US Bankcard Services Industry Blog

Monday, March 8, 2010

Credit Card Transactions and Chargebacks

While I was lining up to pick up my to-go order at a mom and pop restaurant, I couldn’t help but notice that the line was ridiculously long so I looked over to the cashier to see what was the hold up. I then noticed that the owner was making a photocopy of each and every customer’s driver’s license and making sure that the signature matches exactly the same as the signature on the driver’s license. When it was finally my turn I asked the owner why he was doing that and he explain to me that he wanted to guarantee that his credit card transactions do not turn into a chargeback. I just had to explain to the poor guy that fraud is virtually unavoidable and disputes will always happen.

However, minimizing risk exposure may help prevent a chargeback. Follow the transaction requirements, utilize all available resources (AVS or Calling Code 10 Services.), and refuse to process any suspicious credit card transactions and request the customer provide a different form of payment.

I also reminded the owner to avoid the following common practices that sometimes I see him doing because he is so friendly with all his customers:

  • Never let any customer operate his U.S. Bankcard Services credit card terminal.
  • If he receives a “decline” card response, do not process any more sales on that particular card.
  • Only use an authorization code that has been provided directly from his merchant processor.
  • Never use the customer’s phone to call for transaction authorizations.

So I’m sure all business owners out there have asked themselves this question at least once; “why did the processing bank debit my account without notifying me first?” Before you start screaming or yelling at anyone here is the reason:

In accordance to Visa and Mastercard regulations, an automatic debit occurs against the credit card processing bank and is passed to the merchant each time a chargeback is initiated. If merchants respond with sufficient information within the allotted timeframe to counteract the issue, the debit may be reversed.

Yes, I know you are thinking that this is not fair but wait till you hear about the timeframe a card issuing bank has to bring up a chargeback:

The card issuing bank can request a retrieval or chargeback for up to 18 months after the transaction date. It is crucial that transaction records are kept and made accessible and legible during this timeframe. This is why U.S. Bankcard Services, Inc is here to help answer and assist our business owners with their chargeback and retrieval concerns.

Why did I get a chargeback when I received an approval code for the transaction?

An authorization code simply verifies if the card is in good standing, has not been reported lost or stolen, and has sufficient funds available for the amount of the transaction. It does not guarantee that you will not receive a chargeback. So just like all other things in this world NOTHING IS GUARANTEED!!

However, U.S. Bankcard Services, Inc is always here to assist you. So all business owners out there might be too occupied and focused on the deadline of their monthly expenses (payroll, bills, inventory, etc) that they neglect the “respond by date” for a chargeback or retrieval request. This is a common mistake that all business owners make so I want to take a moment to explain this to all business owners.

Special attention must be paid to the response deadline or it will result to a non-reversible chargeback. It is highly recommended to respond to the chargeback or retrieval as quickly as possible to avoid unexpected chargeback situations.