Retrieval Requests and Fees: What You Need to Know in 2023

Our business expert explains everything you need to know about retrieval requests and the fees that come with them. Learn how to respond to these requests.

When a customer makes a purchase from your business, the transaction details travel from your payment provider to their credit card provider, known as the issuing bank. When the issuing bank needs more information, they may send a retrieval request to the acquiring bank that holds your business accounts.

The processor charges a retrieval fee to resolve the issue. If you don't respond to the request for more information, you could receive a chargeback for the purchase. In this guide, we'll help you prepare for retrieval requests so you can avoid costly fees and chargebacks.


What Is a Retrieval Fee?

Payment processors charge a retrieval fee when an issuing bank requests transaction information from your bank. Retrieval fees range from a few dollars to $20 or more, depending on your merchant account contract.

Reasons for Retrieval Requests

You could receive a retrieval request if:

  • The issuing bank flags the charge as fraud if it's an unusual purchase for their customer.
  • An error at the point-of-sale terminal prevents transmission of necessary information to complete the transaction.
  • The customer disputes the sale because they're not satisfied with the purchase or don't recognize the charge.
  • The transaction amount billed doesn't match the expected amount of the sale. 
  • The customer wants more information for personal records but no longer has the sales receipt.

Depending on the result of the retrieval, your merchant account could receive a chargeback for the questionable transaction. This can happen even for valid transactions if you don't have the receipts to answer the request.

How to Respond to a Retrieval Request

Usually, the issuing bank wants to see a copy of the sales draft, so you should save these receipts for at least three years. Credit card companies also require you to save sales drafts for a certain amount of time (180 days for Visa and three years for Mastercard).

Your merchant services provider should have a policy about handling retrievals and chargebacks. You can review your contract so you know what to expect in this situation. Often, for example, the provider will address the request without contacting you for additional info. Other providers ask you to provide documentation directly.

Credit card companies usually require retrieval responses from the acquiring bank within 20 to 30 days before issuing a chargeback for the purchase. As the merchant, you'll need to respond to requests from your provider as soon as possible, so they have the information they need to avoid a chargeback.

You can proactively reduce retrieval requests with a clear customer satisfaction policy. If your customers know how to reach you if they're unhappy with a purchase, they'll be more likely to contact you for help instead of filing a credit card dispute.

How to Choose a Merchant Service Provider

Selecting a merchant service provider with a transparent fee structure can help you avoid steep unexpected charges for retrieval requests. charges an easy-to-understand flat rate for each transaction through our one-stop-shop payment infrastructure. It provides everything you need to accept credit and debit cards from your customers and track your transactions as well as handling retrievals and other requests. Click here to sign up now!

The Bottom Line 

Retrieval requests can cause issues if you aren't ready to respond. However, you can reduce their impact on your business by maintaining several years of receipt records and having clear customer service policies. 

If you don't understand the fee structure of your merchant account, you should consider switching to for full transparency about your charges.


What's the best way for my business to accept credit card payments? puts payments at your fingertips with a simple setup. You can add a customized checkout page to your website or send secure Pay Links so your customers can safely submit their credit card information.

When you log into your account, you'll be able to manage transactions, select payment methods, and much more. Click here to get started now!

What's the difference between a chargeback and a retrieval?

Retrieval is a request for more information from the issuing bank, while chargeback means the bank reversed the charges and refunded the customer's money. Sometimes retrievals are called "soft chargebacks" because they often come before a chargeback occurs. Providing detailed information in response to a retrieval request can reduce the chance of a chargeback.

Are retrieval fees a scam?

Retrieval fees aren't a scam, but they might be unexpected if your merchant services provider isn't clear about charges. You can avoid this surprise expense by working with a provider who spells out transparent payment policies in your merchant services contract. Click here to find out what has to offer.

How can my business prepare for retrieval requests?

Keeping sales drafts is the best way to be ready for retrieval requests. You should save receipts from all your company's credit card transactions for at least three years from the date of purchase. You can also reduce the cost of retrievals by selecting a merchant services provider with transparent, affordable fees.

Meet the author
Andrea Miller
Andrea Miller has been a writer and editor for more than two decades. Specializing in business and finance, she has written for some of the major websites in the financial sector. Outside of work, she spends most of her time with her family and enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading.
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