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Return Email


Return e-mail is used to validate the consumer by sending them an e-mail at the time of purchase with a code, password or link they have to use to validate and complete the sale.

Key considerations when implementing or buying this functionality include:

  • Will you use passwords and codes or will you provide a link for the consumer to complete their sale?

  • What will the impact be on your business if it takes 1-24 hours more to close a sale?

  • How will this affect your order management and fulfillment processes?


It’s a three-step process:

  1. When a new consumer comes to do business you will need to collect their e-mail address and have them verify it before they close the screen. You will tell the consumer to expect an e-mail within a pre-set time frame that will provide them a password, link or code they will have to use on their site to complete their sale. When the consumer presses the buy button you will put the order into a holding status and you will send out an e-mail to the consumer.

  2. When the consumer receives the e-mail, it will instruct them to use the provided link and to either input a code or password to validate the e-mail and the purchase.

  3. You then provide them their service. For digital download providers this link could be to the point at which the consumer downloads the software.


If you cannot get back to the consumer via the e-mail they provided, you should not send or allow them to download goods.


Return Email checks validate that a consumer owns an email account by requiring them to validate the sale by using a link, code or password sent to the provided email address.

The return e-mail was primarily used to validate the consumer’s e-mail address. This check is not really good for traditional retail or businesses that are looking to have a one-time, real-time purchase process. This is better suited to businesses that are doing digital download or service-oriented businesses that will not physically ship goods to a consumer. In these cases the e-mail is the most important link with the consumer.

"Gotchas” with Return Email include:

  • It doesn’t catch true identity theft cases.

  • It slows down the checkout process.

  • It is very easy these days to set up e-mails in free domains.



Alternative SolutionsReverse address and phone number checks, email authentication

Building this In-House - Remember you should have good systems in place to check for consumers that are failing multiple times. Make sure you implement good hot lists and warm lists to prevent fraudsters from working your site to get in. Put in velocity of use checks to see how many e-mails are associated with a consumer’s data points such as address, phone number and credit card number.

Estimated Cost - Very low. You can easily set this up within your systems using your existing mail servers.

Sample Vendors - N/A

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