How to trace a refund using reference numbers

To trace a refund, customers can use the reference number provided on the Stripe Dashboard. It could be an Acquirer Reference Number (ARN), a System Trace Audit Number (STAN), or a Retrieval Reference Number (RRN).

There are times when a customer might write in asking for the status of their refund. To do this, you can provide them with the Acquirer Reference Number (ARN), which allows them to work with their bank to trace the refund for all Visa and Mastercard charges. System Trace Audit Numbers (STANs) are sometimes required to track the status of a refund, like in cases of reversals. Some networks do not support ARN, in which case you can provide your customers the Retrieval Reference Number (RRN) if available. You only need one of the above references in order to track your refund.

What is an Acquirer Reference Number (ARN)?

An Acquirer Reference Number (ARN) is a unique number assigned to a credit card transaction as it moves through the payment flow. It can be used by banks to help trace your refund if it appears to be missing. An ARN will be available only for supported card networks, and marked as unavailable otherwise.

What the different ARN statuses mean

What is a System Trace Audit Number (STAN)?

A System Trace Audit Number (STAN) is a number generated by the cardholder bank that can be used to identify a transaction. STAN is a trace ID number most commonly used internally at the cardholders bank. It’s always a six-digit code, and therefore is not truly unique as the code resets after 999,999.

What is a Retrieval Reference Number (RRN)? 

A Retrieval Reference Number is a 12-character identifier to a card transaction based on the ISO 8583 standard. The standard format for an RRN includes the date and hour of the authorization, making it somewhat unique. For some networks that do not support ARN, a RRN will be provided if it is available.

When customers should use ARNs vs. STANs vs. RRNs

In most cases, we recommend customers use an Acquirer Reference Number (ARN) if available. An ARN is a unique number assigned to a credit card transaction as it moves through the payment flow. Because STANs are six digit codes, they are not truly unique, but are useful when ARNs are not available in cases such as reversals. Depending on network supportability, sometimes RRN is provided instead of ARN. RRN is somewhat unique and often useful to track single message network transactions.

Where to find references in the Dashboard

In your Stripe Dashboard, under the Timeline section of the payment details page, click "View details" under the refund entry. The reference can be found in the top-up window:


Can I get references for non-card refunds? 

Some local payment methods, like SEPA Direct Debit, offer refund references which can also be found in the Stripe Dashboard if available.