What Are Retrieval Requests?

Dec 15, 2020

Retrieval requests occur when a cardholder’s bank requires more information about a transaction. This request is typically made to the merchant and may include a request for documentation to support the transaction or clarification on the details surrounding the customer’s purchase. Below, we discuss everything you need to know about retrieval requests, including what to expect from different credit card providers, how to respond to them, and how they can be used to prevent chargebacks.

Why You Might Receive Retrieval Requests

Retrieval requests are regulated by card brands and those regulations can vary from one issuer to another, as can the retrieval reasons. In most cases, retrieval requests are sent to protect consumers from fraud or card misuse; however, there are other reasons that these requests may be sent. The most common retrieval request reasons include:

  • The customer is missing a receipt or other information and needs it for their personal or business records
  • An item has been paid for but not shipped/received and the customer requires more information about when their purchase will arrive
  • The customer wants a refund on the item they’ve purchased and wants confirmation of your company’s return policy
  • The customer or their bank suspects that the transaction is fraudulent
  • Law enforcement requires information to help with an investigation

What to Expect When You Receive a Retrieval Request

A retrieval request is initiated by the card issuer/bank and sent to the merchant’s bank. In some cases, a merchant may never see the request as information can often be provided to the issuer by the merchant bank. However, in cases where the bank cannot provide the requested information, these requests are forwarded to you, the merchant.

If you receive a retrieval request, it is up to you to prepare the requested information and return it to your bank by the deadline provided with your request. The request should also include information about how to submit the requested information.

Preventing Chargebacks When You Receive Retrieval Requests

While it doesn’t always happen, some retrieval requests can lead to chargebacks. When this occurs, it is usually a direct result of the response you send to your bank. By providing clear, concise information about the transaction in a timely manner, you can usually avoid a chargeback. That being said, if you don’t reply to the retrieval request or if you don’t supply the information that the card issuer requested, some credit card brands will automatically issue a chargeback and revoke your right to dispute the chargeback.

Preventing chargebacks by preparing an adequate response

The best way to prevent having a retrieval request turn into a chargeback is by responding as quickly as possible and providing all the requested information. Additionally, it’s vital that you make sure all the documents you supply are legible. If possible, send additional supporting information to your bank to ensure that the card issuer has everything they need to confirm the validity of the transaction.

FAQs About Retrieval Requests

Are there fees associated with retrieval requests?

Retrieval requests often come with some fee, which varies depending on the credit card and the issuing bank. Additionally, if you fail to respond to the request on time you may be required to pay additional processing fees.

How long do I have to respond to a retrieval request?

Retrieval request deadlines vary depending on the credit card. While AMEX requires merchants to respond to requests within 20 days, Discover, Visa, and MasterCard offer a 30-day deadline. It’s important to note that these deadlines are in place for the acquiring bank, so as a merchant, you may have a shorter period of time to gather and send documentation.

How long after the transaction will I receive a retrieval request if one is necessary?

Again, this depends on the card issuer. Amex transactions aren’t regulated, meaning that a customer or bank can initiate a retrieval at any point. Discover allows requests to be initiated up to 365 days past the transaction date, while MasterCard and Visa only allow requests within 120 days.

What’s included in a retrieval request?

When you receive a retrieval request, it will include details about the transaction that allow you to easily find the right documentation. This includes:

  • Customer name
  • Card number and expiry date
  • Dollar amount and date of the transaction
  • Authorization code
  • Reference number
  • Card-issuer reason code for the retrieval request

Using the above information, you can access receipts and other supporting documentation to prove the validity of the transaction, if necessary.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with retrieval requests is that your response is required as quickly as possible and that all requested documentation must be provided.

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