Instant Exchange

Last Updated: February 22, 2024

Streamline the exchange process by offering customers the option to have the new items shipped immediately while protecting your business from fraud.

What is Instant Exchange?

With instant exchanges, customers can have their new items shipped right away instead of waiting for the returned items to be sent back.

During a normal exchange, the customer requests an exchange, ships back the items, and receives an invoice for the exchange order, which must be paid before the new items are shipped.

In an instant exchange, on the other hand, customers provide their credit card details during RMA creation, enabling the new items to be shipped right away. 

This improves the customer experience in several ways:

  1. Waiting time - Customers get their new items much faster compared to a regular exchange.
  2. Flow - Customers provide their credit card information in the portal while requesting the exchange, saving them from having to pay invoices later on.
  3. Fraud - Instant exchanges reduce the chance that the RMA will get stuck due to unpaid invoices.

This convenience is contingent on the customer's agreement to authorize a charge for the price of the new items if the original items aren’t returned within a specified amount of time or in the required condition. This is done to protect your business against fraud.

If the customer does ship the items back, the authorized amount is used to cover price differences and fees.

However, if you discover an issue with the item during item validation, you can still charge the customer the full amount, as long as the customer hasn't yet been charged for the price difference and fees.


This feature is available as an add-on

To use the instant exchange feature, you will need:

  • Activated instant exchange
    • If the instant exchange feature isn't included in your plan, you can add it as an add-on. Once you have the feature, you'll be able to enable it in your settings.
  • An integration with Stripe
    • Ensure you have an active Stripe integration for processing payments and authorizations directly within the portal.
  • An eligible return policy rule
    • Create policy rules that are eligible for instant exchanges with the following criteria:


Instant exchanges result in a win-win scenario where the customer enjoys faster exchanges and you are compensated for items that aren’t returned.

Here's how instant exchange works:

  1. A customer selects the Instant Exchange option during the exchange process.

2. They input their payment information in the Stripe checkout system.

3. The full exchange price, along with applicable fees, is authorized as a pending transaction on the customer's payment method.

4. The RMA is automatically approved.

5. ReturnGO generates a new order in Shopify that includes price differences and pending fees. 

a. This order is automatically marked as Paid

6. Once the return shipment’s status is updated to the relevant trigger, the exchange order's payment amount is charged.
7. Any remaining hold on the authorization is released.
8. If the customer doesn’t return the items within the specified amount of time, a second order is created with items added to complete the payment of the full amount that was authorized.

a. This second order is automatically marked as Paid.

9. The Stripe payment ID is documented in the order notes on Shopify.

Payment Amounts

The amount the customer authorizes includes:

  • The full amount of the new items
  • Return label fee when applicable
  • Deductible fees for which there are no refunds from which to deduct

When the payment is automatically captured, the amount depends on the situation:

  • Best case (items are returned and in suitable condition) - any relevant fees and price differences.
  • Worst case (items aren’t returned or aren’t in suitable condition) - anywhere from the new item's price to the full amount.

In the event that you need to refund the customer for the captured payment:

  • If the original order still has sufficient balance, you can refund there.
  • Otherwise, you’ll need to refund them through Stripe or manually in another manner.

How to Configure Instant Exchange

To configure instant exchanges for your ReturnGO account:

  1. Go to the Settings > Store Settings page.
  2. Open the In-Portal Payments section. 

3. Turn on the Enable Instant Exchange toggle.

4. Define how long customers have to return their original items before the authorized payment is captured.

5. Define the trigger for when ReturnGO will automatically capture the exchange balance and release the rest of the hold - when the returned items are in transit, received, or validated. This can be customized per policy rule.

6. Set if you want all exchanges to be instant exchanges or not.

7. Click on the save icon. 


The RMA card of the relevant exchange request will display the associated payment. The RMA card shows:

  • Authorized amount
  • Authorization date
  • Authorization expiration date
  • Captured amount
  • Capture date

All actions related to the payment are documented in the internal notes section of the RMA card.

The payments are captured by your Stripe account and will be transferred to your Stripe balance or bank account as defined in your Stripe settings.

Once the exchange is complete, the exchange order and price difference/fees order will both be marked as paid on Shopify.

Email Notifications

Email notifications are sent to customers to keep them informed about the instant exchange:

  • Reminder email (7 days before expiration)
    • This email informs customers that their authorization will expire soon, reminding them to return the items to avoid being charged.
  • Final reminder email (1 day before expiration)
    • Sent a day before the authorization expires, this email urges customers to take action to avoid being charged.