How long should a business keep credit card receipts?
This is a very common question most businesses forget to ask once their credit card processing account has been approved and set up. Retaining credit card receipts for too long can become cumbersome and difficult. Retaining credit card receipts for too short a period can expose the business to liability.
The main reason your business needs to hold onto the transaction receipt signed by the customer is to fight chargebacks. A chargeback is the process of a customer disputing a charge that shows up on their credit card statement. There are many reasons customers chargeback against a business. Some reasons include; incorrect products or service received, fraud, unrecognized charge, etc. When a chargeback is initiated against your business the only defense is a signed copy of the sales receipt which includes the customer’s signature. The bank will use the credit card receipt to match the signature they have on file.
Another important aspect of retaining credit card receipts is for tax purposes. Only your accountant can advise you on the retention period relative to taxes but typically 7 to 10 years is sufficient.
The statute of limitations pertaining to customer initiated chargebacks is 18 months from the time the transaction appears on the statements. So, for chargeback purposes it is important to keep you business credit card receipts for 18 month.