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Comment: Stripe refund update


Please see the Fall 2020 Payment System Update for details on the transition from FirstData to










Whom do you recommend?

inLeague's current recommendation for Merchant Services is Paysafe: 

  • Account contacts: 

    Edwin Alcantro

  • Backup contact:  Allen Hatfield, 617-337-3995 -

  •  General Sales/Support:  877-884-7477

  • Iindicate that your league is a client of inLeague and part of AYSO
  • Flagship Merchant Services (our previous recommendation) was bought by Paysafe; they are the same entity.


Role - Transaction Broker through Stripe

The inLeague system is designed to broker transactions between leagues and participants (parents and volunteers). This means that we package up all the relevant data for a transaction and send it to your a credit card processor, and then record the response. We do not charge a fee for this service; it is part of your regular subscription to our software.

inLeague does not ever store credit card or billing data beyond the absolute minimum required to facilitate transactions between your league and your merchant account.inLeague does not have a relationship with any merchant services provider and receives no incentives for steering leagues to one provider over another.  We comply with PCI data security standards with respect to the data we collect, and also the data used by our software that we do not collect but which whose transmission we facilitate. 

Given the importance of processing credit cards to every organization that collects fees, we have an interest in a smooth and successful business relationship between our constituent leagues and their merchant services provider. To that end, we periodically act have historically acted as a consensus-gatherer and representative on our leagues' behalf so that we might leverage the buying power of all of our customers. This is a service we provide as a courtesy; inLeague does not process credit cards , or collect fees for processing credit cards, or hold any capacity beyond advice with respect to your league's merchant services account.

May we use any merchant services provider?

There are dozens (if not hundreds) of companies providing merchant services on the Internet. It makes no difference to inLeague which merchant service provider you use; however, they must support as a payment gateway. Please note that support for Firstdata merchant accounts is ending on December 31, 2019. 

There are three advantages to using the same merchant services provider as other inLeague regions:

  1. Because your account will be under an inLeague 'umbrella', you will receive advantageous rates if your league can be grouped together with other leagues. This is strictly for rate negotiation; your merchant account cannot be accessed by another league or AYSO National.
  2. inLeague handles PCI compliance for all Paysafe accounts. This can be a costly and time-consuming process, and inLeague is not able to provide any support to assist with compliance with non-Paysafe accounts.
  3. Customer support: inLeagues have a single account representative that understands your business and ours.

How much does it cost to accept credit cards?

The rates depend on your merchant services provider, the type of agreement your league has with that provider, and the type of card being processed.

Most merchant providers will offer two types of pricing structures. Please note that the following examples are meant only to illustrate concepts; please consult your merchant services representative for an explanation appropriate to your service. 

  • Interchange Plans are typically promoted as the most cost-effective, but it can be difficult to determine your average rates. There are dozens if not hundreds of different rates not just for the major card brands like American Express or Mastercard, but also significant variety in rates between product lines and issuing banks. For example, instead of "the Mastercard rate" or even "The Capital One Mastercard rate," there might be one rate for "Capital One Professional" and another rate for "Capital One Quicksilver Rewards." Under an interchange plan, the merchant services provider charges a fixed percentage over and above the applicable rate set by the issuing bank for the particular card used in the transaction. The advantage is that you know your merchant service provider is only taking .05% of each transaction; the disadvantage is that you have no way of knowing what rates the issuing banks are charging for any particular card until after the transaction has settled. Not only are there hundreds of interchange rates, but they can and do change all the time. Nevertheless, most merchant services providers will recommend interchange plans for leagues that do not expect corporate, government, or international credit cards to be used very often.
  • Tiered plans divide all cards into a much smaller number of categories, typically qualified and unqualified transactions, where qualified transactions might consist of any card that is not a government or international credit card; these receive a preferable rate to unqualified transactions. All transactions will be billed at one rate or the other, regardless of the rate charged by the issuing bank. This seems (to us, anyway) more manageable, but at the cost of what might be higher rates across the board.

How do refunds work?

(May 2020 Update): Please note that has temporarily suspended the Expanded Credit Capability program due to increased fraud stemming from the pandemic.  If your account currently has ECC capability, you should expect that it will be suspended. If it does not, you will not be able to receive it until further notice. We are working with Paysafe and to find a new solution, but at this time none is forthcoming and the expectation should be that any refund outside of 120 days must be done via paper check.


When a transaction is first submitted, it goes into an "unsettled" batch. While e-commerce transactions are approved or rejected right away, approved transactions only "settle" once a day. The exact time that they settle is determined by your merchant services provider. 

Prior to a transaction settling, it may be voided, and no transaction fees should be incurred. After it has settled, without special arrangements, a transaction may be refunded within 120 days. This is a very common restriction in the credit card industry as the payment processors do not want to keep card numbers on file for longer than that. This restriction is not put in place or enforced by inLeague. The only way around it (if is your payment gateway) was to apply for Expanded Credit Capabilities ("ECC") which allow arbitrary (or "unlinked") refunds to be issued against any card. inLeague will still constrain refunds such that they can only be issued against existing transactions.  

