Select Page

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Accounting
  4. /
  5. Knowledge
  6. /
  7. What Is ARN &...

Edited by: Kimberlee Leonard
 and Reviewed: Kimberlee Leonard

What Is ARN & How to Track Transactions?

Author: | Sep 27, 2023

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Go Sifter Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.

An ARN or Acquirer Reference Number is a distinct marker assigned to credit or debit card transactions as the funds move from the merchant’s bank to the cardholder’s bank through a payment processor. The reference number is essential for tracking and resolving errors or discrepancies that may occur during the transaction. It ensures transparency and traceability in online payment processes.

Along with it, using key accounting terms is fundamental to accurately tracking financial transactions, ensuring that the acquirer reference number process is managed efficiently.

Merchants and customers can find the acquirer reference number associated with a transaction through various channels:

  • Merchant’s payment platform: Merchants who use payment processors like Stripe or other similar platforms can find the ARN number on their dashboard. The status of the refund process may also be displayed alongside the ARN number.
  • Bank: Customers can contact their bank to obtain the ARN number related to the specific transaction. The bank should have access to this information and can provide it upon request.
  • Receipts and confirmations: Some online payment systems may provide ARN numbers on transaction receipts or confirmation emails. Customers should check these documents for the ARN number if it’s available.
  • Merchant communication: In the case of refund requests or inquiries about the refund process, merchants can directly provide the ARN number to the customer. This ensures transparency and helps customers track the progress of their refunds.

What are Acquirer Reference Number Used For?

  • Transaction tracking: ARN numbers are crucial for tracking the progress of transactions. They provide a way to monitor the status of online transactions, particularly refund transactions. It is important for both merchants and customers to ensure that payments and refunds are processed correctly and promptly.
  • Error resolution: In the event of errors or issues with a transaction, the acquirer reference number allows banks and merchants to locate the specific transaction and investigate the problem. This holds particular value in resolving disputes, guaranteeing proper fund transfers, and furnishing a dependable transaction record.
  • Refunds: ARN numbers play a significant role in refund processes. For card purchases, customers can employ the ARN number to monitor and gain confidence in their refund’s processing.
  • Fraud prevention: ARN numbers help detect and prevent unauthorized transactions and fraudulent activities. By having a unique identifier for each transaction, banks and merchants can quickly identify any suspicious or unauthorized activities and take appropriate actions to protect customers and businesses.

Benefits of the Acquirer Reference Number Code

  • Identification and regulation: It is a unique identification for distributors, brokers, fund agents, and mutual fund advisors. This regulatory requirement ensures the registration and accountability of individuals or entities engaged in fund distribution.
  • Asset tracking: The code facilitates the tracking of assets managed by intermediaries. Investors gain a clear understanding of the assets their chosen intermediary manages, enhancing transparency in the investment process.
  • Brokerage determination: With the ARN code, it becomes easier to determine the brokerage or commission earned by the intermediary. This transparency assists investors in comprehending the costs linked to their investments and guarantees fair compensation for intermediaries.
  • Investor protection: This regulatory oversight safeguards investors from potential cases of fraud and scams. Investors can trust that registered fund advisors will operate by industry standards.
  • Legitimate distribution: An intermediary can legally distribute mutual funds only after obtaining an ARN code. This requirement guarantees the involvement of only authorized and regulated entities in the distribution process, thereby enhancing legitimacy.
  • Flexibility for investors: The ARN code offers flexibility to investors. In the event of wanting to switch distributors, investors can do so without incurring trial commissions. This feature ensures long-term financial security for investors by allowing them to make changes without additional financial implications.

Why is the ARN Code Important? 

The ARN code holds significance for various purposes, including tracking transaction and refund status through payment processors, facilitating issue resolution with banks and customers, and unlocking additional benefits like fraud prevention, reporting, analytics, and integrations provided by the payment processor. The acquirer reference number also serves as a vital identification tool for distributors, brokers, fund agents, and mutual fund advisors. This code ensures transparency, adherence to industry standards, and accountability.

The ARN code is vital for both investors and intermediaries in the case of mutual funds. Its significance lies in simplifying the tracking of accumulated assets by intermediaries. Additionally, it signifies authenticity, as fund agents or brokers receive the code only upon fund management certification. It makes them more trustable.

How to Track Transactions using Acquirer Reference Number

To track transactions using the ARN code, follow these steps:

  • Check the payment platform: If you’re a merchant using payment processors like Stripe, you can find the ARN number on your dashboard. Look for the transaction and its associated ARN, which may have different statuses based on the refund process.
  • Contact your bank: If you’re a customer seeking to track a transaction, you can contact your bank. Provide them with the ARN number, and they should be able to trace the transaction and provide you with relevant information.
  • Update customers: If you’re a merchant, keep your customers informed about the status of their refunds or transactions by sharing the ARN number. This transparency will ensure customer trust and satisfaction.


In conclusion, the Acquirer Reference Number (ARN) plays a crucial role in the market. It serves as an identifier that enhances transparency, enables timely refunds, prevents fraud, builds customer confidence, and ensures regulatory compliance. Accurate tracking of transactions using the ARN number promotes a trustworthy and efficient investor and broker/ fund agent relationship. It safeguards investor interests and maintains the integrity of the transaction process. The ARN code also guarantees the security of the investor’s interests and ensures that distributors adhere to the standards established by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the acquirer reference number code important?

The ARN code is crucial as it identifies legitimate intermediaries in the market. It ensures transparency, adherence to industry standards, fraud prevention, and investor protection. It’s a key requirement for distributors and advisors to operate in the sector.

What documents are required for applying for the ARN Code?
Can the registered intermediaries get delisted on any grounds?
Can I apply for an Acquirer Reference Number without certification?
People Management Skills: Top 15 You Should Know

People Management Skills: Top 15 You Should Know

People management skills are usually in high demand and short supply. If you are a business owner in charge of employees you should look into the skills needed for management. There are lots of ways to not only be there for your staff in times of crisis, but create a...

read more
Employee OffBoarding Checklist: 7 Simple Steps

Employee OffBoarding Checklist: 7 Simple Steps

An employee offboarding checklist is a handy tool to have as a small business owner. Workers in your company will leave, either voluntarily or involuntarily. With an employee offboarding checklist–sometimes called a “termination checklist”–you won’t skip any part of...

read more