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A refund returns funds to the payer for an amount that they have paid previously. The most common reason for a refund would be in instances of students who have prepaid leaving the program or paid a deposit, or if a parent contact overpaid the student’s account balance by a meaningful amount. In most cases of an overpayment, the additional funds will be reflected as a credit, or positive balance, on the student's account and will be deducted from future charges, so a refund is not always necessary.
Please Note: Issuing a refund takes 5-10 business days to fully process and post to the payer's account. The timing largely depends on the banking institutions the funds are flowing in and out of.
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When to Issue a Refund
Brightwheel’s billing platform has a great credit feature that helps empower administrators to adjust charges. Oftentimes, simply issuing a credit that will reduce the balance owed by a parent for current or future charges should be enough to resolve an issue.
An account credit is an extra or overpayment made on a student’s account and results in a positive balance that sits on a student’s billing account. By default, the credit will be used to pay upcoming charges. Or, the account credit can be refunded back to the payer. Issuing a credit is NOT the same as issuing a refund.
That said, there are cases where a refund to the payer might be required, such as a meaningful overpayment, or if the student is leaving the program and will no longer incur new charges. In the end, deciding whether a refund should be issued is a decision best made between the program and the payer(s) involved.
It’s important to note that administrators can only issue a refund for payments that have cleared. Pending payment cannot be stopped or refunded. Once cleared, funds can be refunded back to the payment method used for the original payment. For example, if a payment is made via check, the refund will need to be made as an offline payment via check or cash. Refunds cannot be processed on a different card or bank account.
Additionally, refunds for payments older than 85 days cannot be issued online. Instead, you will need to issue an offline refund (cash or check) for these transactions.
Issuing a Refund
Refunds can only be issued when a student has a credit on their account. A credit could be the result of a parent overpaying or an administrator reducing or voiding a charge that was already been paid. A credit is NOT the same as a refund.
There are no additional processing fees associated with a refund. Any processing fees that were charged at the time of payment will NOT be refunded to the party that paid the processing fee (payer or school).
Once it has been decided that a refund is warranted, a refund can be issued directly from the student’s billing account page:
Navigate to the student’s Billing Account page
Click on the ? in the upper right-hand corner of the green This Account has a credit of tile
Click Issue a refund
Enter the amount that needs to be refunded up to the total amount of the account credit and provide a reason and complete the remaining fields
Click Issue refund
Refunds will display in the Posted Transactions section of the student's billing account page and will be included in the next statement.
Please Note: In rare instances, a refund may fail which will delay the refunding process. It is recommended that the administrator double-checks to ensure that they are returning funds to the correct payment method and selecting an appropriate refundable amount. If there are questions about why a refund failed, please start a conversation with our Support team.