Frequently asked questions about chargebacks.
What is a chargeback? What is the difference between a chargeback and a retrieval request?
A chargeback is when a consumer is unable to settle a return/refund of a credit card transaction with the merchant directly and contacts their credit card issuer to dispute the sale. A cardholder may dispute a transaction for a number of reasons such as a billing error, non-receipt of goods/services, fraud, goods/services not as described, etc. MasterCard, VISA, and Discover cardholders have 180 days (6 months) from transaction date to dispute a charge, American Express cardholders have one year from transaction date to dispute. The credit card issuer along with the processor will act as a mediator in resolving the dispute. Once a chargeback is issued, funds are immediately debited from the merchant’s bank account and are temporarily held by the processors acquiring bank in a reserved account while an investigation is underway. The merchant is then notified and is given the opportunity to provide an explanation and any additional support backing their claim. A resolution can take up to 30 days. A retrieval request is an inquiry by a consumer’s issuing bank for specified information pertaining to a transaction made to a merchant. Unlike chargebacks, funds are not debited once a request is initiated. However, failing to fulfill a retrieval request will result into the request converting into chargeback.
I’ve just received a chargeback, what do I do now?
Review your records and locate any documentation related to the charge. You may know the customer and can try to resolve the dispute directly as it could possibly be a misunderstanding. If so, try contacting them. You will receive a notification via fax or mail including all information pertaining to the transaction, including a case number which must be included in your response. Your response should be as detailed as possible. If further assistance is needed, please call our customer service line. First Data and TSYS’s chargeback departments can also be reached for the most up to date status updates made on cases. First Data Chargeback Department: 800-672-5008 TSYS Chargeback Department: 866-276-4181
How can my account be affected by chargebacks?
A chargeback penalty fee is incurred to the merchant for each incoming chargeback even if a chargeback is decided in favor of the merchant. Excessive incoming chargebacks also count against your threshold which in turn can become a deciding factor to all credit processing providers to service your business.
How can I lower my chargeback ratio?
We offer merchants the ETHOCA service, a chargeback reduction program as an alternative to help merchants actively keep track of chargebacks. Through this program, you are notified of chargebacks prior to them being officially submitted and in thus providing the merchant an opportunity to resolve the issue in real time without it counting against the merchant’s chargeback threshold.
- We suggest merchants to keep track of all sales receipts and any terms and conditions they may require their customers/clients to sign at the time of purchase up to a year.
- For individual sales over $1,000, obtain an imprint of credit card used.
- For delivered goods, we recommend shipments be made to billing address used in transaction. We also suggest including a signature receipt when received.
- In the event of suspicious activity, verify with the cardholder’s issuing bank of any fraudulent activities on the card prior to servicing or provide goods to customer. If cardholder cannot be verified and transaction has already processed, issue refund right away.