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Referenced refunds

Enable omnichannel returns with simple reconciliation and better fraud protection.

Customers appreciate the possibility of omnichannel returns, allowing them to return an ecommerce purchase to a physical store, or return their in-store purchase by sending it to your distribution center. With referenced refunds, you can offer omnichannel returns with a minimum of operational burden.

Simpler reconciliation

On our unified payments platform we assign a unique identifier to each transaction. This identifier is known as the PSP reference. When you issue a referenced refund, you specify the PSP reference of the original payment. In this way, you can match each refund against a payment, regardless of the sales channel. You'll have the complete audit trail of a payment including any full or partial refunds.

Better fraud protection

A referenced refund returns the funds to the payment method that was used for the original payment, not to the card the shopper is presenting in the store or as cash. This helps combat various return fraud types like returning stolen merchandise, receipt fraud, and cross-retailer returns.

Also, when using referenced refunds, payments can't be refunded multiple times, or for an amount exceeding 100% of the payment value.

Synchronize your back-end systems

A requirement for omnichannel returns is that you have access to transaction information of all sales channels. For referenced refunds, this transaction information must include the PSP reference.

Ideally you have a central database where you store information from both ecommerce and point-of-sale transactions. If you store the ecommerce and point-of-sale transaction information separately on different systems, these systems must be able read each other's data.

Processing refunds

Referenced refunds are not processed synchronously. When you send an API request for a referenced refund, the API response only confirms we received the request. We process the refund asynchronously, and inform you of the result through a webhook.

When a refund is processed, the amount is deducted from your in-process funds, and appears in your shopper's account within a few days. By default, refunds are deducted from the merchant account that processed the original payment. For example, if a sale took place on MerchantAccount_ECOM and the product is returned to MerchantAccount_POS, the funds are taken from the ECOM account.

If you want to process omnichannel returns between multiple merchant accounts, contact our Support Team to enable refunds on the company level. This will allow you to use the /payments/{paymentPspReference}/refunds endpoint to submit returns for any merchant account under your company account. The refund is processed on the merchant account of the original payment.

Refund options

To issue a full or partial referenced refund, you have these options:

  • Terminal API reversal request: your POS app sends a Terminal API ReversalRequest to the payment terminal. The request includes the PSP reference of the original point-of-sale or ecommerce purchase. The terminal generates a receipt, and the funds are returned to the original card or other payment method without the need for the customer to present a card to the payment terminal.

  • Server-to-server refund: you make a POST request to the /payments/{paymentPspReference}/refunds endpoint, where paymentPspReference is the PSP reference of the original point-of-sale or ecommerce purchase.

  • Refund from your Customer Area: this is a good option if you don't issue refunds often. We describe this in the Account section of our documentation.

Terminal API reversal request

When you make a POS payment, the Terminal API response returns the transaction identifier of the payment in the format tenderReference.pspReference. To make a referenced refund, you specify this transaction identifier in your refund request.

However, the tenderReference is generated by the payment terminal, and is missing for an ecommerce payment. In that case you include only the PSP reference, in the format .pspReference.

You can make a:

  • Full refund to return the total value of the purchase to the shopper.
  • Partial refund to return part of the purchase to the shopper. For example, when a shopper returns one of the items they purchased. You can also make multiple partial refunds. For example, when a shopper returns several items at different times.

Select a tab to see the parameters that you need to specify for a full referenced refund, or a partial referenced refund.

Here we describe the basic referenced refund request for the full amount. To refund an ecommerce payment, the request is a little different.

  1. Get the TransactionID and the TimeStamp of the original payment. You received these values in the payment response, in the POIData.POITransactionID object.

  2. Make a POST request to a Terminal API endpoint, specifying:

    • MessageHeader: the standard SaleToPOIRequest.MessageHeader object. Specify:

      Parameter Required Description
      ProtocolVersion -white_check_mark- 3.0
      MessageClass -white_check_mark- Service
      MessageCategory -white_check_mark- Reversal
      MessageType -white_check_mark- Request
      ServiceID -white_check_mark- Your unique ID for this request, consisting of 1-10 alphanumeric characters. Must be unique within the last 48 hours for the terminal (POIID) being used.
      SaleID -white_check_mark- Your unique ID for the POS system component to send this request from.
      POIID -white_check_mark- The unique ID of the terminal to send this request to. Format: [device model]-[serial number].
    • ReversalRequest: the request body. Specify:

      Parameter Required Description
      OriginalPOITransaction.POITransactionID -white_check_mark- An object with:
      • TransactionID: Transaction identifier of the original payment in the format tenderReference.pspReference. For example, BV0q001643892070000.VK9DRSLLRCQ2WN82
      • TimeStamp: Date and time in UTC format of the original payment. For example, 2000-01-01T00:00:00.000Z
      ReversalReason -white_check_mark- MerchantCancel

    The following example shows how to make a full referenced refund.

    The payment terminal shows a waiting screen until you receive the response.

