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Overview offers two methods of processing credits (refunds), Linked and Unlinked, and there are important differences. The most important of these is CMS currently only supports Unlinked Credits. This article explains the differences between them and includes useful related links and information.

Linked Credits

This type of credit/refund will only work for charges that were initially processed through, are not greater than the purchase amount, and whose original charge was in the last 120 days. If ever have situations where you accept returns and will process a refund more than 120 days after the initial sale, linked credits are not an option for you.

Unlinked Credits

This transaction type is used to issue a refund for a transaction that was not originally submitted through the payment gateway. It also allows the merchant to override restrictions for submitting refunds for payment gateway transactions, for example, if the merchant is beyond the 120-day period for submitting a refund or would like to refund an amount that is greater than the original transaction amount.

The ability to submit unlinked credits is not a standard feature of a merchant’s payment gateway account. To be enabled for expanded credits capability (ECC), the merchant must submit an application. For more information about the ECC application please click the ECC application link.

CMS processes all refunds through as unlinked credits. As such you must enable the ECC option in your account by completing and submitting the ECC application.

Key Differences

  • There is no processing rate or fee difference between linked and unlinked credits.
  • Unlinked credits are more flexible and are essential when you:
    • transitioned onto from another payment gateway (and thus would need to process refunds on charges originally processed through a different gateway)
    • your business needs to process refunds beyond 120 days from the original sale
    • refunding available customer credit
    • would need to refund to a card when the initial sale is not known (returning without a receipt/invoice, common in POS)
    • would ever need to refund for an amount greater than the original purchase
  • Linked credits lack the flexibility of unlinked credits but do offer additional security by knowing will not allow an operator to refund more to a card than was originally charged.


While linked credits offer some security benefits, the majority of our merchants could not operate within their constraints and require the ability to process unlinked credits. For this reason CMS was designed to work with unlinked credits and does not currently support linked credits.

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