see the Refund button, it may be because you have already issued a refund or your user does not have the appropriate role permissions. If the transaction was created through a merchant account that is no longer active, you’ll need to issue a detached credit through an active merchant account.

Finding a missing refund

Occasionally, a customer’s bank may have trouble routing a refund to the customer's account, particularly when the card used has been lost, stolen, or closed since the time of the original transaction. When this happens, depending on the bank, they might attempt to re-route the funds to the appropriate account, mail the customer a check, or return the funds to your merchant account.

If you are using Braintree Direct, you can further assist your customer by providing them with the Acquirer Reference Number (ARN) to pass along to their bank. If you are using the Braintree gateway only and do not have a merchant account with us, you will need to contact your merchant account provider directly for a transaction's ARN.

Acquirer Reference Numbers

An Acquirer Reference Number (ARN), also referred to as a Trace ID, is a unique value assigned to a credit or debit card transaction once it has been processed. The ARN is used to track the transaction's movement – allowing card brands, card issuing banks, and processors to locate the transaction and confirm its handling.

ARNs can be useful in confirming a refund was processed for concerned customers. If you provide your customer with the ARN, their bank can trace the transaction using this value.

If your customer has contacted their bank with the ARN and is still unable to locate the funds, please contact our Support team.

Acquirer Reference Numbers in the Control Panel
availability

ARNs are currently available for most Braintree Direct merchants located in the US or EU. If your account setup does not support ARNs in the Control Panel and you are integrated with Braintree Direct, contact our Support team and we may be able to retrieve this value for you. ARNs are available for credit and debit card purchases – including those made with digital wallets or mobile devices.

A transaction's ARN is typically generated within 3 business days of the transaction moving to the Settled status. To find a transaction's Acquirer Reference Number:

  1. Log into the Control Panel
  2. Under Advanced Search, click Transactions
  3. Locate the transaction and click on the Transaction ID

The Acquirer Reference Number can be found at the bottom of the Transaction Information section. Alternatively, ARNs are also listed in the Advanced Transaction Search CSV download.

note

If it has been more than 3 business days since the transaction moved to the Settled status, and the ARN has still not populated, contact our Support team for assistance.

Voids

In general, voids can only be issued if the transaction has a status of Authorized or Submitted for Settlement. PayPal transactions that have been submitted as multiple partial settlements, however, can also be voided with the status of Settlement Pending.

When a transaction is voided, the original authorization should disappear from the customer’s statement within 24 to 48 hours. You can choose to void a transaction either within the Control Panel or via the API.

note

Some banks don't recognize void requests immediately. It's possible that after you issue the void, your customer will still see the pending charge. If this happens, have your customer call their bank; the bank should be able to see the void request and update your customer's bank statement.

Issuing a void within the Control Panel

  1. Log into the Control Panel
  2. Under Advanced Search, click Transactions
  3. Locate the transaction and click on the Transaction ID
  4. On the Transaction Details page, click Void
  5. Click Continue to confirm the void
note

If you don't see the Void button, it may be because the transaction has already settled or your user does not have the appropriate role permissions.

Detached credits

note

Depending on your account setup, you may not be able to issue detached credits.

Detached credits, also known as blind credits, are disabled by default because it is generally against card association (e.g. Visa, Mastercard) rules for a merchant to transfer funds to a credit card without a pre-existing sale transaction. However, there are instances in which you might have a legitimate sale transaction but are not able to issue a refund – making it necessary to issue a detached credit. Here are the most common situations:

  • You are a new Braintree merchant and need to refund a transaction that was issued through your previous processor
  • You are an existing Braintree merchant and need to refund a transaction that was issued through a Braintree merchant account that is no longer active
  • ​Your customer has closed the account associated with their original payment method

Keep these rules in mind when considering detached credits:

  • Detached credits cannot exceed the amount of the original sale transaction
  • Credits cannot be enabled in your account permanently, because they increase the potential impact of a security breach

Issuing detached credits

Before you can issue a detached credit, we'll need to temporarily enable them on your Braintree account. To request that we temporarily enable detached credits, have the authorized signer on your Braintree gateway account contact our Support team.

Once enabled, you'll be able to issue detached credits to new payment methods and payments methods that are already saved in your Vault.

New payment methods

To issue a detached credit to a new payment method:

  1. Log into the Control Panel
  2. Under Transactions, click New Transaction
  3. In the Transaction Type drop-down menu, choose Credit
  4. Enter all required values
  5. Click Create
note

If you don't see the Credit option, but we’ve enabled detached credits on your account, it's possible that your user doesn’t have the appropriate role permissions.

Existing payment methods

To issue a detached credit to an existing Vault record:

  1. Log into the Control Panel
  2. Under Advanced Search, click Vault
  3. Locate your customer in the Vault
  4. Click Charge next to the customer
  5. In the Transaction Type drop-down menu, choose Credit
  6. Enter the amount you would like to credit
  7. Click Create
note

If you don't see the Credit option, but we’ve enabled detached credits on your account, it's possible that your user doesn’t have the appropriate role permissions.

Still have questions?

If you can’t find an answer, contact our Support team


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