22.4. Refunds: Linked & Unlinked
There are two ways to process refunds with Arctic Reservations:
Linked refunds are credit card or e-check refunds that are linked to an earlier payment, and allow you to refund money to a guest without collecting or saving any account information. The refund will go to the same credit card or bank account as the original payment. For credit card and e-check payments, this is the preferred method of processing a refund. But depending on your payment gateway, linked refunds can only be processed within a certain timeframe of the original payment (Arctic allows up to 120 days).
Unlinked refunds are refunds that are not connected with an earlier payment, and can be either a manual transaction (like cash, check, etc) or can be made through a payment gateway. Most payment gateways require prior authorization and configuration to allow unlinked refunds (as it allows you to send an arbitrary amount of money to an arbitrary credit card or bank account). Note that some payment gateways do not support unlinked refunds.
Linked refunds will return any amount of money up to the original payment amount, back to the account that was used for the associated payment. Linked refunds work even if a card has expired or been replaced (e.g., due to fraud alerts). This is the preferred way to do credit card and e-check refunds, as it often results in lower fees and requires no prior configuration.
To process a linked refund:
1. From the "View Invoice" page in the "Transactions" section of the invoice, either click the green "+ Add" button and choose the payment from the "Refund" menu or you can click the gear next to the original transaction and choose "Refund" as illustrated in the images below.
If you do not see the refund option, that can mean either that the transaction has not cleared (e.g., if it is the same day, you can only void the transaction) or the window of time for a linked refund has past (up to 120 days).
2. This will take you to the following transaction screen:
Arctic will give you a few refund amount options, but linked refunds can not exceed the original payment amount. You can either select a preset amount or select the custom amount and enter the exact amount you wish to refund.
Because it is a linked refund, no additional account details need to be provided. The refund will be issued to the same credit card or bank account as the original payment.
3. Once you have selected the appropriate refund amount, click "Submit" to process the refund. Arctic will return you to the invoice page showing the new linked refund in the transaction section as shown here:
The gear icon next to the linked refund allows you to void the refund as long as you do so before the day's batch closes. Once the batch closes, refunds can not be modified or canceled.
Remember: You can only process a linked refund to the original payment account within the window specified by your payment gateway (up to 120 days). If the original transaction is older than 120 days or if you want to issue the refund to another account, you must use the unlinked refund described below.
To process an Unlinked Refund:
1. Go to the "View Invoice" page and click the "+ Add" button next to the "Transactions" section and choose "Refund" > "Unlinked Refund" as shown here:
2. This will take you to the following transaction screen:
Notice again, the different options Arctic gives you for the refund amount. You can select one of the preset options, or select custom and enter the exact amount you want to refund.
Next, select the payment method for the refund.
If you are going to handle the refund outside of Arctic (e.g., cash, check or an on-site credit card terminal), select "Manual Transaction." Select a type (useful for reporting on the end of day balance report) and optionally provide a memo.
Alternatively, if you want to issue a refund to the guest's credit card or bank account through Arctic, you can select either "credit card" or "e-check" for the payment gateway. Because the transaction is not linked with a prior payment, you will have to enter the full credit card account details or the checking account details. If you saved the card information in Arctic, you can select the previously saved card information.
Remember: Not all payment gateways allow unlinked refunds, and many require that you specifically enable the unlinked refund option prior to being able to process unlinked refunds. See the notes below about enabling unlinked refunds.
3. Once you click "Submit," Arctic will process the refund and return you to the invoice showing the new refund in the "Transactions" section:
The gear icon next to the unlinked refund provides access to follow-up actions. If it was a manual transaction, you can edit or delete the transaction, including changing the date, type, memo or amount at any time. If it was a credit card or e-check transaction, you can void it before that day's batch closes. Once the batch has closed, you will no longer be able to make changes to the transaction.
Supporting Unlinked Refunds
Different credit card gateways have different policies on unlinked refunds. Because unlinked refunds allow you to send money to arbitrary credit cards or bank accounts, they either prevent or require additional authorization beforehand.
The most common gateway used by Arctic clients, Authorize.Net, only allows you to process unlinked refunds if you have provided them written authorization (contact Authorize.Net for the form that you must fax to their office). The authorization is known as "Expanded Credit Capabilities."
Because of this authorization step, the "Unlinked Refund" option is hidden for Authorize.Net by default. Once you have filed the "Expanded Credit Capabilities" form with Authorize.Net, you can enable the "Unlinked Refund" option in Arctic. To do so, edit your gateway configuration from the "Settings" page, within the "Credit Card Processing" or "E-Check Processing" section.