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What are the various reasons a transaction is returned?

Transactions may be returned by the bank when presented for payment for any of the following reasons:
  • Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF): An NSF return is when, during the ACH processing period, the customer’s account doesn’t have funds to pay for that transaction. This is the most common return type in both US and Canada.
  • Admin Returns: Admin returns are usually related to some issue in connecting to the customer’s account during the ACH processing. This can happen if the customer’s account is closed, or the account information passed to the ACH is incorrect, causing a problem finding the account or finding that it is invalid (as would be the case if it were closed.)
  • Stopped: Stopped returns occur the consumer instructs their financial institution to stop the transaction. When this occurs the payment is required to be charged back (or stopped) to the merchant while it is still being processed in the ACH.
  • Unauthorized: An unauthorized return happens when a consumer claims they did not authorize the transaction. These occur after the payment has processed, requiring the payment to be charged back (past ACH processing) to the merchant.
  • Frozen: Frozen returns occur when a payment is attempted from a frozen account. This may be due to specific actions taken by the consumer’s financial institution, or by legal actions taken and enforced by the bank.


Note: Consumers who wish to learn more about the reason for a specific transaction return should contact their financial institution.

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