How to reduce and fight retrievals and chargebacks

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Chargeback management is combined of two complementary and supporting processes:

  • The first is trying to avoid retrievals and chargebacks from happening. This includes improving customer service and adopting procedures and fraud detection tools trying to reduce fraud.
  • The second is knowing how to handle the retrieval and chargeback when it does arrive.



Here are our tips for reducing and fighting chargebacks:


Do your best to avoid chargebacks – Customer Service

The main two words here are Customer Service.

The better your customer service is – the better your chances to solve problems with your clients and avoid chargebacks.

Clients will typically issue a chargeback when they feel they have no one to talk to, that no one is listening and addressing their claims, and that their funds are lost because of it.

This can be solved by a few simple steps:

  • Clearly displaying your support information on the website, so it will be easy for clients to find how to reach you.
  • Clearly display your refund policy on the website, so client will know in advance what to expect.
  • If a form is required for the refund process, make it available on the website for online filling or for easy downloading, with clear information on how to fill it and where to send it.
  • Answer client’s complaint quickly and efficiently, trying to solve the problem before it escalates.

Rule of thumb is that is it always better to refund a client than to dispute a chargeback.

If you find your client’s claim to be legit – refund him as requested.

If you find your client’s claim to be without merits – check how good your dispute can be in case of a chargeback. If you think your documents are lacking and your chances are slim, it’s better to refund the client and claim the loss of funds, than risk a chargeback. But if you think you stand a good chance of winning a dispute – go ahead.


Good Document Collection

We have said it before, and we will say it again. We are even willing to shout it from every rooftop: Good Document Collection is KEY.

  • If you don’t have the necessary documents it will be very hard if not impossible to win disputes.
  • Documents need to be collected at the beginning, when your client has just started depositing, preferably before they started trading. If you won’t get the documents at the beginning, it will be very difficult and sometimes impossible to get them later on, when you actually need them.
  • But collecting the documents is not enough. You need to check them to make sure you got good documents, as bad documents will not help your cause. When your client sends you his documents, you can quickly and easily check these:
  • Make sure that the name on the ID and cards is the same, and matches the name on the transactions.

If your client allowed another to use his card you need to have a signed document stating his approval clearly.

If your client is using a business card, make sure that you have a document from the business allowing him to use the card for such a purpose.

  • Make sure that the signature on the ID, card and DODs are the same signature.
  • Make sure that the address in the ID and Utility Bill is the same.
  • Check as best you can to make sure the documents are legit and not forged.
  • It is advised to ask the client to send a selfie photo of himself holding the card/s. Please note that this is NOT instead of a photocopy of the card, unless the photo is VERY clear and you can clearly read the details on the card. With this selfie you can compare the photo to the one in the ID, to make sure it’s the same person.
  • If your client is using a new card – you should ask for that card photocopies.
  • Utility Bill should be renewed every 3 months.
  • Every transaction needs to be signed on in a DOD. You can collect several transactions and send one DOD, but you need to have a signature for each transaction.
  • Emails, Phone call transcript and trading history – these are all documents that you may use.
  • All documents need to be in English. If you receive documents that are in a foreign language, make sure to translate them and save the translation.


Act Quickly

Merchants usually have a short period of time to respond to retrievals and chargebacks, in many cases several days.

If you maintained good document collection practice, there’s no reason to wait.

Prepare your dispute as soon as you can and send it, to make sure that your dispute will reach the issuers in time.

If you don’t already have our dispute form, please contact, and they will gladly send it to you.


Transaction details

Fill the transactions details as best you can.

That part of the form summarizes the details of the transactions you are fighting for.

The more details you have – the easier it will be for the acquirer and the issuer to locate the transactions and know exactly what you are referring to.


Check Reason Code

In the notification you receive from us, you get the reason code as well as the reason description.

This is the reason the client asked for the CB – this is what you need to counter.

It is crucial that you check the reason code to know which documents to attach to your dispute.


Tell your story

You need to explain why you are fighting.

The workers handling the disputes within acquirers and Issuers are not mind readers. You need to tell them why you believe you should not have received the chargeback, and why you think they should end the process and return the funds to you.

The better you explain – the easier it will be for them to understand the situation.

However, it is easy to fall into a trap of infusing emotions into the case, especially when high volumes are involved. It is important to remain professional and void of emotions in the dispute letter.


Attach Relevant Documents

Retrieval Dispute

A retrieval is when your client contacted the issuer and asked about the transaction/s.

This means he is unsure about the transactions, if he made them, what they are for.

You can contact your client at this stage to see if there’s a problem you may fix.

You can refund the transaction at this stage to try and avoid a coming CB.

Or you can send a dispute.

If you choose to dispute you should attach to your dispute these documents:

  • Full KYC
  • DODs for the specific transaction/s
  • Client’s trading history


Fraud Chargeback

There are different reasons for chargebacks, but you can divide them into two main groups: Fraud chargebacks and service chargebacks.

Fraud chargebacks are when the client declines the transactions, claiming he didn’t authorize them and that he doesn’t recognize them.

In these instances you need to prove that the client is indeed the card holder, and that he indeed approved the transactions.

To do that you need to send:

  • Full high quality KYC, proving that the client is the cardholder.
  • Preferably have a selfie of the client holding the card.
  • Signed DODs for the specific transactions, where each transaction is signed, and the signature matches the one on the card and the ID.
  • Relevant parts of communications you had with the client where he talked about the specific transactions. These can be emails, skype conversations or transcripts of phone calls. Note that you don’t need to send the whole transcript of an hour long call, just the relevant part.
  • Compelling evidence for Reason Code 83 (Fraud – Card- Absent Environment) and 4837 (No Cardholder Authorization) – more about compelling evidence below.
  • If the Reason Code is 83 there MUST be a fraud notification prior to or on the same date as the CB. If there isn’t or if the fraud notification came AFTER the CB – the CB is invalid, and you may use this in your reasoning for fighting the CB.
  • If there are other prior successful transactions that did not receive a chargeback of fraud notification to prove that the client did indeed want to process with you.


Service Chargeback

Service chargebacks are made when your client is dis-satisfied with the service you provided. This could be the trading itself, refunds that he asked for and did not receive, miscommunications and more.

In these instances you need to prove that the services you provided are exactly why you were obligated to provide, what was described on your website.

To do that you need to send:

  • Client’s KYC – if you have it, whatever you have, it doesn’t have to be full.
  • Client’s Trading History.
  • Proof that the client approved the Terms & Conditions prior to trading.
  • The relevant sections of the Terms & Conditions that describe the service.
  • Print screens from the website describing the service and proof that you have provided said service.
  • I If the reason is about a refund, you need to prove that the client received his refund or explain and show why he wasn’t entitled to receive a refund.
  • Relevant parts of communications you had with the client where he talked about the specific transactions. These can be emails, skype conversations or transcripts of phone calls. Note that you don’t need to send the whole transcript of an hour long call, just the relevant part.
  • Compelling evidence for Reason Code 30 (Service Not Provided or Merchandise Not Received) and 53 (Not As Described or Defective Merchandise) – more about compelling evidence below.
  • If you received a fraud notification prior to or on the same date as the CB – mention that in your dispute. Fraud notification is about fraud, but the CB reason is about service.
  • If there are other prior successful transactions that did not receive a chargeback of fraud notification to prove that the client did indeed want to process with you.


Compelling Evidence

For specific CB reasons (30, 53, 83, 4837) you really want to submit compelling evidence.

Compelling evidence compels the issuer to contact the cardholder, review the evidence with them and have them sign a form they are still declining the transactions. This form must be presented in the pre-arbitration stage, if they choose to go to it.

The compelling evidence should prove a link between the person receiving the service and the cardholder.

They MUST be submitted at the representment stage. If they are submitted at any other stage they are not considered compelling anymore.