Refunds and Expired / Canceled Cards

Almost all refunds are "linked" to the original transaction and can only be applied to the card used for that transaction. If a card expires and is re-issued with a new expiration date, typically this will not prevent refund processing; the account number is the same and the payment gateway considers it the same card; expiration dates can be validated for payments but they are not validated for refunds. 

If a card has been canceled or re-issued due to fraud such that the card number has changed, then the original account is no longer active and refunds cannot be issued through the normal mechanism. The only way to issue a refund to a new card is to use the ECC process described above, but also to issue the refund directly through the payment gateway. inLeague will not allow you to enter a new card number for an "unlinked" refund, but the payment gateway will; this is a security consideration since numerous people in a league may have access to issue refunds from inLeague, while only one or two will have a login to the payment gateway.  Refunds issued in this manner will not "show" on inLeague, so we recommend entering these as check refunds so that the amount is recorded on the inLeague side as well as in the payment gateway 

Over the years, it has become evident that our leagues may derive some benefit should inLeague assume a larger role in this process, and we are currently investigating this possibility for 2021 or later.

Stripe: Card Processing for inLeague from Summer 2020 on

Every league must have at least one Stripe account. inLeague initiates the setup process, which is then completed on-line by a league commissioner or treasurer. Leagues with multiple bank accounts that wish to segregate funds by program may set up additional Stripe accounts at no additional charge.

You may use a single Stripe account for all programs and events for your league, or you may set up multiple Stripe accounts if you need funds from those accounts to be deposited into different bank accounts. The only limitation is that each Stripe account must have a unique email address – you cannot sign up for two Stripe accounts under the same email. We recommend using a league-affiliated email, and if you have more than one account, you may use an email alias. For example, if your email is, you could set up a second account under – email to that second address will still go to (as email accounts ignore everything after a + sign) but it will still be counted as a separate address under Stripe.

General questions about inLeague's integration with Stripe may be sent to inLeague support at Specific questions about Stripe's fees or individual transactions should be sent to the inLeague account representative at Stripe:

Legacy Accounts Prior to Fall 2020

Legacy FirstData and accounts were arranged through Paysafe. Paysafe / accounts will be supported through October 31, 2020. Refunds may be issued after that date but no new charges may be sent after 10/31/2020. 

  • Account contact: 

    Edwin Alcantro

  •  General Sales/Support:  877-884-7477

  • Iindicate that your league is a client of inLeague and part of AYSO
  • Flagship Merchant Services (our previous recommendation) was bought by Paysafe; they are the same entity.

May we use any merchant services provider?

For many years, it made no difference to inLeague which merchant service provider our leagues used.  Eventually, the cost – both in volunteer time and limitations of many payment gateways – outweighed the benefits.  All leagues must process payments through Stripe beginning November 1, 2020.

Refunds and Expired / Canceled Cards

Q: Are we charged fees for refunds?

A: Stripe Fees are charged at the time the charge is initiated. There are no additional charges for refunds, but under ordinary circumstances, the original fees are not returned per Stripe's policy.  If if charge is made for $100, $3.00 is subtracted (2.7% plus 30 cents) and $97 is credited to your Stripe account. If you later refund the entire charge, $100 is deducted from your Stripe account. If there is not a sufficient balance, Stripe will debit your linked bank account. There are two exceptions:

  1. Refunds made shortly after the charge is submitted (aka "reversals" or "voids"): Transactions 'settle' less than 24 hours after they are submitted. Refunds issued before a transaction settles do not incur Stripe Fees – but there is no way for inLeague to determine when a transaction has settled. 
  2. Exceptional Cases (e.g. global pandemics): Depending on the reasons why refunds are being issued, Stripe has in certain cases returned all of their fees. Outside of large-scale scenarios, Stripe's willingness to do so is between the league and Stripe.

Q: Can a transaction be refunded if the original card used has expired or been replaced?

A: Stripe handles refunds a little differently than other processors. Previously, there was a good chance that a card that had been re-issued, either because of a expiration or fraud, would not accept a refund. Stripe has a mechanism called Automatic Card Updater that works with payment networks to automatically update cards on file in these cases so that recurring transactions and refunds will work even if the card number has changed, but whether this mechanism catches any particular card depends upon the issuer. In practical terms, this means that refunds are less likely to be declined; however, when declines do happen, they may not happen right away, because Stripe makes an attempt to reconcile any updates to the card that inLeague may not be aware of. If it is unsuccessful, a refund that had been flagged as processed will be voided, and inLeague will attempt to notify the party that issued the refund and the party responsible for the charge.

It is not possible to issue a refund to an entirely separate card (called an 'un-linked credit'). Neither Stripe nor inLeague support un-linked credits. 

Transactions Issued Through Stripe

It is possible to use your Stripe account for any league-related purpose outside of inLeague. Any software that can integrate with Stripe, or Stripe's own Customer Portal, can work with your account to collect funds. 

inLeague Transactions: For the time being, any transaction issued through Stripe (rather than through inLeague) will not be reflected on inLeague: a registration payment that is refunded through Stripe will not be dropped or recorded in the inLeague ledger. This may change in the future as inLeague's software integration with Stripe improves

Is it possible to maintain multiple


Stripe accounts?

Yes. inLeague has the following mechanisms to collect funds: