Coronavirus RunSignup FAQ

We are getting many questions, and will collect the common ones here. We have several information blog posts out already:

My Chargeback Reserve / Holdback does not seem to match your 20%/50% calculation?

Our first release of the software on March 10 uncovered a bug in MySQL that effectively used a different number for some races. This resulted in some races having less or more withheld than expected. We have coded around this, and this is now functional for future payment releases.

In future weeks, the math will become complicated to do with the compounding effect of the 50% paid out and 20% in reserve. Over time the number should approach or equal 20%.

We apologize for this. Software sometimes has issues and we know this strikes at the very heart of what our purpose is in moving money.

Chargebacks don’t seem fair. Our race has costs and participants shouldn’t be able to get their money back – I have a No Refund Policy. Doesn’t RunSignup fight chargebacks?

Yes, we have been fighting chargebacks for races for 10 years. We are pretty good at it, but it is a bit of a black box process where the credit card companies are in control and increasingly favor their cardholders.

For Coronavirus, the chargeback rate and the challenge rate are complete unknowns at this time. And we will likely not have statistics on this for 60+ days, which is a long, long time given the speed things are moving.

How will the mandatory 20% holdback work?

RunSignup will begin (effective March 10, 2020) withholding 50% of registration proceeds that would normally be paid over to a race to build a refund reserve that is equal to 20% of overall registration proceeds for a race. 

As an example, let’s say a race has been paid $8,000 of registration fees. To create a 20% refund reserve this would imply an initial reserve of $1,600 needs to be built up. During the past week (since the last RunSignup payment) the race has collected $1,000 of new fees (this includes registration fees and donations that are paid directly to the race).  We will pay the race 50% of that ($500) and put the other 50% into the reserve. We will repeat this process until the amount of the reserve equals 20% of the overall registration proceeds for the race. Both the 20% holdback requirement and the percentage of payments (50%) that we use to build the reserve are subject to review and update at the discretion of RunSignup based on our assessment of the risk presented by Coronavirus related race cancellations. 

Can a race owner elect a different holdback arrangement? 

An event owner can always elect to defer a higher percentage of registration proceeds to go into their refund reserve. Contact to increase the percentage. 

When will the 20% holdback on my race be released?

We are updating our payment timing to payout race holdbacks automatically one week after the scheduled completion of a race.

For races that have been postponed, they will keep on having the same reserve funding rules as everyone. This will allow for them to continue to take registrations for their race that was supposed to be in April and is now in September.

For races that are cancelled, we will hold funds for a period of time to ensure all chargebacks are processed properly. We would highly suggest that you work with RunSignup to have a detailed plan that is well communicated with your participants.

If a race leaves RunSignup can the refund reserve be released?

The refund reserve is being built to protect the race and RunSignup from refund and chargeback exposure. That refund and chargeback exposure does not go away if the race moves registration to another platform. The participants who signed up via RunSignup will still need to be paid back if their chargeback is processed.

If my race has a no refund policy is there still the need for a holdback?

Unfortunately a no refund policy does not prevent participants from filing a chargeback for a cancelled event. It provides better ammunition to fight a chargeback but does not guarantee that the chargeback will be won in favor of the race. Credit card companies, particularly Visa, take the side of their cardholder when they make a purchase and the service that they purchase is not delivered even when there is a no-refund policy. Accordingly the holdback will still be required, even in when the race has a no-refund policy. The holdback will be released when the event is completed and the risk of chargebacks is no longer present. 

I plan to convert my event to a virtual event and transfer all my registrants to the virtual race instead of cancelling. Is the holdback still required?

We don’t have evidence to suggest that unilaterally converting your in person event to a virtual event, instead of cancelling will prevent chargebacks. Your best defense against a chargeback is getting the registrant’s approval to convert their in person registration to a virtual event and keeping track of that approval. Credit card companies, particularly Visa, take the side of their cardholder when they make a purchase and the service that they purchase is not delivered. If the registrant agrees to convert their registration to a virtual registration, you would have better evidence that you delivered the service that the registrant purchased (even if it wasn’t the original service). We will still require the holdback while you work through that process, but the holdback will be released when the event is completed and the risk of chargebacks is no longer present. 

How do I add funds to the refund/chargeback reserve?

Your race may want to do proactive refunds, or at least offer that option. You may also see a higher the expected rate of chargebacks and have an insufficient reserve. In those cases, you can add funds by going to Participants → Participant Management → Refund Reserve → Add to Refund Reserve by Credit Card. If you want to wire us money, please contact us at

If you have a race that is still taking registrations but you want to have a known amount of money, you can go to Participants → Participant Management → Refund Reserve in the dashboard and set a specific amount of money to hold in the reserve. New transactions will go into the reserve until this limit is reached. Note that the rules from RunSignup reserve minimums will take precedence over this setting if they are higher.

You can also move money from another race that you own into a race where you want to increase the reserve. Go to the receiving race’s reserve page. Look for the Transfer Money from Other Races section and click on Click here.

Select a race with funds available and enter the amount to be moved. Click Transfer Money.

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