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Decoding Credit Card Chargebacks Using their Reason Codes

Have you ever swiped your credit card for a purchase, only to find out later that something went wrong with the transaction? Maybe you didn’t receive the item you paid for, or you noticed an unauthorized charge on your statement. This is where the magic of chargebacks comes into play.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of credit card chargebacks in the simplest terms possible. Whether you’re a seasoned credit card user or just getting started, understanding chargebacks is crucial for protecting your hard-earned money.

What is a Chargeback?

Let’s start with the basics. A chargeback is a way for you, as a credit card holder, to dispute a transaction and get your money back. It’s like hitting the rewind button on a transaction that went wrong. Chargebacks are designed to protect consumers from fraudulent or unauthorized charges, as well as from merchants who fail to deliver the goods or services they promised.

How Does it Work?

When you notice a problem with a transaction on your credit card statement, you can contact your bank or credit card issuer and request a chargeback. You’ll need to provide some information about the transaction and why you’re disputing it. This could include things like:

  • Not receiving the product or service you paid for.
  • Receiving a damaged or defective item.
  • Being charged more than once for the same purchase.
  • Seeing unauthorized charges on your statement.

Once you file a chargeback, your bank will investigate the dispute and determine whether or not to reverse the transaction. If they find it in your favor, the funds will be returned to your account.

Why Do Chargebacks Happen?

There are several reasons why chargebacks might occur:

  1. Fraudulent Transactions: Someone steals your credit card information and makes unauthorized purchases.
  1. Unfulfilled Orders: You pay for something online, but the merchant never delivers the goods.
  1. Billing Errors: You’re charged the wrong amount for a purchase, or you’re billed for something you didn’t buy.
  1. Quality Issues: You receive a product or service that doesn’t meet your expectations, such as a defective item or poor service.

The Chargeback Process

Now, let’s break down the chargeback process into simple steps:

  1. You Spot a Problem: You notice something fishy on your credit card statement, like an unfamiliar charge or a purchase you don’t remember making.
  1. You Contact Your Bank: You call or go online to file a dispute with your bank or credit card issuer. You’ll need to provide details about the transaction and why you believe it’s incorrect.
  1. Investigation: Your bank investigates the dispute. They may reach out to the merchant for more information or ask you for additional evidence to support your claim.
  1. Resolution: If the bank finds it in your favor, they’ll reverse the transaction and credit your account. If not, they’ll explain why the charge stands.

Tips for Preventing Chargebacks

While chargebacks can be a lifeline when something goes wrong with a transaction, it’s best to avoid them whenever possible. Here are some tips to help you prevent chargebacks:

  1. Keep Records: Save receipts, order confirmations, and any communication with merchants. These documents can help support your case in a dispute.
  1. Check Your Statements: Review your credit card statements regularly to catch any unauthorized or incorrect charges early.
  1. Use Secure Websites: When shopping online, make sure the website is secure and reputable. Look for HTTPS in the URL and check for customer reviews.
  1. Read the Fine Print: Before making a purchase, read the merchant’s return and refund policies. Make sure you understand what you’re agreeing to.

Chargeback Reason Codes

When you receive notification of a payment dispute or chargeback you may see a code listed with it. Each card company has its own set of codes that indicate the specific reason that a cardholder initiated a dispute.

  • For American Express
  • For Visa
  • For Mastercards

American Express Chargeback Reason Codes:

Reason CodeDescription
A01Charge Amount Differs
A02No-Show or Card Member Dispute
A08Authorization Approval Code
A10Authorization
A11Cardmember Disputes
A12Credit Not Processed
A13Duplicate Charge
A14Merchandise/Services Not Received
A15Merchandise/Services Not as Described
A16Cancelled Recurring Billing
A17Fraud Full Recourse
A18“No Merchandise/Services Provided”
A19“Transaction Amount Differs”
A20“Invalid Card Number”
A21“Other”
A22Non-Receipt of Cash or Load Transaction
A23Non-Receipt of Goods at Destination
A24Counterfeit Merchandise
A25Cardholder Does Not Recognize
A26Counterfeit Transaction
A27Chip Liability Shift
A28Chip/PIN Liability Shift
A29Card Not Present
A30EMV Liability Shift Counterfeit
A31EMV Liability Shift Non-Counterfeit
A32Missing or Incorrect Data
A33Fraud No Recourse
A34Late Presentment
A35Incorrect Transaction Amount
A36Fraud Domestic Chargeback
A37Fraud Card Present Chargeback
A38Fraud Delayed Delivery Chargeback
A39Fraud Digital Goods Chargeback
A40Fraud Recurring Chargeback
A41EMV Liability Shift Non-Counterfeit
A42EMV Liability Shift Counterfeit
A43EMV Liability Shift Counterfeit and Non-Counterfeit
A44No Show No Card Chargeback
A45Not as Described or Defective Merchandise
A46EMV Liability Shift Non-Counterfeit Card Not Present
A47EMV Liability Shift Counterfeit Card Not Present
A48EMV Liability Shift Counterfeit and Non-Counterfeit Card Not Present
 

Visa Chargeback Reason Codes:

Reason CodeDescription
10Authorization
11Card Recovery Bulletin
12Account Number Not on File
13No Account
14Paid No Return
15No Cardholder Authorization
16Transaction Not Recognized
17Fraudulent Transaction
18Fraudulent Transaction, Card Absent
19No Show
20Invalid Transaction
21No Cardholder Authorization
22Expired Card
23Currency Discrepancy
24Chargeback (General)
25Retrieval Request
30Services Not Provided
41Cancelled Recurring Transaction
51Declined Authorization
53Not as Described or Defective Merchandise
57Fraudulent Multiple Transactions
62Counterfeit Transaction
71Declined Authorization
72No Authorization
73Expired Card
74Late Presentment
75Transaction Not Recognized
76Incorrect Currency or Transaction Code
77Non-Matching Account Number
78Fraudulent Transaction Card Absent
79Requested Transaction Information Not Received

Mastercard Chargeback Reason Codes:

Reason CodeDescription
4807Warning Bulletin File
4808Account Temporarily Suspended
4809Fraud Investigation
4810Credit Not Processed
4811Authorization Approval Code Required
4812Account Number Not on File
4813Card Recovery Bulletin
4814Fraudulent Transaction Card Absent
4815Transaction Not Recognized
4816Transaction Amount Differs
4817Chip Liability Shift
4818Chip/PIN Liability Shift
4819Chip Liability Shift Non-Counterfeit
4820Chip/PIN Liability Shift Non-Counterfeit
4821Chip Liability Shift Counterfeit
4822Chip/PIN Liability Shift Counterfeit
4823Chip Liability Shift Counterfeit and Non-Counterfeit
4824Fraudulent Transaction
4825Transaction Not Recognized by Cardholder
4826Counterfeit Transaction
4827Chip Liability Shift Non-Counterfeit Card Not Present
4828Chip/PIN Liability Shift Non-Counterfeit Card Not Present
4829Chip Liability Shift Counterfeit Card Not Present
4830Chip/PIN Liability Shift Counterfeit Card Not Present
4831EMV Liability Shift Non-Counterfeit
4832EMV Liability Shift Counterfeit
4833EMV Liability Shift Counterfeit and Non-Counterfeit
4834No Show
4835Cardholder Dispute
4836Credit Not Processed by Cardholder
4837No Cardholder Authorization
4838Fraudulent Transaction Card Absent
4839No Cardholder Authorization
4840Fraudulent Transaction Card Absent
4841Cancelled Recurring Transaction
4842Late Presentment
4843Incorrect Transaction Amount
4844Fraudulent Transaction
4845Fraudulent Transaction
4846Correct Transaction Currency Code
4847Questionable Merchant Activity
4848Exceeds Floor Limit
4849Cardholder Dispute
4850Installment Billing Dispute
4851ATM Transaction Dispute
4852Goods or Services Not Received or Merchandise Not As Described
4853Cardholder Dispute
4854Cardholder Dispute
4855Non-receipt of Cash or Load Transaction
4856Transaction Not Recognized by Cardholder
4857No Cardholder Authorization
4858Fraudulent Transaction Card Absent
4859Transaction Not Recognized by Cardholder
4860Fraudulent Transaction Card Absent
4861Cancelled Recurring Transaction
4862Late Presentment
4863Incorrect Transaction Amount
4864Fraudulent Transaction
4865Fraudulent Transaction
4866Correct Transaction Currency Code
4867Questionable Merchant Activity
4868Exceeds Floor Limit
4869Cardholder Dispute
4870Installment Billing Dispute
4871ATM Transaction Dispute
4872Goods or Services Not Received or Merchandise Not As Described
4873Cardholder Dispute
4874Cardholder Dispute
4875Non-receipt of Cash or Load Transaction
4876Transaction Not Recognized by Cardholder
4877No Cardholder Authorization
4878Fraudulent Transaction Card Absent
4879Transaction Not Recognized by Cardholder
4880Fraudulent Transaction Card Absent
4881Cancelled Recurring Transaction
4882Late Presentment
4883Incorrect Transaction Amount
4884Fraudulent Transaction
4885Fraudulent Transaction
4886Correct Transaction Currency Code
4887Questionable Merchant Activity
4888Exceeds Floor Limit
4889Cardholder Dispute
4890Installment Billing Dispute
4891ATM Transaction Dispute
4892Goods or Services Not Received or Merchandise Not As Described

Final Thoughts

Credit card chargebacks are a valuable tool for protecting consumers from fraud and unscrupulous merchants. By understanding how chargebacks work and taking steps to prevent them, you can shop with confidence and safeguard your finances.

If you ever encounter a problem with a transaction, don’t hesitate to reach out to your bank and file a chargeback. It’s your right as a consumer, and it can help ensure that you’re not left holding the bag for a purchase gone wrong.

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