Merchant Guide: 10 Essential Tips for Preventing Chargebacks

A chargeback – also called a reversal – is the return of credit card funds that were used to make a purchase to the cardholder. A chargeback occurs when a customer makes a refund request through their credit card’s issuing bank.

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Most chargeback situations arise at the time the transaction is completed. Possible reasons for chargebacks include:

  • Unauthorized use of a credit card (stolen card)
  • Product or service not being received
  • Customer dissatisfaction with a product or service
  • “Friendly fraud” or the result of a consumers filing an illegitimate chargeback

Every business wants to keep their chargeback expenses to a minimum. Here are our top tips on doing so.

  1. When a cardholder disputes a transaction, the issuing bank may request the merchant to provide copies of receipts and other paperwork related to the sale. Always respond to these requests.
  2. Do not a complete a transaction if the authorization request was declined. Do not repeat authorization for payments that are declined.
  3. Make sure your billing descriptor is accurate. Often a customer will initiate a chargeback because the business name on the statement is unfamiliar and doesn’t match your DBA.
  4. Clearly communicate your contact information, as well as return, refund, cancellation and shipping policies.
  5. If a customer is ordering online, promptly send a receipt via email.
  6. Settle and deposit your sales receipts with your merchant bank in a timely manner.
  7. If a customer request cancellation of a recurring transaction, such as a membership or service, always respond to the request and cancel the transaction as specified by the customer.
  8. Be accurate and clear about your product and service to prevent any customer misunderstandings.
  9. Ship merchandise before depositing and transaction.

If a product or service is going to be delayed, advise the cardholder the option of a different product or service or canceling the transaction all together.

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