  3. When you receive the ReversalResponse, check if we received your request. Note the following:

    • Response.Result: Success. This means we received your request. The refund itself will be processed asynchronously.
    • POIData.POITransactionID.TransactionID: the PSP reference for this refund request.
    • PaymentReceipt: the generated receipt data. This includes REFUND REQUESTED.
    • Response.AdditionalResponse with:
    • posOriginalAmountValue: the amount (in minor units) of the original payment.
    • posAuthAmountValue: the refund amount (in minor units) that we will try to get authorized.
    • pspReference: the PSP reference for this refund request.

    If your request failed, the ReversalResponse contains:

    • Response.Result: Failure
    • AdditionalResponse: this includes a message explaining why the request failed. For example:
    • Original pspReference required for this operation: messages like this tell you how to fix the request so you can try again.
    • Transaction is already voided: this message tells you that we already received a full reversal request for the original transaction.
  4. Wait for the CANCEL_OR_REFUND webhook to learn the outcome. Refunds are always processed asynchronously. If successful, the refund is issued to the shopper's account.

Refunding an ecommerce payment

An ecommerce payment does have a PSP reference, but the tender reference is missing because it is generated by the terminal. To refund an ecommerce payment, you need to know the PSP reference, the date, and the currency of the original payment.

Compared to a basic full referenced refund, note the following request parameters:

Parameter Required Description
OriginalPOITransaction.POITransactionID -white_check_mark- An object with TransactionID: the PSP reference of the original payment, in the format .pspReference. Don't forget the leading dot (.). For example: .VK9DRSLLRCQ2WN82
SaleData.SaleToAcquirerData -white_check_mark- The currency of the refund, in the format currency=ABC where ABC is the three-letter currency code. This must match the currency of the original payment.
SaleData.SaleTransactionID -white_check_mark- An object with:
  • TransactionID: your reference for the refund. In your Customer Area and Adyen reports, this will show as the merchant reference.
  • TimeStamp: date and time in UTC format of the refund.
{
  "SaleToPOIRequest":{
    "MessageHeader":{
      "ProtocolVersion":"3.0",
      "MessageClass":"Service",
      "MessageCategory":"Reversal",
      "MessageType":"Request",
      "SaleID":"POSSystemID12345",
      "ServiceID":"207111108",
      "POIID":"V400m-324688179"
    },
    "ReversalRequest":{
      "OriginalPOITransaction":{
        "POITransactionID":{
          "TransactionID":".VK9DRSLLRCQ2WN82",
          "TimeStamp":"2022-01-31T12:08:45.004Z"
        }
      },
      "ReversalReason":"MerchantCancel",
      "SaleData":{
        "SaleToAcquirerData":"currency=EUR",
        "SaleTransactionID":{
          "TimeStamp":"2022-02-03T15:04:14.004Z",
          "TransactionID":"rev-708"
        }
      }
    }
  }
}

When you receive the ReversalResponse, note that the Response.AdditionalResponse includes:

  • posOriginalAmountValue: 0 (zero)
  • posAuthAmountValue: 0 (zero)

That is because at this moment we don't know the original amount of the ecommerce payment, and thus also don't know the refund amount that we will try to get authorized.

Server-to-server refund

To return funds to your customer:

  1. From the AUTHORISATION webhook, get the pspReference of the authorization you want to refund.

  2. Make a POST request to the /payments/{paymentPspReference}/refunds endpoint, where paymentPspReference is the pspReference of the authorization you want to refund.

    In your request, include:

    Parameter Required Description
    merchantAccount -white_check_mark- The name of your merchant account that is used to process the payment.
    amount -white_check_mark- The amount that you want to refund.
    • The value must be the same or, in case of a partial refund, less than the captured amount.
    • The currency must match the currency used in the authorization.
      reference Your reference for the refund, for example to tag a partial refund for future reconciliation. The reference parameter is required for GrabPay refunds.

      The following example shows how to refund EUR 25.00 on an authorization that has the pspReference XB7XNCQ8HXSKGK82.

    • When you receive the /payments/{paymentPspReference}/refunds response, note:

      • paymentPspReference: the PSP reference of the authorization you want to refund.
      • pspReference: Adyen's unique reference associated with this refund request.
      {
          "merchantAccount": "YOUR_MERCHANT_ACCOUNT",
          "paymentPspReference": "XB7XNCQ8HXSKGK82",
          "pspReference" : "JDD6LKT8MBLZNN84",
          "reference": "YOUR_UNIQUE_REFERENCE",
          "status" : "received"
      }
    • Wait for the REFUND webhook to learn the outcome of the refund request.

    Webhooks

    Refunds are not processed synchronously. When you send an API request for a referenced refund, the API response only confirms we received the request.

    We process the refund asynchronously, and inform you of the result through a webhook.

    To receive updates about your refunds, you must set up webhooks.

