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Linked Refund: Merchant Provider limits refunds to xx days to same order using tokens

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This is a relatively recent fraud prevention technique implemented by some merchant providers (Moneris, Bambora, PaymentTech Orbital, and to limit refunds to an amount that has previously been authorized on the card and prevent potential fraud from the wide open "free for all" called Independent Refunds

A linked refund does not require the full credit card number. Instead, it uses a token representing a particular authorization that the merchant processor gave Theatre Manager at time of authorization.

This is the only method of refund that can be used if you are shredding credit cards for PCI compliance.


Linked Refund Rules

Typical rules that merchant providers implemented for linked refunds

  • within xxx days since the original authorization. The default we've seen is 120 days.
  • by referencing the same order as the original authorization
  • using the saved transaction token from the original authorization (instead of the credit card data)
  • for no more than the amount of the original authorization (less any other refunds to the card already)
This restriction seems reasonable. If Theatre Manager is able to do a refund with a prior card payment, it will. It usually works.


Conditions Action or Workaround
Refund rejected because card is shredded If you see a message saying that the card was rejected because no encrypted card is on file, then you are trying to do an independent refund.

Instead, change the setting in your merchant profile to allow linked refunds first.

Refund gets rejected because of age

if you receive a message from Theatre Manager there are NO PRIOR PAYMENTS when doing a refund, the root cause is because merchant providers have been forcing venues into using linked refunds, meaning the merchant providers imposed a typical time limit of having to refund within 120 days of purchase.


Each venue seems to have a different time limit and you can set it in Theatre Manager's Merchant Setup. It may work if you increase the time frame. If not, ask your merchant provider to increase the number of historic days you are allowed to process refunds. We have seen clients with limits as long as 365 days.

Refund Rejected because it is too much In a LINKED REFUND, you can only refund the a maximum amount of the original credit card payment.

If the patron paid with two different payments methods (eg: part in cash and part in credit card), then you will need to:

  • adjust the refunded amount to be no more than the amount available to refund on the card
  • if there is more than one cards in the list, then refund what you can to each one -and-
  • then refund the rest using a check or some other payment method.

NOTE: If the message below indicates your merchant setup supports Independent Refunds, AND you know the entire card number, CVV2 and expiry date, you might be able try an independent refund instead.

Refund gets rejected because it is not connected to order If there are multiple credit card payments for the order and you get this message, you may be affected by the timing of when the payment was authorized. You could have:
  • Authorized an amount many months ago, before the merchant provider instituted linked refunds - in which case Theatre Manager would not have the token available for refunding
  • Authorized an additional amount in the order for exchanged tickets which happened after the implementation of linked refunds (approximately fall 2019) - in which case Theatre Manager would have the token available for that card.

Theatre Manager presents a list of credit cards to refund to - pick the one you want, If you try to refund too much, you'll see an error like the image below. IF this is the case, then break the refund up into smaller amounts.

At this time, the way to refund this card is to either ask for independent refunds, or to employ a trick and: