The goal of this article is to inform you and your team on what steps you can take to cover your bases when it comes to chargebacks. Education and documentation are essential. It only takes a few operational practices to ensure you’ve got the documentation you need to fight chargebacks and win! For starters, what exactly is a chargeback and why do they occur? Chargebacks were first implemented to protect consumers against fraud and dishonest merchants. When a consumer files a chargeback with their bank their money is returned to their account and taken out of the merchant’s account until the merchant can provide evidence that the transaction was valid. If the bank sides with the consumer they get their money back, and the merchant loses that money, has to pay chargeback fees, and potentially is out the goods or services from that transaction. There are numerous reasons for consumers to file chargebacks which is why credit card companies have created different codes for each of them. These are the most common chargeback reason codes: Dispute of Transaction – Fraud MasterCard 4837 – No Cardholder Authorization Visa 83 – Fraudulent Transaction – Card Absent Environment MasterCard 4863 – Cardholder Does not Recognize – Potential Fraud Visa 75 – Cardholder Does not Recognize Transaction Dispute of Goods – Non Fraud MasterCard 4853 – Cardholder Dispute – Defective/Not as Described Visa 30 – Services not Provided or Merchandise Not Received MasterCard 4841 – Cancelled Recurring Transaction Visa 41 – Cancelled Recurring Transaction MasterCard 4860 – Credit Not Processed Visa 85 – Credit Not Processed MasterCard 4834 – Duplicate Processing Visa 82 – Duplicate Processing Why should you care? As a business owner it is imperative that you address chargebacks. It is also imperative to be aware of your chargeback back ratio and remain below 1%. This number can be calculated by taking the number of chargebacks you have gotten and divide it by the number of transactions that you have had during that same time period Chargeback Ratio # of chargebacks in a given time#of transactions for that same time If your ratio is above 1% your merchant account can be shut down and you will be added to the MATCH list, which ultimately makes it impossible for you to get another merchant account. How to protect your business from chargebacks By incorporating a few loss prevention and operational procedures into the management of your business you will be prepared to fight chargebacks. Below are some recommendations that will protect you against the most common reason codes. Steps to take before accepting credit card transactions: \tCraft a recognizable descriptor, aka the verbiage that appears on a customer’s bank statements. \tBe accurate, truthful, and forthcoming in all product descriptions \tTrain all employees on proper transaction handling, return policies, customer service, and loss prevention tactics. What to Collect: \tAll imprints or swiped sales receipts signed by the card holder \tEvidence that a credit was issued \tIf a credit is not issued provide a detailed explanation why. \tProof \tProof of delivery signed by the card holder. \tAddress verification, AVS \tPositive match on CVV (AKA the 3 digit code on the back of the card) \tA statement that the cardholder neither returned, or attempted to return the merchandise. Smart Merchant Time Saver Tips \tSave credit card receipts in dated envelopes for 6 months; use banker boxes with the month clearly labeled on the outside. \tIf your point of sale register is down be sure to take a manual imprint of all credit cards that you manually entered and have the customer sign the manual receipt. \tKeep your manual receipt imprinter and carbon copy receipt paper in a secure location. \tBe diligent, up-front, and consistent in communicating your return policy. \tWait to charge customers until the service has been provided or merchandise has been shipped. \tPromptly remove customers from recurring billing cycles as soon as they cancel your services. Chargebacks are an inevitable part of business, but you can make the representment process a lot simpler by being prepared and educating yourself and your staff. Good luck! If you liked this post, you might like: 20 tools to grow your small business To get started with Lendio and see all of your loan options in one place, click here.