— Finance

Service promising near-instant refunds due for pre-Christmas rollout

Have they ever waited 90 days to get their cash back from a product refund? Many have. But that’s set to be a thing of the past. Service promises to slash the time shoppers wait for refunds for returned items from up to 90 days to just moments – and in time for the busy Christmas season. Consumers increasingly buy from online marketplaces, particularly on significant annual sales events like Black Friday. At the same time, the shift to digital payments in-store has accelerated in the past 18-19 months, mainly due to the pandemic.

Mastercard Australasia’s vice president of products and innovation, Surin Fernando, says one in three consumers is now using a smartwatch or smartphone to make payments. “Retailers have thought about omnichannel, and they’ve thought about how to accelerate that buy online, pick up in-store, or even just digitize that in-store experience,” Mr. Fernando told NCA NewsWire. But even with digital transactions, the refund process isn’t always straightforward and can take too long. “We’ve also seen consumers start to think ‘how can I buy multiple products and almost try before I buy?’… and potentially return five of six dresses because they might not fit my look, outfit, or color choice.”


While the average time to secure a refund is five business days, it can be much longer. That might not bother many people if the purchase price is minimal, but it can be a cash flow problem for more significant transactions. “I bought a lounge, and it was fundamentally wrong, from a right chaise to a left chaise for my living room, and it was a $ 3,500 purchase … and it took me three weeks to get a refund,” Mr. Fernando said. He said his company had invested in expanding its existing Mastercard Send service for the past two years to “make that refund process as fast and as seamless and hassle-free as possible for consumers”. It would be rolled out before the end of this year and promised to get cashback to consumers within seconds, Mr. Fernando said.

Whether a retailer insisted on having the product back in their hands before they processed the refund or exchanged products varied; still, he said a loyal, longstanding, and valued customer could sometimes have it automated. “We’ve seen instances where that’s the delightful customer experience,” Mr. Fernando said. Several marketplaces also allowed customers the convenience of returning items to outlets such as newsagents that could then be verified, he said.

“Recently, I ended up exchanging an item, and one of them was a full refund, and all I needed to do was provide the information in an online portal,” Mr. Fernando said. “I then took that email receipt through, which had a code on it … and I dropped it off at an affiliated storage facility. “The piece that is the missing link for the consumer in most instances is ‘I’ve done all the work, I’ve filled the online form out, or I’ve dropped the item off to a location, or I’ve been able to get the item picked up by a logistics provider but what I want is my money. “We’re bridging the gap to ensure the refund … is done instantaneously and seamlessly.”

Gemma Broadhurst
I am a writer by profession, and I love to write in my spare time. I am one of the most experienced writer for newspriest. I always make sure that whatever is written on my blog is 100% genuine and true. I am a University of Florida graduate pursuing a Master's degree.

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