These are the documents you can add as compelling evidence for these reason codes:


Visa Chargeback Reason Codes for Compelling Evidence:

30 – Services Not Provided or Merchandise Not Received

53 – Not As Described or Defective Merchandise

83 – Fraud – Card Not Present Environment


30, 53, 83:

For an eCommerce transaction representing the sale of digital goods downloaded from a merchant’s website or application, description of the goods or services successfully downloaded, the date and time such goods or services were downloaded, and two or more of the following types of evidence:

• Purchaser’s IP address and the device’s geographical location at the date and time of the transaction

• Device ID number and name (if available)

• Purchaser’s name and email address linked to the customer profile on record with the merchant

• Evidence that the account set up on the merchant’s website or application was accessed by the cardholder and successfully verified by the merchant before the transaction date

• Proof that the merchant’s website or application was accessed by the cardholder for goods or services on or after the transaction date

• Evidence that the device and card used in the disputed transaction were the same as in any previous, undisputed transactions


30, 83:

For a transaction in which merchandise was delivered to a business address, evidence that the merchandise was delivered and that, at the time of delivery, the cardholder was employed or is working for the company at the address. A signature is not required as evidence of delivery.



Evidence that the person who signed for the merchandise was authorized to sign for the cardholder or is known by the cardholder.



Evidence of one or more undisputed payments for the same merchandise or service.

For a recurring transaction, all of the following:

• Evidence of a legally binding contract held between the merchant and the cardholder

• Proof the cardholder is using the merchandise or services

• Evidence of a previous, undisputed transaction


Copied from Visa’s document:


MasterCard Chargeback Reason Codes for Compelling Evidence (4837):

For non–face-to-face recurring transactions only.

Supporting Documents

A merchant statement documenting all of the following:

  • Description of the goods or services being provided the transaction was recurring by providing the start date of the recurring transaction and, if used, one of the following:
    • SecureCode was used to initiate the original transaction.
    • If card validation code 2 (CVC 2) was provided in the Authorization Request/0100 message and the Card Validation Code Result (DE 48, subelement 87) had a value of M in the Authorization Response/0110 message.
  • More than one transaction was processed by providing the date(s) of previous transaction(s).
  • Previous transactions were not disputed.


For e-commerce, mail order, and telephone order transactions only.

At least one of the following documents, accompanied by an explanation thereof if necessary:

  • A receipt, work order, or other document signed by the cardholder substantiating that the goods or services were received by the cardholder (common terms include “will call” and “in-store pickup”)
  • The cardholder’s written confirmation of registration to receive electronic delivery of goods or services
  • Copies of written correspondence exchanged between the merchant and the cardholder (such as letter, e-mail, or fax) showing that the cardholder participated in the transaction.
    • The initial transaction was a Digital Secure Remote Payment transaction or was SecureCode-initiated;
    • Description of the goods or services purchased in the initial transaction;
    • Date and authorization approval code for the initial transaction; and
    • The initial transaction was not disputed.
  • A merchant statement documenting all of the following if, after completing an authenticated e-commerce transaction, the merchant obtained authorization for a related transaction involving a partial shipment or the payment of a balance due
  • When a merchant requires a cardholder to register prior to completing a purchase, the merchant must provide documentation confirming the cardholder or authorized user is registered to purchase goods with a password and must provide one or more of the following documentation:
    • The cardholder or authorized user completed other undisputed purchases prior to, or after, the alleged fraudulent transaction
    • The cardholder or authorized user completed the disputed transaction from a registered device and IP address
    • Details of the purchase
    • Signed proof of delivery
    • Email addresses to support digital download delivery
    • The cardholder or authorized user registered the disputed goods or services. For example, registration for purposes of warranty or future software updates.
    • The disputed goods or services were used
    • A fully enabled SecureCode transaction was used to register a PAN for future transactions


Copied from Master card:


Give It All You’ve Got

The chargeback process is a long and complicated one.

The best recourse is to try and shorten it as best we can, and to avoid moving forward to higher steps such as 2nd chargeback, pre-arbitration and arbitration.


For that reason we recommend that you include everything you have in the dispute – as long as it is related to the case – and present the best case you can present.


Please keep in mind, though, that you ARE limited in file size.

If you send a PDF file it should not be larger than 2MB.

If you send a WORD file it should not be larger than 8MB.


Bottom Line

We share a common goal of reducing chargebacks in the accounts.

But when you do receive a chargeback, we want you to be able to present the best dispute possible, and have the best chances of recovering your funds.


This article was written by admin_algocharge