Slate Payments - Refunds

This article only discusses refunding of payments made through Slate Payments!

If you are using an external payment processor refunds need to be initiated in that external processor's system. Notifications for those external refunds are not sent to Slate, so payment refund activities need to be added manually.

Initiating and processing refunds right from inside Slate is one of the many conveniences and efficiencies of using Slate Payments. While refunds are usually handled seamlessly, the refunding process does have some intricacies and can sometimes lead to further inquiries from your customers. Many questions can be handled in a self-service fashion. Please review the following more detailed sections carefully before reaching out to us.

How to initiate a refund?

Simply adding a 'payment refund' activity to a record does not initiate a refund! In order to refund a payment, you must have the "Payment Refund" permission. To refund a payment made through Slate Payments, open the Payment Received activity or interaction on the person record. You will see a "Refund" link, which you can click to initiate a refund. Please keep in mind that once a refund is initiated it cannot be cancelled!


Note - when a payment is refunded through Slate Payments, the transaction fee will also be refunded (by the payment processor). The payer will receive the full amount that they paid, but your Slate Payments deposit account will only be debited for the net amount that you originally received. In other words, when using 'Slate Payments' you do not lose any money by accepting and then refunding a payment!

When you click the 'refund' link, you will see the actual 'Refund Payment' pop-up window, where you will confirm your decision:


We will display the currently available balance of the relevant connected account. We will display a red warning label when this balance is negative.


Please review the separate article on Account balances for a detailed discussion on terminology and options.

Are there 'time limitations' on initiating refunds?
  • There is no set time limit for credit card refunds.
  • Refunds for checking account payments (ACH) must be made within 90 days of the original payment. This limit is set by the ACH network. It is not possible for us to adjust this or grant exceptions.
Where do the monies for my refund come from?

Your Slate Payments Deposit Account includes a holding account with Stripe (a connected account) where your funds are held until transferred to you. Funds are collected, held, and paid out in separate sub-balances depending on the source of the payment (credit card charge vs. ACH payment). If there are funds (of the relevant funds source) currently in that account when you make a refund, those funds are used. If there are not sufficient funds in the account, the refund will be made anyway, and the balance in that account (or sub-balance) will become negative. Whenever an account balance (or sub-balance) is negative (at the cutoff time) regularly scheduled payouts are suspended. 

There are two options for handling negative balances:

  1. By default we will temporarily transfer 'reserve funds' into your account to cover the balance temporarily, and then transfer those funds back out when additional payments come in. If your balance remains negative for 180 days, then we will have to permanently transfer funds into your account to restore the balance (or sub-balance) to zero, and we will invoice you for that amount.

    If the negative balance is large enough, we will reach out to you proactively and invoice and arrange payment much earlier.

  2. The best option for reconciliation and convenience, is to adjust the settings for your connected account such that withdrawals will be made from your bank account directly to cover a negative balance. If the (sub-)balance is negative at the time of the scheduled transfer a 'negative payout' will be recorded and all the individual transactions associated with it will be detailed in Slate via a pre-filtered view of the payment history.

    For this to work, you will need to contact your bank and 'allow' the Stripe ACH company IDs, which are:
    1. WFMSTRIPE1 - Stripe Inc.
    2. 1800948598 - Stripe Payments Company

If you'd like to use this second option, you can enable this setting in the deposit account configuration pop-up.

What is the timing for refunds? Can you trace a refund?

Once you initiate a refund, the payment processor contacts your customer’s bank or card issuer to complete the refund requests. Your payer or applicant sees the refund as a credit approximately 5-10 business days later, depending upon the bank.

An applicant or payer may contact you if they don’t see the refund. First, remember the timing guidelines from above. Make sure business days and bank holidays are accounted for.

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 Slate Payments and we add it back to your connected account balance. This process can take up to 30 days from requesting the refund.

If a payer is asking about a refund (again keeping the general timing guidelines in mind), 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 applicant or payer 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:

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

Assuming that 5-10 business days have passed since you initiated the refund, you can reach out to us via a Service Request and we will attempt to locate the ARN corresponding to the refund (if available).

A Refund was initiated to a closed payer account. What now?

A payer may have closed the card or bank account with which the original payment was made, or is concerned that the credit card is expired. It is important to note, that in many cases it may take up to 30 days before the result of a 'failure to refund' scenario is surfaced back to a processor from the downstream banking partner.

If there is still an open card account for that customer with that bank (or some other business relationship), the funds will usually get routed automatically to the new card. If that is not possible the bank will often attempt to issue a check directly to their former card customer.

For Visa and Mastercard card payments an ARN reference number can be used to locate funds. We can retrieve an ARN (if it exists) for you to share with your customer, which they can then share with their bank to locate the funds. 

You can't send or direct a refund to a different bank account or card.

Are there 'other' limitations for refunds?

You can't send or direct a refund to a different bank account or card.

Only funds that were taken via the original charge can be sent back to a card (via refund), i.e. refunding more money than was originally charged is just not possible due to restrictions placed by the card issuing companies (this is not something that Technolutions or Stripe can adjust or circumvent).

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