Many scam schemes are based upon sending some money to the victim and make them forward it. Then the first transaction is reverted and the victim has to take the loss. The concept of the reversibility of transaction can be extended on any purchase: if the buyer can roll back the payment, he gets the good for free.

So the question is: is there a way to be sure that the payment is good and cannot be reverted any more? Something like a confirmation code from the credit institute or a period of time after which any authorization is cleared and nothing can be rolled-back.

To push it a little further, if nothing can prevent a transaction to be rolled-back, someone can found his balance suddenly negative, because one year before he sold the car and the buyer now reverted the payment.

If it makes any difference, I'm asking in the European context.

Related but I'm asking about electronic payments (pay-pal, wire-transfer, credit card, etc...) and not about checks

  • One of the advantages of using a credit card, from the buyer's point of view, is that the buyer is protected from fraud. From the buyer's point of view, the ability to undo the payment is not a bug, it's a feature.
    – user13722
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 17:39
  • Notwithstanding the answers, ultimately a court could always still find against you and require restitution. Even with cash.
    – AakashM
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 9:11
  • Europe is a very large, diverse place. It is foolish to think that, even within the EU or the Eurozone, there are universal ways to do things.
    – Eric
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 18:59

2 Answers 2


Well, the obvious answer is that you can use cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, etc. After the recommended block confirmation amount/time you can be sure that the transaction will arrive, and well, you can't reverse crypto transactions.

In the fiat world, I only know of SEPA direct debits apart from the obvious ones like Paypal etc., but those can be reversed too. There may be a time limit on those, but I don't know certainly.

  • 1
    I might be wrong, but from memory both paypal and sepa direct debits have a 60day period after which things cannot be charged back (im like 80% sure) Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 12:27
  • @CarstenHagemann: thank you for pointing out cryptocurrencies: I haven't thought about them. Great exampre of irreversible transaction.
    – dg3
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 14:53
  • @OlleKelderman: that's what i was thinking about in origin. I hope someone can confirm your memory.
    – dg3
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 14:55
  • 4
    Add cash. Cash transactions cannot be reversed.
    – Xalorous
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 16:55
  • 2
    @Xalorous not reversed, but it can turn out that the cash was counterfeit, which then becomes your problem.
    – Vicky
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 19:45

Money orders cannot be reverted once cashed, which is why so many scammers themselves insist on victims using Western Union to send them money.

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