    CANCEL_OR_REFUND webhook

    Before we send your Terminal API reversal request to be processed, we perform various validations. If these validations succeed, usually the refund itself also succeeds. You receive the outcome of the validations asynchronously, in a CANCEL_OR_REFUND webhook that includes:

    • eventCode: CANCEL_OR_REFUND.
    • originalReference: the PSP reference of the original payment.
    • pspReference: the pspReference from the reversal response.
    • success: indicates the outcome of the refund validations. Possible values:

      • true: Adyen's validations were successful and we sent the refund request to the card scheme. This usually means that the refund will be processed successfully. However, in rare cases the refund can be rejected by the card scheme, or reversed. For information about these exceptions, see REFUND_FAILED webhook, and REFUNDED_REVERSED webhook.

      • false: the refund validations failed. The webhook includes a reason field with a short description of the problem. Review the reason, fix the issue if possible, and resubmit the refund request.

    {
       "live":"false",
       "notificationItems":[
          {
             "NotificationRequestItem":{
                "additionalData":{
                   "modification.action": "refund"
                },
                "amount":{
                   "currency": "EUR",
                   "value": 1025
                },
                "eventCode":"CANCEL_OR_REFUND",
                "eventDate":"2022-02-03T15:14:15.004Z",
                "merchantAccountCode":"YOUR_MERCHANT_ACCOUNT",
                "originalReference":"VK9DRSLLRCQ2WN82",
                "paymentMethod":"mc",
                "pspReference":"TF995R5G6L2GWR82",
                "reason":"",
                "success":"true"
             }
          }
       ]
    }

    For more information about the included fields, see the CANCEL_OR_REFUND webhook reference.

    REFUND webhook

    Before we send a refund request to be processed, we perform various validations. If these validations succeed, usually the refund itself also succeeds. You receive the outcome of the validations asynchronously, in a webhook that includes:

    • eventCode: REFUND.
    • pspReference: the pspReference from the response for your refund request.
    • success: indicates the outcome of the refund validations. Possible values:

      • true: Adyen's validations were successful and we sent the refund request to the card scheme. This usually means that the refund will be processed successfully. However, in rare cases the refund can be rejected by the card scheme, or reversed. For information about these exceptions, see REFUND_FAILED webhook, and REFUNDED_REVERSED webhook.

      • false: the refund validations failed. The webhook includes a reason field with a short description of the problem. Review the reason, fix the issue if possible, and resubmit the refund request.

    {
       "live":"false",
       "notificationItems":[
          {
             "NotificationRequestItem":{
                "amount":{
                   "currency":"EUR",
                   "value":2500
                },
                "eventCode":"REFUND",
                "eventDate":"2021-11-01T00:19:34+01:00",
                "merchantAccountCode":"YOUR_MERCHANT_ACCOUNT",
                "merchantReference": "YOUR_UNIQUE_REFERENCE",
                "originalReference":"XB7XNCQ8HXSKGK82",
                "paymentMethod":"visa",
                "pspReference":"JDD6LKT8MBLZNN84",
                "reason":"",
                "success":"true"
             }
          }
       ]
    }

    For more information about the included fields, see the REFUND webhook reference.

    Reasons for failed refund validation

    When our validations of a refund fail, you receive a webhook for the refund with success: false and the reason of the failure. The next table shows the most common reasons.

    reason Description
    Requested refund amount too high No chargeback or refund has been processed, and the requested refund amount is more than the balance on the payment.
    Already partially refunded, new requested refund amount too high Partial refund(s) has(/have) been processed, and the requested refund amount is more than the balance on the payment.
    Already partially disputed, new requested refund amount too high Partial chargeback(s) has(/have) been processed, and the requested refund amount is more than the balance on the payment.
    Already fully refunded, no balance available for new requested refund Full refund has been processed, and the remaining balance on the payment is 0.
    Partially refunded and partially disputed, no balance available for new requested refund Partial refund(s) and chargeback(s) have been processed, and the requested refund amount is more than the balance on the payment.
    Partial refund(s) and chargeback(s) have been processed, and the balance on the payment is a negative amount.
    Already fully disputed, no balance available for new requested refund Full chargeback has been processed, and the balance on the payment is 0.
    A full chargeback and partial refund(s) have been processed, and the balance on the payment is a negative amount.
    Insufficient in-process funds on account for refunding this payment There is not enough balance on your merchant account to process the refund.
    Transaction hasn't been captured, refund not possible The refund was requested before the transaction was captured. You need to cancel the transaction instead or wait until the transaction is settled.
    The maximum period for this operation has expired The refund was requested past the expiration date permitted by the payment method to process the request.
    Amount too low to be accepted by Card Network The refund amount was too low. The amount must be greater than 0.01 in any currency.
    Modification in different currency than authorisation The refund was requested in a currency different from the currency in which the authorization was made.


    The balance on the payment is the amount that remains from the original payment. For example, if a transaction has a total of EUR 10 and no refund or chargeback is processed, then the balance on the payment is EUR 10. After a refund or chargeback of EUR 3 is processed, the remaining balance on the payment is EUR 7.

    See also