At a Glance

One of the many advantages of using credit cards is their convenience when making purchases, but what happens when you need to reverse a transaction? Let’s explore the ins and outs of credit card refunds, from how they work to their impact on your credit score.

In this article, you’ll learn:



The average chargeback rate across all industries.

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How do credit card refunds work?

Credit card refunds are a mechanism that allows you to reverse a credit card transaction, effectively returning the funds to your account. This can occur for various reasons, like returning a purchased item, resolving billing disputes, or receiving compensation for a canceled service.

To initiate a credit card refund, you typically contact the merchant where you made the purchase and request the refund. The merchant will then process the refund through their payment processor, and the funds will be returned to your credit card account.

How long does it take to get a credit card refund?

The timeframe for receiving a credit card refund can vary. Generally, it may take a few business days for the refund to appear in your credit card account. However, the exact duration depends on several factors, including the merchant’s processing time, the credit card issuer’s policies, and the method of refund (e.g., credit to your card or a check).

Disadvantages of credit card refund

While credit card refunds can be a lifesaver in certain situations, they do come with some disadvantages that you should be aware of:

1. Lose rewards

When you make a purchase with a rewards credit card, you earn points, miles, or cashback. If you later request a refund for that purchase, you may lose the rewards you initially earned.

2. Get stuck with foreign transaction fee

If you made an international purchase and requested a refund, you might be stuck with foreign transaction fees. These fees can add up, negating some or all of the refunded amount.

Does a credit card refund hurt your credit score?

No, requesting a credit card refund does not directly impact your credit score. However, if you consistently request refunds or dispute numerous transactions, it could raise concerns with your credit card issuer. This may lead to them reviewing your account more closely.

How are credit card refunds issued?

Credit card refunds are typically issued in the same form as the original transaction. If you paid with a credit card, the refund will go back to your credit card account. If you used cash or a debit card, the refund might be issued as cash or credited to your bank account.

What happens if you get a negative balance after a refund?

In some cases, a refund can result in a negative balance on your credit card account. This means the credit card issuer owes you money. You can choose to leave the negative balance on your card for future purchases or request a refund of the negative balance amount.

Difference between refunds and chargeback

It’s essential to differentiate between refunds and chargebacks. A refund is initiated by you, the cardholder, to return a purchase. On the other hand, a chargeback is initiated by the credit card issuer in response to a dispute or fraudulent transaction.


Unfortunately, depending on your credit card issuer’s policies, you may lose the rewards earned from a refunded purchase.

Yes, a credit card refund can offset your outstanding balance, reducing the amount you owe.

A refund typically appears as a credit or negative balance on your credit card statement. This reflects the refunded amount.

You may be stuck with foreign transaction fees with international purchases, but the refund process remains the same. As mentioned earlier, you may lose the reward points earned from the refunded purchase.

Refunds can be credited back to your credit card account or, in some cases, issued as a direct deposit into your bank account, depending on the merchant’s policies.

Whether you will lose your reward points when you take a credit card refund depends on the terms and conditions of your credit card issuer and the specific rewards program associated with your card. In most cases though the reward points (which can include bonus pointsor cash back earned from the purchase will be deducted from your points once the transaction has been posted. Some credit card issuers have a separate rewards points account that is not directly tied to your credit card transactions. In this case, your reward points may not be affected by refunds or returns.

In most cases, a refund will be issued to the same credit card used for the original purchase. However, if that’s not possible, the merchant may offer alternative refund methods.

Refunds typically appear as pending transactions and are finalized within a few business days.